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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4364 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

The amendments to the Fair Trading (Consumer Affairs) Act allow the Commissioner for Fair Trading to adopt, by disallowable instrument, product safety orders made by the Commonwealth minister. There are currently a substantial number of product safety orders made by the Commonwealth minister that cannot be enforced by the territory.

The Building Act 1972 and regulations require the Fire Commissioner to be consulted regarding fire protection for any building works, and for the Fire Commissioner to give written evidence that the building works meets the building code's requirements regarding fire protection. However, the Fire Brigade Act 1958 and regulations did not provide a power for the Fire Commissioner to assess building works for compliance, or require the Fire Commissioner to provide written evidence of the compliance. The Fire Brigade Act 1958 has been amended to correct this inconsistency.

A number of amendments were made to the Juries Act 1967. Currently, only persons who have attained the age of 60 years can claim exemption, whereas all other categories are automatically exempt. The first amendment to the Juries Act 1967 is the alteration of the status for ministers of religion, editors of newspapers, household officers and staff of the Governor-General, and education professionals. Persons in these categories are no longer automatically exempt but may claim exemption from jury service.

The Juries Act has also been amended to allow two new categories of persons to be able to claim exemption. The first category is registered and enrolled nurses, recognising the important work of that profession. The second category is members of religious groups the beliefs of which are inconsistent with jury service, and this acknowledges that it is undesirable to compel people to act contrary to any beliefs they may hold.

The amendments to the Law Officer Act 1992 clarify that the functions of the Attorney-General under the act do not prevent any other person authorised by the territory, or by a law of the territory, from instituting or conducting litigation of a type referred to in section 4 of the Law Officer Act.

The amendments to the Legal Practitioners Act 1970 allow trust moneys to be banked as soon as practicable within five banking days. The amendment overcomes inadvertent breaches of the current rule requiring payment within one day, and will end a heavy burden on suburban practices created by the current time frame. The amendment also provides that money may be paid out of a trust account by electronic funds transfer.

A recent case in the AAT highlighted a deficiency with the definition of "bar-room"in the Liquor Act 1975. The practice was for a bar-room to be identified on an attached plan, due to the difficulty in describing the exact floor area of the bar within the overall plan of the licensed premises. It was held that this did not comply with the act.

Another failing of the act has been that bar-room or rooms of a premises were determined by the applicant for a licence, and the licence holders altering their premises. As the act contains offences to which the bar-room area is pivotal, this has been found to be inappropriate. The amendments change the act so that areas of a premises to be regarded as a bar-room are now determined by a relevant decision-maker, and the definition of "bar-room"no longer needs to be stated within the licence.

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