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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 15 November 2011) . . Page.. 5261 ..

Therefore this bill omits section 116N of the Crimes (Sentence Administration) Act 2005 to prevent uncertainty around its operation. It also omits section 116I(1)(d)(iii) and amends section 116ZS to remove the references to “relevant credit reporting agency”. This is a very small part of the fines enforcement scheme and its removal will ensure the ongoing integrity of the scheme.

The bill also amends the Fair Trading (Australian Consumer Law) Act 1992 to provide power to the Fair Trading Commissioner and investigators to undertake investigations under fair trading legislation. Section 33 sets out the functions of the commissioner. It was intended to provide a broad power to the commissioner and investigators to carry out investigations under fair trading legislation, which is defined in the act to mean stated laws administered by the Office of Regulatory Services.

However, this section does not state generally that the commissioner has the function of carrying out investigations. Section 33(1)(d) does provide that the commissioner may inspect records and accounts that must be kept under fair trading legislation. This has had the intention of unintentionally narrowing the scope of the investigatory power that the commissioner and investigators have under the fair trading legislation. So to avoid doubt, the bill proposes to amend section 33(1) to clarify the powers of the commissioner and investigators to investigate compliance. These amendments give effect to the original intent of the legislation.

This bill also amends a number of other acts which require different kinds of criminal checks for licence applicants to provide flexibility and consistency. Some ACT acts require an Australian Federal Police check to be carried out. One requires a CrimTrac check, while others provide for inquiries by police officers. An AFP or CrimTrac search uses the same database information and will provide the same results. A CrimTrac search is more expensive but is faster to obtain. In the interests of providing options to licence applicants, these amendments allow applicants to choose between an AFP check or a CrimTrac check and make ACT legislation consistent in this regard.

Therefore the bill makes a number of changes to acts to provide that references to the AFP or a police officer include a reference to CrimTrac. To give effect to this arrangement, the following legislation will be amended: the Agents Act, the Fair Trading (Motor Vehicle Repair Industry) Act, the Liquor Act, the Pawnbrokers Act, the Prostitution Act, the Sale of Motor Vehicles Act and the Second-Hand Dealers Act. These are technical amendments which confer rights in the sense that they allow licence applicants to choose which criminal check to use. The amendments do not, therefore, adversely impact on human rights.

Finally, JACS bill No 3 amends the Road Transport (General) Act. The recent changes to the administrative arrangements giving effect to the Hawke review recommendations mean that the Justice and Community Safety Directorate has become the administrative unit for some road transport legislation. Some Road Transport Authority functions are transferring to the directorate. However, other functions, such as the management of the ACT’s road assets and traffic management, remain with the TAMS directorate.

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