Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 13 Hansard (4 December) . . Page.. 4392 ..
MR STEFANIAK (continuing):
That seems to be about the best timeframe to enable everyone who has input to have that input. You are quite right, Ms Tucker, in highlighting it as a very important area that is in need of an overhaul. We want to make sure that is as proper and as thorough as possible.
MS TUCKER: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. I understand that you are saying that you have appointed a project officer. I would like to know whether that person is from within a government department or is a consultant. I am also still not clear on the answer to my question, which was: What have you done in reviewing the present legislation? What stakeholders have been involved in that aspect of looking at this Act? I hear that you are going to draft something else now, but I want to know what you have done until now. Who has been involved in the review of the existing legislation?
MR STEFANIAK: When you are looking at amendments to the legislation, you are talking about a review and a review to fully amend it. There have been a number of piecemeal things occurring - not so much knee-jerk reactions, I suppose, but absolutely essential things which needed to be passed, like the latest amendments we passed in November, which all members supported, making the interests of the child paramount. Those amendments were to section 5 and section 82 or 83 of the Act. They were small but important amendments as a result of a court case when the problems really came to light. There have been those sorts of urgent amendments required along the way. All the people who work regularly in the area stress this need for a thorough revision, and that means a thorough overhaul of the existing Act. It is being reviewed; sections of it will be amended; and perhaps new sections will be added. That is why we are going into this process now, which is something all the stakeholders in the area are very keen to see happen.
Ms Tucker: But who has been involved up to the draft point? Who has been involved so far?
MR STEFANIAK: This draft is a thorough revision of the Act, Ms Tucker, and that involves redrafting and drafting a lot of new sections so that we can have a complete overhaul of the Act. What will come before this Assembly will be, as a result of that consultation, very detailed legislation to bring this Act up to date, which it clearly needs at present. It needs a major overhaul. I think most people in the area will tell you that, and that is what we are embarking upon.
MS FOLLETT: I direct a question without notice to the Attorney-General, Mr Humphries. Minister, I refer you to a recent decision of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal concerning an application under the Nature Conservation Act for the import of a grand eclectus parrot in which the department was found to be at fault. In his reasons for his decision, the president of the AAT said - and I will quote him but not use the name of my constituent: