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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 March 2010) . . Page.. 1240 ..

I would like to acknowledge the standing committee’s scrutiny report, which raises concern with the power to make transitional regulations that modify the operation of the act. As with any regulation-making power, there is no doubt that the regulations always remain subject to the authority of the Assembly. While I agree with the standing committee’s point that the power of the Assembly to legislate may not be restrained by transitional regulations, it is clear that this bill does not purport to impose any restraint on the Assembly.

A broadly worded transitional regulation-making power is absolutely necessary in this case to deal with any unforeseen circumstances. A similar power was included in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008, for the same reason—comprehensive reforms that involve transfers of information require flexibility for proper and seamless implementation.

As the commonwealth’s expected start time of May 2011 approaches, the time available to respond should any issues arise will only grow shorter. There must be a provision to ensure that the government can respond quickly—for example, if there is some impediment to the process of transferring data or if there is an ambiguity with respect to the territory’s licensing and regulatory regimes under the new law.

The need to ensure the territory’s interests are protected brings me to the third key aspect of this bill. It has been drafted to include certain provisions that make it clear that the territory’s licensing, regulatory and forfeiture regimes will continue to operate as before. While the commonwealth legislation was being drafted, I joined other states and territories in ensuring that there were provisions to allow for each jurisdiction to maintain the integrity of important government functions.

An example of this is the liquor licensing regime in the territory. The commonwealth Personal Property Securities Act presumptively allows for all licences that are transferrable to be used as security for a loan. In the territory, liquor licences are transferrable, but they are not intended to be used as collateral for loans. They are designed to serve only a regulatory function and not to be marketable securities. For that reason, the bill excludes liquor licences from the operation of the commonwealth law.

Licences for minerals under the Planning and Development Act have been excluded only because these are not intended to be transferrable apart from a lease, and the commonwealth law does not apply to leases or other interests in land. These measures will preserve the existing system of governance for these matters in the territory.

Schedule 2 to this bill addresses enforcement actions that deal with personal property. The commonwealth act provides that state and territory forfeiture and restraining provisions will continue to have effect, even over property that is subject to a registered interest. For example, in the territory the Public Trustee has a lien on insurance proceeds for property where the Public Trustee has paid some portion of the premiums. This bill will make it clear that the Public Trustee’s lien is not subordinate to an interest created under the new commonwealth act. All of the amendments in schedule 2 serve this same purpose: to preserve existing rights to payment and means of dealing with property where the territory is a stakeholder.

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