Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 9 Hansard (18 September) . .
the distribution of a testator's or intestate person's assets. The amendment will provide certainty and consistency for legal personal representatives when issuing notices prior to the distribution of an estate. The second amendment provides a statutory right for interested people to access copies of a deceased person's will.
The bill defines who is an "interested person", including a beneficiary under the will, a partner or child of the person or a parent or guardian. This amendment means that an interested person will no longer have to apply to the Supreme Court to get access to testamentary documents. An interested person requesting access to the will bears the cost of a request, and the person who has possession or control of the documents is obliged to provide access. The provision is consistent with the statutory right granted by New South Wales. It ensures the transparent administration of an estate and allows interested parties with a legitimate interest to access the will.
The bill also amends the Agents Act 2003 to clarify that it is an offence if a salesperson is not registered and is employed by a licensed agent when providing a service. It is not an offence if a person is licensed to provide the service. This amendment applies to real estate salespeople, stock and station salespeople and business salespeople.
The bill also includes a red tape reduction amendment to remove the requirement that a licensed agent provide a statutory declaration to the Commissioner for Fair Trading to declare that the licensed agent has not held trust money during an audit period. The removal of this mandatory requirement will reduce unnecessary red tape by requiring only that an agent indicate on their licence renewal form whether they have held money on trust for the period of registration.
The amendment does not diminish protection to consumers, since licensed agents will still be obliged to regularly declare whether they have held any money on trust. Safeguards in relation to trust accounts already exist under the act, which requires a licensed agent to give the Commissioner for Fair Trading details of any new trust account within two business days of the agent becoming a licensed agent or opening the new trust account.
The proposed amendment to the Family Provision Act 1969 reduces the time in which the Supreme Court can direct an order for provision following the distribution of property forming part of an estate. This amendment is consistent with the time in which a family provision claim can be made against a deceased estate. The proposed amendment will reduce delays in the finalisation of an estate and will provide greater certainty and peace of mind to the beneficiaries of an estate.
The bill amends the Human Rights Commission Act 2005 to allow the Human Rights Commission to give a report to a third party during the investigation of a complaint by the commission. This will allow the commission to provide a report to a third party, as defined by the act, in circumstances where the commission is satisfied that it is in the public interest, and in other appropriate circumstances provided for under the act. For example, systemic issues and issues of public safety, which are discovered during the course of investigation, will be able to be referred to a third party, such as a minister, even if the third party is not subject to a recommendation in a report. Benefits of this include that a third party would then be able to address systemic issues as they arise.
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