Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 12 Hansard (14 November) . . Page.. 3631 ..
Statute Law Amendment Bill 2002 (No 2)
Mr Stanhope, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.
Title read by Clerk
MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for Women) (12.10): I move:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
Mr Speaker, this bill makes statute law revision amendments to ACT legislation under revised guidelines for the technical amendments program approved by the government. The bill makes amendments that are minor or technical and non-controversial. They are insufficiently important to justify the presentation of separate legislation in each case and are inappropriate to make as editorial amendments in the process of republishing legislation under the Legislation Act 2001.
However, the bill serves the important purpose of improving the overall quality of the ACT statute book so that our laws are kept up-to-date and are easier to find, read and understand. A well maintained statute book significantly enhances access to ACT legislation and is a very practical measure to give effect to the principle that members of the community have a right to know the laws that they are required to uphold and obey.
The enhancement of the ACT statute book through the technical amendments program is also a process of modernisation. For example, laws need to be kept up-to-date to reflect ongoing technological and societal change. Also, as the ACT statute book has been created from various jurisdictional sources over a long period, it reflects the various drafting practices, language usage, printing formats and styles throughout the years. It is important to maintain a minimum level of consistency in presentation and cohesion 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. It amends the Intoxicated Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1994 by extending the hours for which facilities can be opened to allow for a new night shelter facility that is due to open next year. The Smoke-free Areas (Enclosed Public Places) Act 1994 is amended to allow for variation of exemptions and to clarify the version of an Australian standard adopted by the act. The Workers Compensation Act 1951 is amended to clarify that work experience students are not considered to be workers and make other minor changes for clarification and consistency.
The Nature Conservation Act 1980 is amended to enable the conservator to use one set of procedures to close nature and special purpose reserves in emergencies such as bushfires. An amendment to the Commissioner for the Environment Act 1993 is also included to validate the commissioner's appointment and actions for a period. This amendment is necessary because the instrument reappointing the commissioner last December was inadvertently not correctly notified or presented to the Assembly.