Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 February 1999



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 17 February 1999

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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





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 17 February 1999 Tenancy Act, established a working party which was given the task of reviewing tenancy laws in the NT. The working party comprised members of parliament, members of the Real Estate industry and officers gone from various government departments and the Chair was one Mr Rick Setter, MLA. Mr Speaker, in 1993 a discussion paper prepared by the working party was provided to the then Attorney-General and it was then further released for public comment that year. And that public comment was taken into account when drafting the working partys recommendations which subsequently in January 1996, Mr Hatton, MLA, who was then Attorney-General, released the Discussion Draft Residential Tenancies Bill. The bill incorporated the recommendations made by the working party and also some new proposals. I take this opportunity to stress the amount of community consultation which has occurred surrounding this matter. Around 800 submissions were received in response to the Northern Territory governments draft bill. Mr Stirling: Youve ignored them all. Ms Martin: Where is it? Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The minister has the floor. Mr BALDWIN: It has taken quite sometime to draw all of those threads together to make the necessary amendments this year in an attempt to satisfy those competing interests within that draft bill. On October 13 1998 the then Chief Minister, the Hon Shane Stone, gave Dr Richard Lim MLA, the task of reviewing the tenancy legislation in the Northern Territory and the bills introduced by the Leader of the Opposition. Dr Lim, I am happy to say, has consulted with the Department of the Attorney-General and the Consumer Affairs division in the Department of Industries and Business and he has certainly discussed the issues at length with both the Chief Minister and myself. There is still some way to go, Mr Speaker, but the end is certainly in sight, Im happy to say. Some redrafting of certain clauses is still being undertaken and following further consultation with the Department of Housing and ... Ms Martin: Well have the railway before we have tenancies legislation. Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Mr BALDWIN: ...and following further consultation with the Department of Housing and Local Government, the Consumer Affairs Council and the Real Estate Institute of the Northern Territory. National competition policy must be taken into account and the Northern Territory governments draft bill is currently being tested against these principles. Its anticipated that this bill will be ready for introduction into the Legislative Assembly in the first half of this year. Tenancy legislation certainly has a crucial influence on a large proportion of the Northern Territory community. Ms Martin: Fifty percent. Mr BALDWIN: The size - and the Leader of the Opposition is quite right - the size of the local Darwin rental market is proportionally large at 54.34% when compared to other capital cities which range from 27% to 35%. The rights of this significant section of the population who occupy rental properties, Mr Speaker, in the Territory certainly must be protected, and they must be treated equitably and fairly and health and safety standards must be maintained. On the other hand, private sector landlords are people who have substantial investments in the Territory. It is the responsibility of governments to ensure that the industry is consulted and to make laws which do not threaten the ongoing viability of the industry. An erosion of confidence in this sector could see a withdrawal of capital to other investment sectors or perhaps even out of the Territory. It goes without saying that this would not only be detrimental to the development of the Territory but to the community at large, and the rental property sector in particular. It could seriously erode the developer and private sector investment confidence in the Territory that the government has worked so hard and will always work so hard to encourage. Effective tenancy law strikes a balance between the rights and expectations of both the landlords and the tenants. The government recognises that the rapidly growing Northern Territory population is very aware of its rights and it expects laws which reflect its needs. Both landlords and tenants want, expect and should get laws which protect their right to fair and equitable treatment. The Northern Tenitory government is committed to getting it right, it does not support these bills and for the reasons that I have spelt out here. In other words, I put it to you that the Leader of the Opposition has, with the introduction of these poor pieces of legislation, acted irresponsibly and ignored the concerns of Territorians with regard to sound tenancy laws. As I said, we will not be supporting these bills. 2824