Resumed from an earlier stage of the sitting. The Deputy Chair of Committees (Hon Dr Steve Thomas) in the chair; Hon Alannah MacTiernan (Minister for Regional Development) in charge of the bill.

Comments and speeches from various members

Clause 67: Section 47 amended —


Page 39, line 8 — To delete “child,” and substitute — child or other vulnerable person,

This issue was raised by a member; that is, there might be vulnerable people other than children—for example, people with a physical or an intellectual disability—who might trigger the need for their carer to have the ability to bolt in furniture. To deal with that, we seek to add “or other vulnerable person”. We do not have further definitions. This is not something that will be capable of ongoing definition, but I think the general principle is there—that is, a person who might be able to bring down or play on furniture and cause themselves a severe injury. We have moved that amendment to deal with an issue that was raised by members during the second reading debate.

Comments and speeches from various members

Hon ALISON XAMON: I rise to indicate that the Greens will be supporting this amendment and also concur that the suggestion put forward by Hon Rick Mazza is sound and is a useful addition to this legislation. I also wanted to flesh out how wide the scope for a vulnerable person could be. My concern is that I would not want a landlord to unreasonably withhold permission to affix furniture if that is an important safety measure that needs to be undertaken. As the minister has rightly identified, taking it all the way to a tribunal to determine that would be quite onerous. It may be quite reasonable for someone to expect to be given permission to affix furniture, particularly as the nature of furniture is changing; that is, a lot of it is getting higher. It is very easy for furniture to become unbalanced and fall on a range of people. A person does not necessarily need to be a child to be small. They might not want furniture falling on them.

I want to examine the scope by which this could potentially be determined. We have talked about a child. I think that is pretty self-explanatory. The minister referred to people with intellectual or cognitive disability who may not be able to make the appropriate risk assessment to stop furniture inadvertently toppling over. I also note that in earlier contributions the minister spoke about elderly people who might be quite vulnerable, or others. I think it would be useful for the Hansard record to get some idea of the anticipated scope of what a vulnerable person could encompass, understanding that it is not intended to be definitive. In that way, it can give some guidance to a future tribunal and also give some indication to a landlord who might be seeking advice on this matter so that the capacity to ensure that residents are safe is not unreasonably withheld.


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