Page 4255 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 24 October 2017

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previous situation, which required payment either by mail or in person at Fyshwick, which is burdensome and inaccessible for many renters.

Bond guarantees make the promise of providing innovation and greater choice in the payment of bonds, but they must be properly regulated. In the context of our continuing discussion about a housing strategy for the ACT, the introduction of a tightly regulated commercial bond guarantee market is important, and our government wants to ensure that the potential financial exploitation that comes with that is limited.

Renters around Canberra will also be assisted by the introduction of electronic payment of traditional bonds in this bill. Together, these measures build on the ACT government’s commitment to providing housing options for all Canberrans. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

MR RAMSAY (Ginninderra—Attorney-General, Minister for Regulatory Services, Minister for the Arts and Community Events and Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (4.11), in reply: I thank Mr Parton, Ms Le Couteur, the Deputy Chief Minister and Mr Steel for their contributions to this debate. It is an important debate on an important matter that is dealing with innovation and the fostering of innovation and also with important protection for tenants and vulnerable members of our society.

I note that Mr Parton raised the question of the online version of the explanatory statement. I reiterate the explanation that the statement that was uploaded originally was an out-of-date version with missing schedules and that it was replaced by the Parliamentary Counsel’s Office with the version that was presented to the Assembly and to the committee. So there has not been any change—simply that update to make sure that it was the right one that was up there.

The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill introduces two changes to the ways that rental bonds are managed in the ACT. The first of these changes will regulate alternatives to a traditional bond lodged with the Office of Rental Bonds, and the second will make changes to allow an online bonds system for the electronic lodgement of bonds.

The government is committed to working with the community to address the issue of housing affordability. We have heard the concerns of the community about the cost of housing and we appreciate the need for stable and secure housing. Housing is particularly important for the vulnerable members of our community. It was these members of the community that the government had in mind when considering the new products emerging in the market that offer an alternative to the traditional bonds. The government is aware of two of these products in the Australian market, neither of which is operating in Canberra, though one has signalled an intention to do so.

As the Deputy Chief Minister has noted, the recent housing affordability and homelessness summit was a wonderful demonstration of the government engaging with the community to cast the net wide to examine solutions to one of the most important issues facing our community. With this bill the government makes clear the statement that we support innovation but not at the expense of vulnerable people. The government is absolutely committed to an inclusive community where everyone

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