I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Consumer Affairs a question about the review of the Residential Tenancies Act.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Members may recall that questions have been raised in the past, in particular by the former Democrat member, the Hon. Kate Reynolds, and I also asked a question in November last year, about the review of the Residential Tenancies Act. We have seen two pieces of legislation coming forward to the parliament since then, but a number of other areas have disappeared into the ether. In her response in November last year, the minister said, 'Hopefully, I will announce something fairly shortly.'
On advising of this response to one of the non-government organisations involved in this area, they said to me that they had heard the other night that the government has 'archived' the review of the Residential Tenancies Act. They said that they put in an extensive submission and they know that there were many other submissions.
The person to whom I refer goes on to say: I now understand that 'archiving' the Review means no action will be taken, and that whatever the recommendations were, they are not available under Freedom of Information.
Yesterday, I asked the minister about issues which have been raised by the Landlords' Association, which has correspondence from the minister, dated 2 May (some six months after I asked that question), which states: I have been informed of your concerns about delays in the progress of the review. I can confirm that the review is progressing and the Landlords' Association Submission— which, I might add, was submitted in 2003— on the consultation paper is being carefully considered as part of this process.
Does the minister have a draft bill, and does she intend to table it this side of the election?
The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for State/Local Government Relations, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Government Enterprises, Minister Assisting the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Energy) (14:31): Indeed, this has been a protracted process. I think that in 2002 a review was conducted of the Residential Tenancies Act, and I understand a discussion paper was prepared which received just under 200 submissions, during fairly extensive public consultation. A review working party comprising the Commissioner for Consumer Affairs and senior staff of the Office of Consumer and Business Affairs was established to look at and to report on those submissions. Obviously, the range of issues raised was extremely broad which then warranted separate consideration in relation to some of the quite technical issues involved.
The group delivered three reports to the Minister for Consumer Affairs at the time arising from that review. The first report contained recommendations proposing the introduction of new separate legislation setting out the rights and responsibilities of residents and operators of caravan and mobile home parks in South Australia. That has resulted in a very important piece of legislation, the Residential Parks Act 2007, which commenced in November 2007—so a tick there. The second and third reports contain views and draft recommendations of the working party relating to the Residential Tenancies Act and the Residential Tenancies Rooming Houses Regulations 1999. Those recommendations are still under consideration.
This government is very committed to ensuring that we make good legislation; that we do all the work and background research and consultation required to ensure that we explore all different points of view; and that we then consider those points of view carefully. Some complex issues have arisen out of that review and we need to ensure that we get those right. It is important that we do not hurry it through at the expense of not getting it right. We will get it right. We are committed to reviewing this legislation; we have given that commitment. We are certainly not resiling from that, and those considerations are still under way.
At this point, I am not able to give a detailed time frame. We are certainly striving to do it as quickly as we possibly can, given, as I said, the fact that we strive to provide quality legislation and to get it right, and to ensure that we balance as many different points of view as possible to get the best and strongest legislation possible.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (14:34): Sir, I have a supplementary question. Can the minister advise whether or not the working party still exists?
The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for State/Local Government Relations, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Government Enterprises, Minister Assisting the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Energy) (14:34): I am not sure about that. I am happy to take that question on notice and bring back a response.
Wednesday 14 October 2009
In reply to the Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (14 July 2009).
The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for State/Local Government Relations, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Government Enterprises, Minister Assisting the Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Energy): I am advised that:
During the 2008-09 financial year, over 15,000 applications for an order of the Residential Tenancies Tribunal were lodged with the Residential Tenancies Tribunal Registry. Of those applications, approximately:
8,900 were lodged by agents (on behalf of landlords);
1,900 were lodged by landlords;
1,950 were lodged by tenants; and
2,250 were lodged by other interested persons or where actions were brought under the Retirement Villages Act 1987 or the Residential Parks Act 2007.