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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (29 March) . . Page.. 1133 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

each provision for which a form was required. Thus, for example, if an application could be made under 5 sections of an Act, each of the 5 sections would have a provision requiring the use of an approved form.

This practice added significantly to clutter in the statute book and to unnecessary rigidity in administration. Over the years, the approved form provisions have developed in a way that lacks consistency, although it is an area where a standard approach would normally be simpler and just as effective.

Sometimes the legislation required the approved form to be published or notified in the Gazette. In most cases, however, there was no obligation to notify or publish the forms currently approved. The result was that people would need to make their way to the relevant agency to pick up a printed form. Even if the form has been published or notified at some stage in the past, people still often have difficulty knowing which form to use when applying for licences or otherwise dealing with the ACT government under statutory schemes.

To overcome these difficulties, the Bill provides for amendments across the statute book to introduce a standard approval of forms provision. Importantly, the fact that an approved form is a notifiable instrument under the Legislation Act means that it can be located in the relevant part of the legislation register and linked to the provision to which it relates. Most forms that are presently set out in an Act or subordinate law will become notifiable instruments. They will be included in the register by the Parliamentary Counsel's Office without the need for any action on behalf of the administering agency.

Similarly, for many years, ACT legislation has provided for fees, charges and other amounts to be fixed by means of a determination (generally made by the relevant Minister). Over the years, different provisions about determination of fees have evolved and have tended to become more elaborate.

The Legislation Act Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001, part 6.3 contains a standard set of provisions that will apply to the determination of fees. The part will enable the provisions about fees in individual Acts and statutory instruments to be simplified. In particular, it will be unnecessary to mention determined fees in every provision for which fees may be determined. The Bill, therefore, simplifies and standardises the provisions in Acts providing for the determination of fees.

The Bill considerably improves the quality of the ACT statute book, particularly by rationalising and standardising a large number of provisions. This will provide a sound basis for the significantly enhanced access to ACT law that the Public Access to Legislation project will provide.

Mr Speaker, I commend the Bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stanhope ) adjourned to the next sitting.

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