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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 4 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 897..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

The Statute Law Amendment Bill deals with three kinds of matters. Schedule 1 provides for a minor, non-controversial amendment proposed by a government agency. Schedule 2 contains amendments of the Legislation Act proposed by the parliamentary counsel to ensure that the overall structure of the statute book is cohesive and consistent and is developed to reflect best practice. Schedule 3 contains technical amendments proposed by the parliamentary counsel to correct minor typographical or clerical errors, improve language, omit redundant provisions, include explanatory notes or otherwise update or improve the form of legislation.

Statue law amendment bills may include a fourth schedule that repeals redundant legislation. However, a fourth schedule is not included in this bill.

The bill contains a large number of minor amendments with detailed explanatory notes, so it is not useful for me to go through them now. However, I would like to briefly mention three specific matters.

Schedule 1 contains amendments of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2003, the Heritage Act 2004 and the Unlawful Games Act 1984. The amendment of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Act 2003 removes the requirement that a warrant under the Coroners Act 1997 and the Chief Health Officer's permission are both required to exhume human or foetal remains. From a policy perspective, it is intended that either a coroner or the Chief Health Officer can give permission for such an exhumation. This is reflected in sections 23 (3) to (5), which provide for applications to the Chief Health Officer to exhume human remains.

There are two amendments to the Heritage Act. The first amendment makes it clear that if a place or object is also an Aboriginal place or object, each of the entities mentioned in a new section 13 (2) is, in addition to the entities mentioned in existing sections 13 (a) to (e), an interested person for the place or object. The second amendment extends the scope of the section about the partial cancellation of a registered place to include the partial cancellation of a registered object. For example, if a part of a heritage object cannot be repaired and is replaced, it may be appropriate for the registration not to continue to apply to that part of the object.

The amendment of the Unlawful Games Act amends the definition of "unlawful game"to exclude the games of backgammon, bridge, chess or Scrabble. Unlike most other board or card games of skill or chance, the four games are typically played in competitions organised by community bodies and, without the amendment, may offend the act when played for some form of reward, such as as part of a tournament in which prizes are awarded. However, when played for a reward, including as part of a tournament, they are not played for gambling purposes. The tournament prizes or other benefits are a recognition of skill rather than a gambling reward. The purpose of the amendment is to exclude the games of backgammon, bridge, chess and Scrabble from the act's operation.

Schedule 2 provides for non-controversial structural amendments of the Legislation Act 2001 initiated by the parliamentary counsel. Structural issues are particularly concerned with making the statute book more coherent and concise and therefore more accessible. Strategies to achieve these objectives include avoiding unnecessary


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