Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 February 1999



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 February 1999

Other title

Parliamentary Record 14


Debates for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





Publisher name

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES - Wednesday 17 February 1999 M r BALDWIN: ... and is obviously deficient in New South Wales, and is under review to improve the bills in New South Wales. I suggest that these bills have been prepared in isolation without any considered community or stakeholder consultation. And that is substantiated by the fact that the Real Estate Institute of the Northern Territory - which, I might add, is a significant body which represents the interests of landlords - was not consulted regarding the preparation or content of these bills. In fact, the president of the REINT wrote to a number of ministers in November last year including myself as Housing Minister of that time. I have a copy of that letter, and I think its pertinent to this debate that I should read it to you: Re: Ms Martin - Residential Tenancies and Landlord Tenant Rental Bonds We believe that Ms Clare Martin, MLA, ALP Member for Fannie Bay, gave notice in October 1998 o f her proposed Residential Tenancies Bill 1998 and Landlord and Tenant (Rental Bonds) Bill 1998. The Real Estate Institute o f the Northern Territory wish to bring to your attention [this is in a letter to me] our concerns regarding this proposed legislation. Firstly, Ms Martin had no consultation with the institute or the industry regarding both bills. Secondly, both bills are direct copies o f NSW legislation. The institute believes that this does not meet the requirements o f the Northern Territory. We have also written to Mick Palmer and Daryl Manzie Blah blah blah, and I would like to table that. It is evident the Opposition Leaders bills have been prepared without any consultation with that peak body, or any other peak body for that matter, or the Real Estate Institute in general. The Consumer Affairs Council was not consulted either - rather surprising, really, given that it is the body which represents the interests of consumers. These bills represent a huge change in tenancy law in the Territory in that they seek to establish a centralised rental bond board and a residential tenancies tribunal. This represents the establishment of two additional arms of bureaucracy. It is almost unbelievable that the peak stakeholders were not consulted on whether these extra arms of government are required and, if they are, the forms of powers they should have. M r Stirling: Do not give any power to the tenants. Mr BALDWIN: I am sure that the prospective tenants would be interested to know that, under Clause 12 of the proposed Residential Tenancies Bill, they would be expected to share the cost of preparation of tenancy agreements with the landlord. I also understand that the bills do not meet the requirements of the Department of Housing and Local Government in respect to the Northern Territorys public housing policies and procedures. You can see, therefore, why I am concerned. The Leader of the Opposition has some way to go before she is able to say the legislation being proposed would satisfy the needs and expectations of the Northern Territory people, but there is also more. Members would know that all legislation which contains potential anti-competition provisions is listed for review under the National Competition Policy. Naturally there is an expectation on governments throughout Australia that, when this legislation is prepared, it will be tested against competition principles to ensure that the intent of the competition policy agreement is met. I am advised that this legislation in the House today contains anti-competitive principles which fly in the face of the competition policy agreement. This will surely lead to the need for further review and amendment in the future. By comparison, the Northern Territory government, which is also committed to reform the current tenancy laws, has gone about this task in a professional and considerate way. We have gone about it in a way that ensures the needs of key stakeholders, tenants, government and landlords are met. The government has, over the past years, expended considerable time and resources in reviewing our Tenancy Act and, through the process, has engaged in significant community consultation. A member inteijecting. Mr BALDWIN: Yes, I might put him on it again. I will just take a few moments to recap that process. The current Tenancy Act has been in force since September 1979. It replaced legislation which was outdated and which had as its prime thrust wide-ranging rent control. The government noted the views of the real estate industry, the Consumer Affairs Council and other key stakeholders which favoured replacement of the Tenancy Act with a more contemporary legislation which would strike a balance between the interests of tenants and landlords. In recognition of this, in 1991 Mr Steve Hatton MLA, the then Minister for Health and Community Services and responsible for administration of the 2823