Page 4567 - Week 14 - Thursday, 24 November 2005

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Thursday, 24 November 2005

MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Civil Law (Property) Bill 2005

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

Title read by Clerk.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs) (10.32): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The government has been committed for some time to simplifying ACT property law. The Civil Law (Property) Bill 2005 is the culmination of a 10-year program to consolidate the law of property in the ACT.

Members of the Assembly will recall that the government tabled this bill as an exposure draft bill on 23 June 2005, inviting the community and interested parties to comment on the proposal to create a single law that consolidates the provisions of the existing law of property. As no formal submissions were received, I now present the Civil Law (Property) Bill to the Assembly.

Members of the Assembly will also remember that in the first session of parliament the government introduced legislation that consolidated that part of the civil law that dealt with wrongs and in doing so rewrote almost the entirety of ACT law in that area. Calls to undertake a similar reform program in property law first were initiated in 1976, when the Blackburn commission reported to the commonwealth Attorney-General about the need to reform ACT conveyancing law. The commission stressed the need for a fundamental review of the law relating to real and personal property in the ACT. It saw the theoretical structure of property law as it stands, that is, based on the view that land is primarily the economic basis of the hereditary family group, as being irrelevant to the needs of the Australian community, who view land primarily as a commodity.

The commission was also of the view that fundamental review was necessitated by a radical change in patterns of land use, caused particularly by the growth of urbanisation. According to the commission, this change led to an increase in conflicts between different land uses; it considers that more careful planning of use and protection of land resources needs to be considered as part of the law dealing with property. Of considerable importance, the commission pointed out that the law relating to property in the ACT cannot be found in a complete conveyancing act or property act. In the ACT the law relating to conveyancing can be found in the common law; in imperial acts; the Conveyancing and Law Property Act 1898 of New South Wales and a variety of other New South Wales acts which apply in the ACT; some sections of the New South Wales

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