Page 5282 - Week 14 - Thursday, 19 November 2009

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The establishment of ACAT has been a major drafting and republication exercise for Parliamentary Counsel. I understand that the process required amendment to and republication of almost all of the legislation on the ACT statute books. The parliamentary counsel’s office is to be commended for the exemplary job it has done on this very significant project.

The amendments contained in the bill I present today are substantive re-enactments of modifications contained in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Transitional Provisions) Regulation 2009. The modifications contained in the regulation temporarily modified the operation of the law relating to the ACAT. The modifications will expire on 2 February 2010, 12 months after the ACAT commenced operation. The government is now seeking to make these minor modifications permanent through the bill that I am presenting today.

The amendments deal with a number of matters which have been raised during the transition to the new tribunal. An amendment to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2008 includes a new section providing that ACT government agencies which do not pay a fee up-front for the commencement of proceedings in the ACAT shall pay the fee into the ACAT trust account.

Amendments to the Legal Profession Act 2006 reinsert a provision dealing with the naming of lawyers prior to the expiry of the appeal period for occupational discipline matters.

The Magistrates Court Act 1930 is amended to provide that, where a person represented another person in proceedings before the ACAT, that person may continue to represent the other person in any enforcement proceedings before the Magistrates Court.

Finally, the Utilities Act 2000 will be amended by inserting a provision dealing with ACAT into the annual licence fee determination provision.

In addition to the ACAT amendments contained in this bill, there are a range of amendments to effect the transfer of regulation of trustee companies to the commonwealth. Following a decision by COAG, the Corporations Legislation Amendment (Financial Services Modernisation) Bill 2009 of the commonwealth will transfer the regulation of trustee companies from the states and territories to the commonwealth. It will insert a new chapter 5D into the Corporations Act 2001 of the commonwealth to effect this transfer.

The commonwealth changes will harmonise the regulation of trustee companies. This will reduce the regulatory burden on these companies while creating a national market for trustee services. The new chapter will also protect consumers by establishing a national consumer protection and disclosure regime under the Corporations Act and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 of the commonwealth.

The amendments will authorise certain corporations to operate as trustee companies and require them to hold an Australian financial services licence. They will deem

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