Friday, 4 June 2021
Affordable Housing Bill 2021: Committee Stage (Resumed)
Rebecca Moynihan (Labour)
There is confusion about this. What the Minister of State explained was my understanding and reading of the Bill. When I was discussing this with colleagues, a couple came to the same conclusion as Senator Higgins from reading the legislation directly. I ask for a commitment from the Minister of State that he will look at this section of the Bill from a legal perspective to see if there are unintended consequences or if it is worded or drafted badly from a legislative perspective such that local authorities are potentially affected. I understand the equity share to be a clawback. I think that is its intention. It might be written in such a way that it is not just a clawback but that local authorities would also be making up the difference between not just market value but even cost value and what somebody is paying for it. I have concerns about how affordability is being calculated. If it is based on a market discount share, the section is probably worded quite badly and the Government maybe needs to tighten the wording and make it more robust. My interpretation was different to my colleagues' interpretation, which was different to Senator Higgins's interpretation. I imagine that if it is challenged in some respect, lawyers will have different interpretations. I will not press any of these amendments but potentially will bring them back in. I urge the Government to look at how this is drafted because there is a fundamental misunderstanding about how this part of the legislation operates.