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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2633 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

This move will allow more flexibility to reflect future changes to the Accounting Standards within the Territory's reporting framework. Financial guidelines can be updated more readily than legislation to reflect such changes. Mr Speaker, Members are reminded that financial guidelines are a disallowable instrument and therefore any change to the guidelines will need to be approved by the Assembly. This provides an important mechanism to ensure the level of scrutiny available to the Assembly is not diminished.

The Financial Management Act will continue to provide that the Territory, Territory authority and departmental annual financial statements are prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting practices.

Mr Speaker, in conclusion I would like to emphasise that this Bill contains no agenda other than a commitment to accountability, prudent fiscal management and improved transparency and di,4closure. I trust that Members will support this Bill.

Mr Speaker, I commend this Bill to the Assembly.

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

Agents Amendment Bill 2001

Mr Stefaniak, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Attorney-General) (10.39): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I seek leave to have my presentation speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows:

Mr Speaker, this Bill makes two important changes to the Agents Act 1968 .

Restrictions on where agents can operate

In 1996, the Assembly passed amendments to the Land (Planning and Environment) Act 1999 allowing small businesses to operate from home in certain circumstances. Since that time, a number of small businesses have taken advantage of these amendments.

Unlike other small business operators, agents have not been able to take advantage of this beneficial change. The requirements of sections 48 and 49 of the Agents Act have effectively prohibited agents from operating a business from home.

Mr Speaker, there is no policy rationale for retaining the restrictions when the law allows other small businesses to operate outside city and shopping centers.

Accordingly, this Bill removes this anomaly.

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