Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 6 Hansard (5 June) . . Page.. 1825..
While this bill is short, it represents a coming of age for our territory. It would not have been possible before amendments to the self-government act were made in 2013. As members would be aware, until that time, the size of the Assembly could only be changed by regulations made by the commonwealth in accordance with an Assembly resolution. With the requirement to achieve a two-thirds majority to pass the bills, even coming to an agreement on the way forward reflects the growing maturity of the ACT and of this Assembly. I commend the bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Hanson) adjourned to the next sitting.
Legislation (Penalty Units) Amendment Bill 2014
Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.
Title read by Clerk.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations and Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development) (10.51): I move:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
I am pleased to present the Legislation (Penalty Units) Amendment Bill today.
The ACT statute book uses the concept of a penalty unit for offences to express a maximum monetary fine for an offence. Section 133 of the Legislation Act 2001 currently defines the value of a penalty unit as $110 for an individual and $550 for a corporation. The Legislation (Penalty Units) Amendment Bill increases the value of a penalty unit for an individual to $150 and for a corporation to $750. This equates to an increase of $10 for an individual and $50 for a corporation, or approximately a seven per cent increase.
The increase only affects the maximum monetary fine that a court can impose on an offender or corporation. It does not create a mandatory monetary fine that the court will impose. In sentencing a person, the court will consider the personal circumstances of the offender based on submissions made to the court, including the offender's ability to pay. A sentencing court can fix a financial penalty for an offender at an appropriate sum taking into account the offender's circumstances and how long it may take them to pay the fine. Further, after considering an offender's personal circumstances, a court is able to use non-monetary penalties in sentencing an offender. For example, a sentencing court can make a non-conviction order or sentence a person to a good behaviour order or a community service order.
In 2013 the government introduced a review mechanism into the Legislation Act to require me, as Attorney-General, to consider the appropriateness of the monetary value of a penalty unit at least every four years. This review mechanism allows me to consider the monetary value of a penalty unit sooner than that four-year schedule—which I have done in consultation with my government colleagues through the budget cabinet process.
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