Residential Tenancies Act

11 Nov 2008 questionsarchive

I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Consumer Affairs a question about the Residential Tenancies Act.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: In response to an election promise, in 2002 the Rann Labor government undertook a review of the Residential Tenancies Act. The discussion document outlined a range of areas, including the impact on the relationship between landlords and tenants, the tribunal and so forth. We have had amendments to the act—particularly with the implementation of the Residential Parks Act and the Statutes Amendment (Affordable Housing) Act—and, in reply to a referred question from the Hon. Kate Reynolds, the Attorney-General, through the Leader of the Government, stated that he had actually received two sets of recommendations and that the government was considering introducing amendments.

Given that it has been some six years since that review was conducted, is the minister aware of any report surrounding further amendments to the act? Will she undertake to provide those details to the parliament?

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) (14:44): I thank the honourable member for her question on this very important policy area. Indeed, in November 2002 the government did announce a review of the Residential Tenancies Act 1995 and a discussion paper was prepared, with approximately 170 submissions being received during the public consultation period.

I understand that a review working party, comprising the Commissioner for Consumer Affairs and senior staff from the Office of Consumer and Business Affairs, was established to report on those submissions. The range of issues was incredibly broad, and some matters warranted separate consideration due to their complexity, legal implications, etc.

The group delivered three reports arising from the review to the Minister for Consumer Affairs at the time. 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. This resulted in a very important piece of legislation (the Residential Parks Act) which commenced on 5 November 2007. The second and third reports contained the views and draft recommendations of the working party on the Residential Tenancies Act and the Residential Tenancies (Rooming Houses) Regulations 1999. Those recommendations are currently being considered.

A great deal of work has been done in relation to these matters. It is an area in which I have taken a very keen interest since becoming the Minister for Consumer Affairs, and it is something I have prioritised in terms of the response to those recommendations. Obviously I do not want to be overly ambitious, but I am pleased to say that, hopefully, I will announce something fairly shortly.