Page 3550 - Week 08 - Thursday, 18 August 2011

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MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.21): I am just the nameless person on the paper and I will hand over to any of my colleagues that wish to resume the debate on this issue.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (4.21): This bill makes 255 amendments to 34 different acts and regulations. If these amendments were taken individually they would not warrant an amendment bill in their own right. They are minor and consequential. However, taken as a whole, the small changes add up to a significant piece of work that improves the laws of the ACT by making them more consistent and straightforward. This is in the interests of the community affected by the relevant laws, the government which implements the laws and the Assembly which debates and scrutinises these laws.

The bill contains explanatory notes for each clause which give information on why the amendment is necessary. I will not repeat what has been set out in the bill, in the explanatory statement and in the presentation speech by the attorney, other than to say that the Greens agree that each of the amendments is necessary and is minor and consequential.

In conclusion, the Greens support this bill and the continuing work being done by each ACT government department and the parliamentary counsel’s office to simplify and streamline the ACT statute book.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (4.22): I thank Mr Rattenbury for stepping into the breach while I found the right piece of paper. The Liberal opposition will be supporting this bill, which amends a range of acts and regulations for statute law revision purposes.

So-called SLAB bills usually carry amendments contained within four schedules. Schedule 1 provides for minor, non-controversial amendments initiated by government agencies. In this bill, one act is amended, the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1977. In this bill, two amendments are made and both of them relate to evidentiary statements.

The first deals with evidentiary statements made by police officers requiring a person to provide an oral fluid sample for analysis. Currently, the police officer can state in an evidentiary statement that the person failed to provide a sample. I note that “failure” includes “refusal”. This amendment will enable a police officer to state also that the person was unable to provide a sufficient sample for a test to be conducted.

The second amendment sets out the information that must be provided in an evidentiary statement by a doctor or nurse taking a blood sample from a person who was unable to provide a sufficient sample of oral fluid to police or who failed or refused to provide a sample. This will provide more streamlined evidentiary processes, saving court time and legal costs.

The bill provides that these sections will commence at the later of the commencement of the bill or the commencement of the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Amendment Act 2011, which the Assembly passed in early May this year.

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