Subject to the agreement of Her Excellency the Governor, I intend to recall Parliament in coming weeks to consider urgent business required because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Yesterday at National Cabinet it was agreed that a mandatory code of conduct be legislated across all states and territories regarding commercial tenancies.
As this code will provide a mechanism for landlords and commercial tenants to come to arrangements to manage financial stress and hardship as a result of COVID-19, it is necessary to recall Parliament to enact the appropriate legislation. This will be in addition to the measures already taken in the COVID-19 Disease Emergency (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020 to protect commercial tenants in relation to preventing evictions and capping rent.
Further, as a result of the need to defer this year’s Legislative Council elections, it will provide the opportunity for legislative change to enable the communities of the divisions of Huon and Rosevears to have continued representation beyond May.
While Parliament is not currently scheduled to return until August, due to the highly unpredictable nature of the virus and the necessary response actions, it is not unexpected that an earlier return of Parliament has become necessary.
I will of course consult with Speaker Hickey and the President of the Legislative Council, Mr Farrell to ensure that we will have appropriate social distancing and hygiene arrangements in place.