Page 2029 - Week 06 - Thursday, 26 June 2008

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The amendments to the Government Procurement Act increase the membership of the government procurement board from seven to nine part-time members to facilitate the operation of the board.

The amendment to the Legal Profession Act does two things. First, it revises section 249 (1) to make it clear that if a law practice appoints an external examiner to examine the practice’s trust records the law practice must pay the costs of the examination. If the licensing body, that is, the Law Society, appoints the external examiner, the costs are payable out of the fidelity fund. Second, the amendment also revises section 249 (2) to make it clearer that the subsection applies only to an examination undertaken by an external examiner appointed by the licensing body. To date, no claims for costs of an examination under section 241 (1) to be paid out of the fidelity fund have been made under section 249 (1).

Schedule 2 provides for non-controversial structural amendments to the Legislation Act 2001 initiated by the Parliamentary Counsel’s Office. Structural issues are particularly concerned with making the statute book more coherent and concise and therefore more accessible. Strategies to achieve these objectives include avoiding unnecessary duplication and achieving the maximum degree of standardisation of legislative provisions consistent with policy requirements and operational needs.

The schedule contains an amendment to the dictionary, part 1, definition of territory authority. The definition currently provides that a territory authority is a body established under an act, except for a body declared by regulation not to be a territory authority. The amendment makes clear that, as well as being established under an act, the body must be established for a public purpose. Schedule 3 includes amendments to acts that have been reviewed as part of an ongoing program of updating and improving the language and form of legislation.

The presentation of this bill is a convenient opportunity to mention a couple of significant achievements made under the technical amendments program so far. First, the process of creating dictionaries in all ACT acts and regulations will be completed by the creation of a dictionary for the Adoption Act 1993 under this bill. The presence of comprehensive dictionaries of defined terms in all ACT legislation makes the ACT statute book easier to use for everyone.

Second, the process of making modern administrative and machinery provisions consistent and in line with the Legislation Act, chapter 19, administrative and machinery provisions, is also complete. These provisions include matters such as functions of office holders, appointments and delegations. These two achievements, along with other improvements under the technical amendments program, make our statute book more consistent, coherent and accessible to users.

In addition to the explanatory notes in the bill the parliamentary counsel is also available to provide any further explanation or information that members would like about any of the amendments made by the bill. The bill, while minor and technical in nature, is another important building block in the development of a modern and accessible ACT statute book that is second to none in the country. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

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