Page 719 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 26 February 2013
St Andrew’s townhouse: “I found the Retirement Villages Bill 2011 difficult to interpret easily and too long. It could also be argued that it was too prescriptive in places.”
Even ACT public servants were critical of the consultation, or lack thereof. A JACS officer had this to say: “We proposed consulting industry and the community more generally, as in initial discussion it appears that there is very little knowledge of the bill and contents. The bill will have significant impact on industry and people buying into retirement villages.”
Now the mess is continuing, as we have to make a number of amendments before it comes into force. We believe the retirement village industry is too important for the Assembly to have unclear and rushed-through legislation. Madam Speaker, we raised this issue at the time. We raised this issue when it came back—that it was in fact being rushed through. At the time I said, “I suspect that we will have to revisit this legislation at some point in the future once it is passed. I think the second part of this process has been somewhat rushed.”
Today is the example and the confirmation that that was true. It was rushed through. It was rushed through in order to give Ms Porter a win before the election. I think that is unfortunate for legislation. I certainly hope that we will not have to be coming back in three months, six months or 12 months to make further amendments in order to fix this legislation. We would seek some assurances from the government that they have now thoroughly looked at the legislation again to ensure that it is workable for industry and that there will not be any hidden surprises.
That said, Madam Speaker, we will be supporting it because we acknowledge that this legislation that was passed does need some fixing. We accept the government’s arguments on that and we will therefore support the bill.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (10.55): The Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 makes several minor, but necessary, amendments across a number of acts to support the commencement of the new Retirement Villages Act. The original legislation was passed in August 2012. It was a labour of love for Ms Porter; there is no doubt about that.
The ACT Greens supported the passage of that bill as a step forward in providing surety to the retirement village industry and increased rights for residents. With the bill set to commence in March this year, these consequential amendments are needed to ensure its proper operation and implementation. On that basis, we have had a look at the various amendments. I believe they are all minor and consistent with the Retirement Villages Bill and the intent of it as it was originally passed by the Assembly. We believe that passing this bill will help to ensure an effective transition to the new regulations governing retirement villages.
MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (10.57): As has been said by other members, while technical, the Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 we are debating today is a necessary step in the implementation of the new retirement village scheme. The bill makes minor and uncontroversial amendments—I