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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 8 Hansard (9 August) . . Page.. 2634 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

Clarification of the law - Compensation claims

The second amendment concerns claims for compensation under the Agents Fidelity Guarantee Fund.

Under the Agents Act, a person who suffers pecuniary loss by reason of a failure to account by a licensed agent may file a claim for compensation with the Agents Board.

A recent case, involving a claim for compensation with the Board, highlighted uncertainty concerning the operation of the requirements for making a claim. In particular, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal held that provisions that had previously been considered to be mandatory were not mandatory.

This Bill removes .the uncertainty caused by the decision. It makes it clear that the procedural requirements of the law are mandatory and must be complied with before a claim with the Board can be entertained. This requirement will lend certainty in the management of the claims process.

Let me make it clear, however, that it is not the intention of the amendments to discourage legitimate claims. In fact, to ensure adequate time is allowed for claims to be lodged, the limitation period of six months to make a claim is being extended to one year.

Mr Speaker, I commend the Bill to the Assembly.

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

Referendum 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) (10.40): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, drug use-in particular, heroin use-is a very real problem in our community. It is estimated that the ACT has between 1,000 and 1,500 dependent heroin users, with 1,300 individuals collecting injecting equipment on a monthly basis.

The ACT drug trends 2000 report found that previously reported increases in heroin use generally and increases in the number of young users continued unabated in 1999-2000. The increase in the number of indigenous users also appeared to have accelerated. An ACT survey conducted last year by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, and reported in drug trends 2000, showed that, of 100 injecting drug users interviewed, some 58 per cent had committed at least one crime in the preceding month. The most commonly reported crimes were drug dealing and property crimes. Our police tell us that if we are to beat the crime problem on a sustained basis we have to address the drug problem.

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