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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2569 ..

The Coroners Act 1993 (NT) and the Coroners Act 1980 (NSW) provide for jurisdiction for a Coroner to investigate a disaster and an explosion, respectively. The Coroners Act is proposed to be amended to provide for jurisdiction to investigate, with the consent of the Attorney-General, a 'disaster', that is an occurrence not necessarily involving a fire, but which has caused or which had the potential to cause substantial loss of life or property, injury, or environmental damage.

Such a jurisdiction would provide, in the established investigative forum of the Coroner's Court, for an economic and public airing of the causes, consequences and means of the future prevention of such occurrences.

The Bill proposes the amendment of the Act to provide for the appointment of an investigator to assist a Coroner. This proposal, which would give statutory power to the current practice, emerged during the course of consultation on the extension of the jurisdiction to a disaster and on the best means by which deaths associated with domestic violence might be investigated.

Power is proposed to be given to a Coroner to make interim findings. This would allow matters flowing from an inquest or inquiry, such as registration of a death or insurance matters, to be dealt with more quickly.

The draft Bill is an 'Exposure Draft'. The intention is that it be made available to members of the community for comment. The intention is that a consultation period to the end of February 1996 be entered into with community groups to assist in the development of a 'final' Coroners (Amendment) Bill.

An Explanatory Statement has been prepared to accompany the Exposure draft Bill. The Statement discusses the intended effects of the proposed amendments as well as dealing in detail with the clauses in the draft Bill.

I table for the information of Members, an Explanatory Statement for the Exposure draft Bill.

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