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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 5209 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Earlier this year, the government agreed to an Auditor-General report recommendation to amend some provisions in the annual reports legislation. The recommendation was to replace existing presentation and tabling requirements with a single tabling requirement. This change provides a clear date by which reports must be provided to the Legislative Assembly.

Under the 1995 act, financial year reports must be presented to ministers by 8 September and then tabled within six sitting days. While the practice is to table reports in the late September sitting week each year, provision of the reports to members and the public depends on sitting timetables rather than taking place on a set date. This bill implements the Auditor-General's suggestion that reports should be presented to the Assembly within three months of the end of the reporting period. As the 1995 act was structured around the presentation and tabling requirements, a change to these arrangements provided the opportunity to redraft the act consistent with current drafting practice.

In short, the bill replaces current presentation and tabling requirements with a single requirement that ministers table annual reports in the Assembly within three months of the end of the reporting period; permits the Chief Minister to declare a date before the tabling date by which reports must be presented to ministers; provides for provision of reports when the Assembly does not sit during the last week of the three-month period following the reporting period; resolves an ambiguity about whether the annual reporting legislation applies to annual reports of the Auditor-General; embeds human rights reporting identified in the Human Rights Bill which will operate on the commencement of human rights legislation; and redrafts other provisions in the existing act in a way that retains the impact of the act but in a more accessible style.

Some other minor changes are made. For example, the 1995 act provides for ministerial directions that set the form and content of annual reports. These have been called annual report directions since implementation of the 1995 act and the bill uses this term directly in clause 8. A new act is provided rather than a series of amendments to the 1995 act. This provides a clearer piece of legislation as well as implementing the Auditor-General's recommendations. A number of other laws refer to the annual reports legislation. A further consequential amendments bill will replace references to the 1995 act. The consequential amendments bill will be introduced early in the 2004 sittings and in advance of debate on the substantive bill. I commend this bill to the Assembly.

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

Bail Amendment Bill 2003

Mr Stanhope, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by clerk.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs) (10.38): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

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