Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . Search

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 2 Hansard (4 March) . . Page.. 803..

MRS DUNNE (continuing):

perfectly legal at the time and now becomes illegal because of the prescriptive nature of the regulations that underpin this legislation.

I will move on to that, but, before I do, I need to make the point that, when the issue of retrospectivity came to my attention, I immediately went to the Chairman of the Scrutiny of Bills Committee-I had read the scrutiny report and there was nothing in it about retrospectivity-and raised with him whether this was an issue that had come up in the scrutiny of bills process. He said that it hadn't. I sought his advice and on his advice I referred my concerns about retrospectivity to the Scrutiny of Bills Committee. At the same time, I informed the government and the cross-bench members of what I had done. I asked that we do not go down the path of debating this legislation until the Scrutiny of Bills Committee had reported again. It is slightly unusual to ask them to revisit legislation on which they had already reported.

Here we are today, knowing that the Scrutiny of Bills still have to report. They might solve all of my problems, in which case I won't have a problem with the issue of retrospectivity. But I think it is not only discourteous to the Scrutiny of Bills Committee that we are debating this legislation before they have had an opportunity to report but also bad legislative process, when we know that there is an issue before the Scrutiny of Bills Committee that impacts directly on a major piece of legislation. This is major legislation-there are inches of it-and we need to make sure that we are doing it well. There are a whole lot of niggling things about this legislation. We know that the legislation is not as good as it could be because it has been rushed through.

Mr Corbell: We tabled it in the middle of last year. It took nine to 10 months.

MRS DUNNE: Ten months does sound like a long time, but you have to remember that during that time we had Christmas and New Year, where nothing functions. I will draw by contrast the process-Mr Deputy Speaker, you will probably recall this-of the passage of the Environment Protection Bill, a bill of equal weight and substance with a much larger number of regulations underpinning it. That process took two years and there was real community consultation. When the bill was introduced in the Assembly and was debated, the community had been consulted. They were happy with the regulations and with the codes of practice that underpin the legislation.

This is not happening with this piece of legislation; there are problems with it, as you can see from the minister's response to the Scrutiny of Bills Committee report. The Scrutiny of Bills Committee in its report has drawn attention to the fact that we have civil liabilities for which there are penalties. The minister came back and said, "Oops, I am really sorry. It was a drafting error. We'll fix that up". But, as were going through Ms Dundas' office, members of her staff found other errors which have been missed by the Scrutiny of Bills Committee.

The minister is saying that it took nine to 10 months. That is a long time, but obviously it wasn't long enough. There are significant issues with not only the drafting but also the policy that underpins this legislation. We have a coming together of views of the industry and the opposition here. One of the principal problems that the industry has is that they had asked that the registrar of the building occupations should be an independent statutory office holder. The argument has come back to me, "Well, he is a statutory

Next page . . . . Previous page. . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Sittings . . . . Search