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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 12 Hansard (13 October) . . Page.. 4297..


MR CORBELL (continuing):

The bill sets out the amendment that the 2009-10 budget process approved, namely to increase the penalty unit rate for an individual by $10 to $110 and for a corporation by $50 to $550. In addition to aligning the territory with the commonwealth and New South Wales, which value a penalty unit for an individual at $110, the increase in penalty unit values will increase the revenue collected by the territory by an estimated $3,136,000 per year.

This amendment of the penalty unit values reflects inflation and the general increase in the cost of government administration of penalties since 2001 when the value was last reviewed by the Assembly. I thank members for their support of the bill and commend it to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Adoption Amendment Bill 2009

Debate resumed from 15 September 2009, on motion by Mr Barr:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (10.25): The Liberal opposition will be supporting this bill in principle, and I am a little distracted because although we are agreeing to the bill in principle there are some issues that have arisen in our consultations with members of the public and in our own party room discussions in relation to this legislation that I would like to be able to explore a little more thoroughly. I thank the minister and his officers for providing my office and Mr Coe's office with a briefing on this bill in my absence when I was representing the Assembly in Tanzania.

I think that, generally speaking, the work done in the adoption bill is good work and it expands much of what needs to be done to improve adoption law, which has not really been addressed since it was last dealt with in 1993. In 1993, when Terry Connolly introduced changes to adoption law, it was extraordinarily controversial and I remember that as a member of the community and as someone who has had a number of dealings with adoption organisations over the years, mainly just through family associations and associations with friends who have been active in the adoption community, I was very aware of a number of concerns at the time of the introduction of the current legislation.

The work done by Mr Connolly and agencies at the time brought a higher level of confidence in the adoption arrangements that we have seen in place in the ACT over quite some time. I think that in the area of adoption there always needs to be a very high level of confidence in the process. In the ACT, as in most other places, the number of adoptions is not high in per capita terms and they have been decreasing


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