Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 5 Hansard (5 May) . . Page.. 1881..
a statute law amendment bill such as this in each sitting of the Assembly and including further technical amendments in other amending legislation where appropriate.
Statute law amendment bills serve the important purpose of improving the overall quality of the ACT statute book so that our laws are kept up to date and are easier to find, read and understand. A well-maintained statute book greatly enhances access to ACT legislation and is a very practical measure to give effect to the principle that members of the community have a right to know the laws that affect them.
Statute law amendment bills also provide an important and useful mode for continually modernising the statute book. For example, laws need to be kept up to date to reflect ongoing technological and societal change. Also, as the statute book has been created from various jurisdictional sources over a long period and it reflects the various drafting practices, language usage, printing formats and styles throughout the years. It is important to maintain a minimum, consistent standard in presentation and cohesion between legislation coming from different sources at different times so that better access to, and understanding of, the law is achieved.
This statute law amendment bill deals with four kinds of matters. Schedule 1 provides for minor, non-controversial amendments proposed by a government agency that has required the approval of the Chief Minister. Schedule 2 contains amendments of the Legislation Act 2001 proposed by the parliamentary counsel to ensure that the overall structure of the statute book is cohesive and consistent and 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. Schedule 4 contains repeals of obsolete or unnecessary legislation proposed by government agencies or the parliamentary counsel.
Mr Speaker, 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 take the opportunity to briefly mention several matters.
Schedule 1 of the bill contains amendments to the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1977. The bill amends the act, section 41AA, to expand the matters that may be included in an evidentiary certificate given under that section. The amendments are consequential on changes made to the act by the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Legislation Amendment Act 2010 in relation to the testing of a person's oral fluid or blood for prescribed drugs.
The first amendment substitutes section 41AA(2)(f). Proposed section 41AA(2)(f) provides that a statement by a police officer that a person was unable or failed to provide a sufficient sample of oral fluid for analysis is evidence of that matter. The amendment will ensure that the situation contemplated by section 15(1)(c), which provides that a person unable to provide sufficient oral fluid for analysis is required to allow a blood sample to be taken for analysis, may be dealt with in the evidentiary certificate instead of requiring the police officer to give direct oral evidence of the matter to the court.