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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 12 Hansard (20 October) . . Page.. 3913..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

amends the Guardianship and Management of Property Act 1991 to enable the public trustee to waive fees under section 26 where the trustee feels it is appropriate, for example, in cases of financial hardship.

The amendment to the Notaries Public Act 1984 clarifies the position in relation to a lawyer's application to the Supreme Court to be a notary public. The act currently provides that where a lawyer is deemed to hold an unrestricted practising certificate by an order of the Supreme Court, under the Legal Practitioners Act, for the purposes of deciding an application for appointment as a notary public the court cannot use the deeming provision as a qualification under section 4 of the act when deciding the appointment. Given that the Supreme Court will be deciding the outcome of the lawyer's appeal of the law society's decision not to issue them with the unrestricted practising certificate, it is appropriate that the decision to approve that person's application for appointment as a notary public should also be left to the discretion of the ACT Supreme Court. For this reason, removing section 4 (2) of the act gives the Supreme Court that discretion.

The amendment to the Public Trustee Act 1985 will allow the public trustee to provide for the payment of moneys in the case of small estates without the need for a grant of administration. In the case where an estate is small, the cost of applying for and obtaining a grant of administration in terms of time and money can be significant and may, in some cases, diminish significantly the value of the estate. Abolishing the need for a grant of administration takes account of these situations.

The amendment to the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1995 makes a consequential amendment to include the Children and Young People Commissioner in a list of commissioners to whom the act will apply.

The amendment to the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 and Residential Tenancies Regulation 1998 will ensure that interest earned from rental bond moneys under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 will be placed in a trust account held by the Department of Justice and Community Safety, ensuring that the money is not, in any way, mistaken as part of the department's budget.

The bill also recognises the recent creation of a new class of agreements under the act, that is, occupancy agreements between an occupant and a grantor. The bill amends the act to give the Residential Tenancies Tribunal the power to restore an occupancy agreement, which is similar to its current power to restore a tenancy agreement.

Currently under the Unclaimed Moneys Act 1950, where a company holds a sum of unclaimed money, the company uses a portion of the unclaimed money to fund public advertising of the sum for collection. This can be very costly and can seriously deplete the sum of unclaimed money held. The act states that, after a period, all unclaimed money must be paid to the public trustee. This bill amends the Unclaimed Moneys Act 1950 to require the company to place a brief notice in the newspaper telling the public that the company holds unclaimed money and where they can go to find out details of the amounts and claim them. This will reduce the cost of advertising and therefore help to preserve the unclaimed moneys.


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