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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 12 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 3825..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

non-compliance with court orders and undertakings, and provides that the Magistrates Court has the same power as the Supreme Court for dealing with contempt.

The same amendments have been prepared for the Coroners Court. These provisions will assist in ensuring compliance with court orders. They are consistent with the underlying principle in the court rules that, where appropriate, the lower court should have the same powers generally as the Supreme Court.

During the drafting of the court rules, the rule-making committee considered that the registrar of the Magistrates Court should generally have the same powers under the court rules as the registrar of the Supreme Court. As this is not possible under the current legislation, the bill clarifies the powers of the registrar and deputy registrars in the Magistrates Court.

In particular, the bill provides that the Magistrates Court may confer court functions on the Magistrates Court registrar and deputy registrars. The bill also removes an amendment in the Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Act 2006, to enable the registrar and deputy registrars to exercise powers under the court rules.

The bill also includes an amendment removing any doubt that the Magistrates Court may make practice directions about circle sentencing in the Magistrates Court. This follows a recent query about whether the practice direction is beyond the power in section 309 of the Magistrates Court Act 1930.

The ACT Magistrates Court has established, by practice direction, the Ngambra Circle Sentencing Court as a division of the court. The Ngambra Circle Sentencing Court involves the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in the sentencing process and provides culturally appropriate and effective sentencing options for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders.

The Ngambra Circle Sentencing Court is an important tool in addressing indigenous reoffending. This bill puts the validity of the power of the court to make a practice direction for circle sentencing beyond doubt.

The bill also includes amendments to the Magistrates Court Act 1930 and the Court Procedures Act 2004 to make ancillary or consequential amendments to those acts I have just mentioned. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stefaniak) adjourned to the next sitting.

Freedom of Information Amendment Bill 2006

Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Planning) (10.41): I move:

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