Page 60 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 15 February 2011

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Legislative changes will follow up a comprehensive review of the Coroners Act that has been underway since 2003. After a long consultation process involving the Coroner, legal practitioners, departmental officers and members of the community, a number of short but very significant amendments will be proposed to the Coroners Act to clarify the purpose of coronial proceedings and improve the operation of the coronial system.

Residential Tenancies legislation is to be enhanced. In 2006 the Ministerial Council on Consumer Affairs agreed to the development of model uniform legislation regulating the use of residential tenancy databases. Model legislation has been developed and approved by state and territory ministers.

Existing protections under the ACT Residential Tenancies Act 1997 regarding residential tenancy databases will be strengthened through the adoption of this model legislation. The amendments will impose new requirements and obligations on lessors and database operators to afford greater protections to tenants. Another separate bill will simplify and clarify unit title law in the ACT. It follows feedback received from the 12-month operational review of amendments made to unit title legislation in 2008. Government conducted the review, calling on submissions from the community with a view to ensuring that the legislation was operating effectively.

To improve terrorism protection measures, six amendments are to be made to the Terrorism (Extraordinary Temporary Powers) Act 2006. These amendments were identified by a review of the act which was tabled in the Assembly on 16 November 2010. The bill proposes to extend the operation of the Terrorism Act to 2016 and requires that a further review of the act be undertaken. The necessity for the continuation of the Terrorism Act is based on terrorism assessments conducted by the commonwealth government, ASIO and the reviews of similar state and territory legislative schemes conducted across Australian jurisdictions.

It will also propose four technical amendments to assist with the operation of the act. These amendments include providing police with additional care considerations if a child is being released from preventative detention, clarifying the information obligations of police under section 78, and an amendment to specifically state that a person must be immediately released from preventative detention if the Supreme Court has set aside the preventative detention order.

Some amendments are to be proposed for the security industry that continues the government’s commitment to implementing reforms to the security industry agreed by COAG in July 2008. The reforms to be implemented in this tranche will align the ACT with other jurisdictions in regards to training and probity requirements for security licensees.

Lastly, the government will introduce new legislation to improve the governance of gaming machine clubs and for traffic safety. The Gaming Machine Amendment Bill will improve the governance of clubs by increasing the accountability and transparency of operations. Proposed changes will increase the regulatory powers of the Gambling and Racing Commission over associated organisations that are approved to appoint directors to a club and will ensure that voting members elect a minimum proportion of club directors.

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