Page 400 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 15 February 2005

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Leave granted.

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, I am pleased to present the government’s legislation program for the autumn 2005 sittings. At last year’s election, the people of Canberra gave a very strong endorsement of the government’s record in office and what it offered Canberrans for the future. The government must now set about justifying that faith and fulfilling the commitments it made in the lead-up to the election. A key part of that will be through its legislative program.

The government has wasted no time in getting on with the job, already introducing 11 bills during the December 2004 sittings. During the autumn sittings, the government plans to bring forward a range of legislation covering key policy areas such as the environment, law and order, health, economic management, planning, industrial relations, and urban services. For the benefit of members, I will comment briefly on some of the legislation the government intends to bring forward during the autumn 2005 sitting period.

The 2005-06 appropriation bill will, of course, be central to the government’s legislative agenda to provide appropriation to administrative units for the 2005-06 financial year. The bill is scheduled to be tabled in May, together with the budget papers. The government will also introduce this sitting week a second 2004-05 appropriation bill to provide additional appropriation to administrative units for the 2004-05 financial year. Among other things, this bill will facilitate the funding of election commitments.

The government’s commitment to law and order will continue. The government’s sentencing reform package will be the most substantial review and rewrite of sentencing laws in the territory’s history. The sentencing legislation will improve the effectiveness of sentences and remove the anomalies in current legislation. The package will replace a patchwork of 12 different laws that have developed in a piecemeal manner, with a coherent sentencing regime to provide a clear framework for courts, offenders and the community.

Amendments to the Protection Orders Act 2001 will overhaul the scope of the domestic violence and personal protection order provisions in the ACT. The amendments will ensure that the act reflects the best features of ACT law and improves the quality and uniformity of laws relating to domestic violence.

The government will also bring forward legislation to establish a Human Rights and Service Review Commission. The commission will have statutory functions in relation to discrimination, human rights, health services and disability services. The commission will provide an independent, fair and accessible mechanism for the resolution of discrimination, health services and disability services complaints. The commission will also be able to promote systemic improvements in the delivery of health and disability services, as well as promoting community awareness of human rights and discrimination issues.

The government will introduce amendments to the Legal Aid Act that will assist the Legal Aid Commission to maintain better control over its liabilities and to provide a greater range of services to its clients. As part of its agreement to implement nationally

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