Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 27 October 2015) . . Page.. 3666 ..
that the market has shifted. There is a shortage of homes on the market. There is a shortage of single dwelling properties, particularly in the areas most affected by Mr Fluffy, and there will be people out of pocket, with a valuation date that is over a year old.
Put yourself in their shoes. You are now being told, “Right, you’re going to be part of this scheme, pretty much whether you like it or not. You’re in this scheme and we’re going to give you some money for your home based on a valuation that is now very distant from the current market, and you’re going to now be going out and bidding for homes with an amount in your pocket that is significantly less than in the current market.”
How is that fair? It is not. We need to have some flexibility, in order to recognise that. So we will not be supporting the amendments. We support the attempt to look after, address and deal with the complex issue of the duplex properties, but it must be fair and it must be reasonable. Essentially, if we were to have a different date, it would then actually be more consistent with the entire scheme, which gave people a more current date—fixed in time but closer to the time at which they had to make a decision, get their money, and then move into the market, should they choose to do so. I know there are a number of people affected by that position. The minister, as I understand it, would get the right to make a determination to add a property to be purchased under the Mr Fluffy buyback scheme.
This has been rushed. We got the amendments yesterday. There needs to be more flexibility, so as not to disadvantage this group of people. We are not talking about a lot of people here. My understanding is that there are fewer than a dozen. I am concerned with the ministerial discretion being an element of this. So we cannot support the amendments as they stand.
I will turn now to the disallowable instrument. I indicate that we will be moving for disallowance of the instrument, although it is not directly related to this bill. A number of Mr Fluffy home owners have decided to opt into the land rent option to enable them to afford to return to their homes.
I think it is pretty tragic in many ways that people who owned a block of land with a house on it will be in a position where the only way they can move back to their block is to rent that land. It is pretty sad; it really is. We can all feel great empathy for those people. Despite that, they have made a decision that that is the way they want to go—a difficult decision, I am sure. The view that they had was that the land that they were going to then rent back, which was their own land, and they are going to rent it back, was at the unimproved value.
That was based on the information that they received, and that was the information from a number of sources: advice from the task force, the government response to the public accounts committee, draft variation 343 and various government websites. Certainly, the task force, I understand, wrote letters encouraging people to take up the land rent option. They believed that it was based on the rules as they stood, and the rule for land rent relates to the unimproved value. People made difficult decisions that