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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (1 April) . . Page.. 1126 ..

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for the Environment) (11.35): I move amendment No 2 circulated in my name [see schedule 2 at page 1197].

Mr Speaker, amendment No. 2 amends clause 46 of the bill by limiting the amount of money that the tribunal can order a person who is the subject of disciplinary proceedings to pay. Mr Stefaniak in his speech on the bill in principle went to this issue. As Mr Stefaniak says, this issue was raised by his committee, and once again the government thanks the Scrutiny of Bills Committee for its comments, which it is responding to through this amendment. The amendment limits the amount to $1,000 for an individual and $5,000 for a company. This amendment is, as I say, a direct result of the comments from the Scrutiny of Bills Committee.

The amendment also brings the powers of the tribunal into line with the powers of the Agents Board, the Liquor Board and the Registrar of Motor Vehicle Dealers. The power to order a person to pay an amount to the territory or someone else is invaluable as it can be used to protect consumers and to pay compensation to consumers. There is also a deterrent to the industry and the individual licensee. The power assists in ensuring compliance with tribunal decisions and in ensuring that the agents and securities industries maintain high standards.

In addition, the power can be used when it is not appropriate to suspend a licence due to the possible implications for employees and consumers. The power in clause 46 of the bill includes many of the safeguards that have been considered in the Australian Law Reform Commission discussion paper on civil and administrative penalties in Australian federal regulation-such as evidence from a hearing is not admissible in criminal proceedings against a licensee; and the privilege against self-incrimination applies. In addition, the decisions of the tribunal under clause 46 are subject to review by the Supreme Court.

As I say, the government is more than happy to accept the recommendations of the Scrutiny of Bills Committee in relation to this. We thank the committee for those comments and respond through this amendment to the bill.

MR STEFANIAK (11.37): The opposition will be supporting the government's amendment. As the Attorney said, he has responded to the Scrutiny of Bills Committee's comments in relation to this. We had a concern-and I share it-that, as the bill was originally drafted, 46 (1) (a) was open-ended. It orders the person to pay an amount to the territory or someone else, and elsewhere in the bill there is no definition as to exactly what the maximum amount payable would be. Whilst that particular phrase is not objectionable in itself, there would need to be something cross-referenced in the bill as to exactly what the amount was. Accordingly, the government's amendment hits the spot.

I should indicate that this is the same power that is contained in the Agents Act, the Liquor Act, and other legislation relating to tribunals. Bodies under these acts have the power to impose that type of penalty. It is an appropriate penalty and the opposition supports it.

Amendment agreed to.

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