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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 9 Hansard (24 August) . .

Page.. 3325..


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 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 of continually modernising the statute book. It is important to maintain a minimum, consistent standard in presentation and cohesion of 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 three kinds of matters. Schedule 1 provides for minor, non-controversial amendments proposed by a government agency that require approval from the Chief Minister. Schedule 2 contains amendments to the Legislation Act 2001 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.

The bill contains a number of minor amendments with detailed explanatory notes and it is not useful for me to go through them now. However, I would like to take the opportunity to briefly mention a few matters. Schedule 1 of the bill amends the Annual Reports (Government Agencies) Act 2004. Section 5 of the act provides that the Head of Service must prepare a state of the service report about the operation of the public service during the reporting year. The act is amended to insert new section 9A in part 3 to provide that the Chief Minister is the responsible minister for a state of the service report.

The City Renewal Authority and Suburban Land Agency Act 2017, which I will refer to as the CRA act, is amended in schedule 1 to omit references to "Minister" in section 63 and to replace them with references to "Treasurer". The amendments to section 63 will ensure transparency and consistency with the broader accountability framework established under the CRA act. It is consistent with the Treasurer's responsibilities in relation to financial matters of the authority and the agency under sections 9 and 39 of the CRA act.

The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 is amended in relation to the installation of smoke alarms. The intention of section 11B when it was included in that act was to allow lessors to install a hard-wired or a battery-operated smoke alarm that meets the relevant Australian standard for smoke alarms. The way this legislation referred to the building code, however, created uncertainty. It could be read to require hard-wired alarms be installed by lessors, which was never the intention behind the legislation. This bill resolves that uncertainty. There is no policy change on smoke alarms as a result of these changes. The legislative machinery that requires them will be easier to understand and clearer as a result of this bill.

Schedule 2 contains minor, non-controversial structural amendments of the Legislation Act initiated by the Parliamentary Counsel's Office. Structural issues are


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