Page 5259 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 15 November 2011

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On Thursday the Assembly will debate the second statute law amendment bill for 2011, which introduced a definition in the Legislation Act 2001 for CrimTrac. CrimTrac is used for investigative purposes in a number of applications, and the SLAB bill amends a number of laws to provide appropriate signpost definitions. This bill, too, as well as for consistency across the statute book, introduces the signpost definition in a number of laws administered by the Justice and Community Safety Directorate. These are as follows: the Agents Act 2003, the Fair Trading (Motor Vehicle Repair Industry) Act 2010, the Liquor Act 2010, the Pawnbrokers Act 1902, the Prostitution Act 1992, the Sale of Motor Vehicles Act 1977 and the Second-Hand Dealers Act 1906.

The bill also contains a range of more substantive but no more controversial amendments. The Crimes (Sentence Administration) Act 2005 is amended to remove the requirement for the director-general to give notice to a credit reporting agency of the details of a fine defaulter. This is in response to the view of the office of the commonwealth Privacy Commissioner that a fine probably is not a loan within the meaning of the Privacy Act. Thus, it probably is a breach of privacy to report fine defaulters to a credit reporting agency. This amendment deals with that anomaly.

The Fair Trading (Australian Consumer Law) Act 1992 is amended by this bill to make it clear that the Fair Trading Commissioner has a broad power of investigation. It inserts a provision that enables the commissioner to investigate compliance with fair trading legislation, which can be done by a delegated investigator. I think it is important that the Fair Trading Commissioner has this power of investigation. There is no doubt that in many cases when it comes to breaches of fair trading legislation there is a need for broad-ranging investigative powers by the commissioner. I think it is important that this bill clarifies that position and enables the Fair Trading Commissioner to do his or her job.

Finally, the Road Transport (General) Act 1999 is amended as a result of the new administrative arrangements. Both JACS and TAMS now have responsibility for certain elements of road transport regulation. This amendment makes it clear that the relevant director-general can exercise their functions according to the laws falling into their administrative responsibilities. There is a consequential amendment to the dictionary note to the definition of “road transport authority” in the Legislation Act 2001.

These amendments make our statute book clearer and respond to unintended anomalies that have arisen in the course of the administration of our laws. I am pleased that these amendments are minor and non-controversial in nature and do not go to matters of significant policy. Before I close, it is worth saying that that has not always been the case from this government in the way that it has treated omnibus bills. Omnibus bills are not a vehicle to sneak through policy. They are not a vehicle to make controversial changes. They are not a vehicle to make substantial changes that deserve to be debated independently and debated in some detail.

Whilst the opposition looks at omnibus bills very closely—and in the past we have found things that were controversial—we are really taking the government on trust

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