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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (2 September) . . Page.. 2767 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

Mr Speaker, the final amendment will repeal section 112 of the Supreme Court Act, which required decisions of the President, whether or not he or she was a judge, to be reviewed by a Full Court only. In the Commonwealth, this may have made sense where a President was a Federal Court judge, but it is a costly and inappropriate procedure for the ACT, where the normal practice is that appeals are heard by a single judge. The repeal will still allow the Supreme Court to sit as a Full Court if it considers that circumstances warrant a Full Court hearing. Mr Speaker, I commend the Bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope ) adjourned.


MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services) (10.44): Mr Speaker, I present the Land Planning and Environment Amendment Bill (No. 3) 1999, together with its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR SMYTH: I move:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, the Land Planning and Environment Amendment Bill (No. 3) 1999 deals with elements of the Government's rural policy. Members may recall that in June 1997 the Government received the recommendations contained in the Rural Policy Taskforce Report "Towards a Sustainable Future". That report gave 30 recommendations covering rural land use, lease tenure, rural rent issues and the protection of environment and conservation values on rural holdings.

The Government's response, which was released in December 1997, was broadly supportive of the recommendations of the task force, as they balanced the needs of the rural lessees with the Government's responsibility to ensure that the long-term planning and environmental requirements for the Territory are protected. The Government's response outlined the broad implementation strategies, including both legislative and administrative mechanisms. Since that time the mechanisms for implementation have been refined and have resulted in a comprehensive package which includes this amendment Bill.

This Bill makes the necessary amendments to the Land Act to enable the Government to meet three of the key commitments outlined in our response to the task force report: 99-year leases, lease transfer arrangements and land management agreements. The first key element of this amending Bill is part of the package that will enable a large number of rural lessees to be granted 99-year leases, something that is currently not possible. The Government agreed that there were many rural leases in the ACT that were unlikely ever to be required for non-rural uses in the future. The details of the available lease terms and other conditions are contained in new disallowable instruments that have been prepared under section 161 of the Act, for direct grant of rural leases, and section 171A,

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