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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 3 June 2021) . . Page.. 1694 ..

The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008 will be amended under this bill to allow the tribunal to make orders for a particular matter even if this means dispensing with a prescribed rule. The scrutiny committee rightly requested clarification on when such a power would be exercised. I note that the ES has been expanded to address this at least to some degree and thank the Attorney-General’s officers for providing me with this revised ES prior to this debate.

Secondly, the Judicial Commissions Act 1994 is to be amended to allow information obtained under that act to be provided to the Integrity Commissioner. The scrutiny committee was concerned that this secondary disclosure may unreasonably breach the privacy of an individual. After reviewing the revised explanatory statement I am satisfied that such disclosures should be permitted to allow the Integrity Commissioner to exercise their powers of investigation more comprehensively.

Thirdly, the scrutiny committee noted that the bill amended the Public Trustee and Guardianship Act 1985 to allow the Public Trustee and Guardian to dispose of the remains of a deceased person and administer their estate when the executor or next of kin cannot be located after reasonable inquiries have been made. The scrutiny committee requested clarification in the explanatory statement as to whether this amendment was unreasonably detrimental to the human rights of surviving family members and those of the kinship group. I am satisfied that this too has been addressed and support this extension of the Public Trustee and Guardian’s powers in such circumstances.

The other amendments in this bill range from minor and technical to providing improvements to the efficiency or clarity of tribunal and court procedures and are unremarkable in my view. I thank the Attorney-General for the briefing from both his department and his office and close by affirming the Canberra Liberals’ support for this bill.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong—Attorney-General, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Minister for Gaming and Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction) (11.39), in reply: I thank Mr Gentleman and Mr Cain for their contributions to the debate. I am pleased to speak in support of this bill as part of the government’s commitment to the review and reform of the justice legislation to ensure that the ACT has an accessible, fair and efficient justice system that can also protect our community’s most vulnerable.

This omnibus bill makes a number of practical improvements and creates greater efficiencies through amendments across courts and justice legislation, including the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008, the Common Boundaries Act, the Coroners Act, the Guardianship and Management of Property Act, the Judicial Commissions Act, the Magistrates Court Act, the Power of Attorney Act, the Public Trustee and Guardian Act and the Supreme Court Act. The need for the amendments has been identified through direct consultation with the ACT courts and tribunals, government directorates and agencies and from recommendations arising from the Australian Law Reform Commission’s report on elder abuse. I thank stakeholders for their collaboration in identifying and developing the amendments in this bill.

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