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

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 6 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2738..

be regulated. Section 20 of Schedule 4 of the provisions reflects the approach taken by other Australian jurisdictions, in allowing professionals to raise the financial limits of their liability for a particular work engagement. The balancing factor to this flexible approach is that any adjustment to liability limits would first need the approval of the relevant professional association.

In preparing the Bill, an extensive process of consultation was undertaken by my department with representatives of peak bodies representing the accounting, legal and engineering professions. There is unanimous support amongst these professions for both proportionate liability and professional standards. It is generally agreed that "prevention is better than cure", and I am confident that an increase in the standards of service delivered by professionals will result in a corresponding decrease in the number of professional negligence complaints.

I commend the Bill to the Assembly.

Attachment 2

Document incorporated by the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, and Minister for Arts and Heritage

Mr Speaker, I present the Criminal Code (Serious Drugs Offences) Amendment Bill 2004.

This bill represents the fourth phase in an ongoing process to modernise and codify the criminal law of the ACT so that it is relevant to the conditions of the 21st century and is expressed in terms that ordinary people can understand.

The process began in September 2001 and has thus far seen the inclusion of four chapters in the Criminal Code. This bill will insert a new chapter 6 in the Code and make consequential amendments to the Drugs of Dependence Act 1989 to give the ACT a modern regime of offences to deal more effectively with serious drug crime in the ACT. More importantly, I believe that this Bill has the potential to dramatically improve the overall effectiveness of the war on drugs by promoting uniform drug laws across Australia.

Mr Speaker, no other area of the law begs for uniformity like this one. The need for a national drug strategy was recognised as far back as 1980 with the Williams Royal Commission report and in the view of the Model Criminal Code Officers' Committee, which I'll refer to as the officers' committee, the arguments for a uniform approach to deal with the illicit drug trade remain "clear and compelling".

But regrettably in the years since the Williams Royal Commission report there has been very little progress towards uniform legislation. A comparison of the various legislative regimes across the country reveals extreme variation among the Australian jurisdictions. In the meantime the trade in illicit drugs has increased dramatically and grows ever larger, reaching deep into the Australian population with incalculable costs in human suffering and scarce resources.

But I am pleased to say that there has been some meaningful progress towards uniformity in more recent times. In November last year the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General resolved that all jurisdictions would implement the recommendations of the officers' committee report on serious drug offences as a matter of priority. In keeping with that commitment this government has moved this

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