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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (9 May) . . Page.. 1389 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

between legislation coming from different sources at different times so that better access to and understanding of the law is achieved.

This bill deals with four kinds of matters. Schedule 1 contains minor amendments proposed by government agencies. Schedule 2 contains amendments proposed by the Parliamentary Counsel's Office to ensure the overall structure of the statute book is cohesive and consistent and is developed to reflect best practice. Schedule 3 contains technical amendments proposed by the Parliamentary Counsel's Office to correct minor typographical or clerical errors, improve grammar or syntax, omit redundant provisions, remove gender-specific references or otherwise update or improve the form of the legislation. Schedule 4 contains repeals of obsolete or unnecessary legislation proposed by government agencies or the Parliamentary Counsel's Office.

The bill contains a large number of minor amendments with detailed explanatory notes, so I will not go through each of them here. The Parliamentary Counsel's Office is also available to provide any additional explanation or information that members may need or require.

The bill, while minor and technical in nature, is another important building block in the development of a modernised and accessible ACT statute book that is second to none in Australia. Mr Speaker, I commend the bill to the Assembly.

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

Duties (Personal Relationship Agreements) Amendment Bill 2002

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

Title read by Clerk.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming and Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections) (10.48): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, the Duties (Personal Relationship Agreements) Amendment Bill 2002 amends the Duties Act 1999. The proposals are twofold. Firstly, they remove inequities which inadvertently resulted from recent amendments to the Commonwealth's Family Law Act 1975. Secondly, they address an anomaly in the Duties Act whereby exemptions relating to the transfer of property are extended so that they apply uniformly to the termination of marriage or domestic or de facto relationships.

The December 2000 amendments to the Family Law Act allow the voluntary making of binding financial agreements before, during or after dissolution of marriage. The provisions were introduced, in part, to reduce the volume of contested property matters in the Family Court. However, because there is no court order, the binding financial agreements, and the pursuant transactions, are liable to duty under the Duties Act. This financially disadvantages those who voluntarily settle their affairs outside the courts.

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