Page 2216 - Week 07 - Thursday, 23 June 2005

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case, the defence has been removed. However, reasonable excuse has been retained for some offences in the bill because the range of possible excuses was too wide to adequately formulate specific defences for the variety of circumstances that can arise.

Harmonising the ACT statue book is an important part of implementing the Criminal Code 2002. It is a review conducted act by act, regulation by regulation. The harmonisation project is an undertaking of enormous scope and there are many more acts and regulations to reviewed and rewritten. It is a challenge this government has been prepared to undertake to bring the criminal law into the 21st century. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

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

Land (Planning and Environment) Amendment Bill 2005

Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (10.49): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am pleased to introduce the Land (Planning and Environment) Amendment Bill 2000. The purpose of this amendment is to provide for a statutory definition of “concessional lease” as a critical first step to clarifying and simplifying the administration of concessional leases. Following a review of the concessional lease system, which included significant public consultation in 2004, reforms to improve the system have been recommended, including the formalisation of the definition and appropriate exclusions to it.

A definition for “concessional lease” does not currently appear in the Land Act. The term does appear in the Land (Planning and Environment) Regulations 1992 and is defined, but only for the purpose of calculating the change of use charge when a concessional lease is varied. Disallowable Instrument DI2003-193 also describes a particular class of lease, restricted in their dealings by section 167 of the Land Act. While they regulate different aspects of lease administration, both the regulations and the disallowable instrument draw on the concept of a lease “granted for less than market value”. In the absence of an overarching statutory definition, the concept of “granted for less than market value” and, more specifically, the definition under the regulations has been extrapolated into all areas of lease administration.

This bill will facilitate greater transparency, consistency and certainty by providing an overarching definition and a fundamental framework upon which other reforms to the concessional lease system can build. Importantly, it will do so without compromising future reforms to the system. To this end a full government response to the recommendations of the concessional lease review will be forthcoming.

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