Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 25 March 2010) . . Page.. 1484 ..
Statute law amendment bills serve the important purpose of improving the overall quality of the ACT statute book so that our laws are kept up to date and are easier to find, read and understand. A well-maintained statute book greatly enhances access to ACT legislation and is a very practical measure to give effect to the principle that members of the community have a right to know the laws that affect them.
Statute law amendment bills also provide an important and useful mode for continually modernising the statute book. For example, laws need to be kept up to date to reflect ongoing technological and societal change. Also, as the ACT statute book has been created from various jurisdictional sources over a long period, it reflects the various drafting practices, language usage, printing formats and styles throughout the years. It is important to maintain a minimum, consistent standard in presentation and cohesion between legislation coming from different sources at different times so that better access to, and understanding of, the law is achieved.
This statute law amendment bill deals with two kinds of matters. Schedule 1 provides for minor, non-controversial amendments proposed by a government agency that require approval from the Chief Minister. Statute law amendment bills generally include a second schedule that contains amendments of the Legislation Act 2001 proposed by the parliamentary counsel to ensure that the overall structure of the statute book is cohesive and consistent and developed to reflect best practice. This bill does not provide for such amendments but the schedule heading is retained to preserve the usual numbering of schedule 3 and a note to that effect is included in schedule 2.
Schedule 3 contains technical amendments proposed by the parliamentary counsel to correct minor typographical or clerical errors, improve language, omit redundant provisions, include explanatory notes or otherwise update or improve the form of legislation. Statute law amendments bills can include a fourth schedule that repeals redundant legislation. However, a fourth schedule is not included in this bill.
The bill contains a large number of minor amendments with detailed explanatory notes; so it is not useful for me to go through them now. However, I would like to take the opportunity to briefly mention several matters.
Schedule 1 of the bill contains amendments to a number of acts in relation to bankruptcy. Members may recall that last year the Statute Law Amendment Act 2009 (No 2) inserted a new definition of bankrupt or personally insolvent in the Legislation Act 2001 dictionary part 1 that established a single term to cover the range of circumstances by which an individual may be considered bankrupt or insolvent under the Bankruptcy Act 1966 of the commonwealth. The definition includes individuals having a similar bankruptcy or personal insolvency status in a foreign country and people in any other circumstances seeking to benefit from any law for the relief of bankrupt or insolvent debtors. A number of acts and regulations were also amended in that act, schedule 3, as a consequence of the new definition.
The Statute Law Amendment Bill 2010 continues the process with similar amendments being made to various acts, including the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body Act 2008, Building Act 2004, Commissioner for the