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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 2141 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

Outdated penalties in ACT statutes, such as the penalties in the Inebriates Act 1900, which are still expressed in terms of pounds sterling, have been replaced. Some penalties which are too low and some which are too high, relative to the severity of the offences, have been adjusted in accordance with the review principles and policy. Particularly high penalties for offences such as those in the Inquiries Act 1991, the Royal Commissions Act 1991 and the Judicial Commissions Act 1994 have been retained to ensure that the penalties reflect the seriousness of the offences concerned. The fine amounts have been converted to penalty units and the fine-imprisonment term ratio of the penalties has been adjusted pursuant to the penalties principles.

Issues such as which offences should attract corporate penalties and which should not have also been addressed in the Bill.

Mr Speaker, section 32 of the Interpretation Act 1967 provides for the maximum amount of a fine to apply to a body corporate where the body corporate is convicted of an offence for which the prescribed penalty is a term of imprisonment only. The Bill amends the penalty amounts consistent with the ratio of 50 penalty units to an imprisonment term of six months.

I am confident that, with this Bill, the legislative penalties regime of the Territory will be as up to date as possible, and any future adjustments to penalties to ensure their continued effectiveness will be a more straightforward and quicker exercise. I commend this Bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope) adjourned.


MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (10.44): Mr Speaker, I present the Consumer Credit (Administration) (Amendment) Bill 1998, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.


That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

This Bill makes two amendments to the Consumer Credit (Administration) Act 1994. The Uniform Consumer Credit Code, which regulates the provision of all consumer credit throughout Australia, is regulated in the ACT through the Administration Act.

The more significant amendment relates to the removal of the reference to civil proceedings from subsection 121(5) of the Administration Act and is intended to overcome uncertainty as to the ability of the Director of Consumer Affairs to use information obtained under a notice to produce in disciplinary proceedings and to enable its use in other civil proceedings under the Fair Trading Act 1992.

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