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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 December 2020 2020) . . Page.. 43 ..


The bill also repeals COVID measures under sections 182 and 185 of the Crimes (Sentence Administration) Act. These measures permit a single judicial officer to exercise a supervisory function for the Sentence Administration Board in relation to intensive correction orders or parole and constitute quorum at the Sentence Administration Board meetings during the COVID emergency. These measures are no longer needed, as the board has been able to adopt the use of an audiovisual link to carry out its functions, in the event the need arises.

The bill makes technical amendments to the provisions for the extension of registrations under the Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act. These amendments repeal sections 60B and 60C of the act, which extended registrations due to end during the COVID-19 emergency period to a single fixed date six months after the end of the emergency. The bill replaces these provisions to extend registrations that end during the emergency period to end 12 months after the registration was due to end. The amendments to the Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act aim to ensure an effective and orderly transition back to normal registration processes. The expiry period for this measure remains at six months after the COVID-19 emergency ends.

Additionally, the bill makes two amendments to measures under the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act to support Legislative Assembly scrutiny of the emergency response measures. The first amendment—and this is important—changes the reporting period for the reporting of the application of emergency response measures. Reports are currently required after each month that a COVID-19 declaration is in force. This bill amends the reporting period so that reports will be made for each quarter that the declaration is in force, reflecting the practical reality of zero monthly reports most of the time so far. Quarterly reports will of course ensure that the Assembly is able to continue to monitor trends over time and aligns with the length of time a public health emergency declaration may be extended by the Minister for Health under the Public Health Act 1997.

The second amendment changes the presentation requirements for subordinate laws and disallowable instruments made under a COVID-19 emergency response measure. Currently, such subordinate laws and disallowable instruments must be presented within one sitting day after they are notified on the legislation register. This amendment will change this to two sitting days after notification, which will reduce the possibility that a subordinate law or disallowable instrument will be repealed as a result of failing to meet the presentation requirement.

At this point I am very happy to confirm that if any significant emergency response measures are used we will of course notify the Leader of the Opposition of these powers being exercised so that she is aware, in as close to real time as possible, of this action and the reason for it. That said, it is in fact extremely likely that the government would make a public announcement that everyone would be aware of about the use of most powers in any event.

Our response to the COVID situation has seen the government focus on supporting Canberra and Canberrans during this critical time. The measures adopted in this bill


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