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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4083 ..

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Statute Law Amendment Bill 2002 (No 2)

Debate resumed from 14 November 2002, on motion by Mr Stanhope:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR STEFANIAK (12.01): The opposition will be supporting this bill. It is a bill that makes some technical and minor amendments that are not controversial. Indeed, several of them are important, and help to simplify the law and clarify some situations that shouldn't have been allowed to develop.

I am glad we have had the opportunity to avoid dealing with this bill in the November sittings, to give other people two weeks to look at it. I think it is especially important that groups such as the Law Society and the Bar Association have a chance to look at pieces of legislation such as this, and they have done that now.

I have had a good look through it, too. It is always a temptation for people to slip something in there, and actually use a procedural bill like this to take out some piece of legislation. However, that does not appear to have happened, which is a good thing. What it does do is what it says it will do. It does a number of things that are quite important, although of a minor nature.

First, schedule 1 does contain some amendments which have been proposed by government agencies. It makes some sensible amendments. The Intoxicated Persons (Care and Protection) Act is amended. The new shelter has opening hours from 8 pm to 10 am and the law, as it existed, gave people only 12 hours to sober up there before they were discharged. By extending that to 15 hours, this bill now takes into account the fact that that shelter will be open from 8 pm to 10 am and it will enable people to be discharged at 10 am if need be. I think that is a sensible move.

There are some other amendments of a minor nature, for example, an amendment to the Workers Compensation Act that ensures that work experience students are not taken to be workers. That is a small but sensible amendment. Similarly, the Nature Conservation Act has been amended to enable a conservator to use the one set of procedures to close nature parks and special purpose reserves in emergencies such as bushfires. After the dreadful bushfires of last year, and the terrible bushfires we are seeing interstate now, that is a sensible provision.

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