Page 3428 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 21 September 2005

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A six-year limitation period would expire on 29 January 2009 and subsection (3) of my bill indicates that section 16C would expire on 29 January 2009 and then be deleted from the act. Subsection (4) makes clear that the effect of section 16C would not be affected by the repeal of the law in January 2010. If someone took an action in 2008, within this time frame, and some other person came along in 2011 and said that there was no such law on the statute book, the action would still be valid because proposed section 16C would still have effect because of that action having been taken in the proper period stipulated. Subsections (3) and (4) are points that the drafters thought important to put in. Subsection (3) effectively is a sunset clause for this bill. The last section is a drafting style currently used by parliamentary counsel to deal with laws when there are sunset clauses, as there is in this one.

Put simply, this bill would extend to bushfire victims the ability to have up to six years to make claims for personal injuries and property damage, noting that they already do have property damage. It would enable them to take any action they wished to take as a result of any matters arising from the bushfire coronial inquest and it would ensure that their rights to take any necessary action were protected. It is a fair deal. There are no guarantees that lots of people will avail themselves of the opportunity to take such action, given that already a number have taken action within the present three-year limitation period, but the bill does give people some options, something that bushfire victims are keen to see happen.

This bill does not affect any other class of victims. It simply applies to bushfire victims. It is the result of the lengthy process for the coronial inquiry, which is not finished and we have no idea when it really will finish. The rapidly approaching expiry of the time limit for personal injury claims demands that we protect the rights of bushfire victims by passing this bill. I think that it is the very least the government can do to see that the rights of all citizens affected by the bushfires are adequately protected by our laws and that their rights are fully recognised. I commend my bill to the Assembly.

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

Civic Development Authority Bill 2005

Mr Seselja, pursuant to notice, presented the bill.

Title read by Clerk.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (10.44): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, in the last few months, future plans for the development of City Hill and the city as a whole have been the subject of significant discussion. There has been discussion about the need for population growth and revitalisation of the city. Canberra has often been accused of being boring. There has been criticism that it lacks soul, that nothing happens on weekends or that after 5 pm everyone goes home to the suburbs. It has been a longstanding joke amongst people interstate that they should take a book when visiting Canberra so as to have something to do.

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