Page 3665 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 27 October 2015
That brings me to the amendments. We will not be supporting the amendments. They were circulated only yesterday, and they essentially aim to create a new category of house, which is “impacted property”, which is intended to deal with the circumstances where a duplex house is attached by a common wall to a Mr Fluffy house. In effect, it will make the “impacted property” a Mr Fluffy house and subject to the buyback scheme.
The content of these amendments is of considerable concern to us. It is doubly concerning that the Chief Minister is trying to push through these amendments in a sense and avoid proper scrutiny. This was not part of the original bill that we have been able to consult on in more detail. We await the speech on the amendments and so on, but it is problematic; it has not been through JACS either—the scrutiny of bills committee process—to see whether there is an impingement of rights.
It is of great significance and it does affect affected home owners. It affects in many ways their rights. The amendments that are being rushed through enable the government to add more houses to the scheme even though no amosite asbestos is present. The idea is to provide a mechanism to deal with duplex-type properties adjoining a Mr Fluffy house. But it is problematic.
When the original bill about the buyback scheme was tabled, we called for more flexibility in the approach. We said that a one size fits all approach would be problematic. I think that is the case here today. There are people who will today become eligible for the scheme, essentially, if this legislation passes today, but their valuation date will be the same as for the people who joined the scheme many months ago.
I see a problem with that. I see a problem whereby people who have been told, “You’re now going to be part of this scheme,” in October or November 2015 will be subjected to a valuation on their property that is over a year old. I can see that that is a problem. If the minister says that is not the case, and that is not going to happen—that there will be a special case for these people—I would welcome that. But my understanding is that it sets up exactly the same conditions in terms of valuation of their properties as it does for Mr Fluffy home owners.
I do not want to create a situation of winners and losers. It is a difficult issue, and I accept that. It is a difficult issue for the Mr Fluffy home owner that there may be a different date for the house opposite. Ultimately, because of the date difference, these end up being, in a sense, in different schemes in the time line. I think the time line for the valuation should reflect that. The market has changed. There are people in the Mr Fluffy scheme who have been able to sell their property, get the money and move into the market to buy a new home. They have done that. There were problems with that original date; that is done and dusted, though. Life has moved on.
Now we will be saying to people, “You’re going to get an amount of money based on a valuation that is over a year old.” And they are now in a market that has moved significantly. Certainly, the evidence that we received in hearings from Mr Ron Bell, and certainly the information that I have from many real estate agents across town, is