Page 1483 - Week 04 - Thursday, 25 March 2010

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Another key feature of this bill is the inclusion of reparation orders in the enforcement scheme. Presently, if an offender fails to pay compensation to a victim in accordance with a reparation order, the victim is forced to pursue a civil action against the offender. This can be an expensive and protracted process and is rarely pursued by the victim. By including reparation orders in the new scheme the government is making it easier for victims of crime to recover compensation and ensuring that offenders are not evading an obligation of their punishment.

The government is committed to ensuring human rights are upheld and not unnecessarily limited. Concerns have been raised about the current fine enforcement scheme whereby imprisonment is basically the only option for a person who defaults on paying a fine. This is why the new scheme has been designed in a way that provides numerous options that can be pursued instead of imprisonment.

It must be said though that people who have had a fine imposed on them by a court have been found guilty of an offence and, in accordance to the principles of the criminal law, need to be held accountable. This is why the new scheme retains imprisonment as an option. However, it will only be considered as an absolute last resort when all other options have been exhausted.

Mr Speaker, the fine enforcement scheme contained in this bill is another addition to the government’s work on law reform. It modernises the enforcement of court-imposed fines and brings the ACT in line with other jurisdictions. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mrs Dunne) adjourned to the next sitting.

Statute Law Amendment Bill 2010

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—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.13): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Statute Law Amendment Bill 2010 makes statute law revision amendments to ACT legislation under guidelines for the technical amendments program approved by the government. The program provides for amendments that are minor or technical and non-controversial. They are generally insufficiently important to justify the presentation of separate legislation in each case and may be inappropriate to make as editorial amendments in the process of republishing legislation under the Legislation Act 2001. The program is implemented by presenting a statute law amendment bill such as this in each sitting of the Assembly and including further technical amendments in other amending legislation where appropriate.

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