Page 2203 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 4 June 2013
These amendments are all minor practical amendments that I am happy to support.
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Health and Minister for Higher Education) (10.40): Again, acting on behalf of the Attorney-General this morning, I thank other members for their contributions to the debate.
The JACS bill that we are debating today will improve the operation of laws administered by the Justice and Community Safety Directorate. The amendments in the bill will not make significant policy changes but do address targeted issues that have been identified by operational areas. The relevant provisions have been considered and amended to ensure that our laws are successfully meeting their intended aims and to improve efficiency in the administration of law.
The acts that will be amended in this bill are the Coroners Act 1997, the Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act 2000 and the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1977.
The amendment to the Coroners Act improves the process for tabling of the Chief Coroner’s annual report by removing unnecessary duplication. The provisions that determine how and when an annual report must be provided are contained in the Annual Reports (Government Agencies) Act 2004. By also including these provisions in the Coroners Act, there is a potential for confusion. The duplicated provisions will be removed from the Coroners Act as they are unnecessary. This will simplify the existing section 102, which provides for the required content of the Chief Coroner’s annual reports and will ensure operational efficiency is maintained. Providing for the Chief Coroner’s annual report to be included in the Justice and Community Safety Directorate annual report rather than requiring it to be tabled as a separate report will streamline the reporting process and reduce the resources invested for publication.
To achieve this, attachment 1 to the Annual Reports (Government Agencies) Notice 2012 (No 1) under the Annual Reports (Government Agencies) Act 2004 will be amended separately to subsume the Chief Coroner’s report within the Justice and Community Safety Directorate’s annual report. This approach is already in place for a number of other public authorities, such as the Public Trustee, the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal and the Public Advocate of the ACT. As this amendment demonstrates, the government is committed to pursuing measures that will streamline administrative processes and focus on efficient use of time and resources in the carrying out of government functions.
An amendment to the Crimes (Forensic Procedures) Act 2000 is also focused on achieving efficiency. Section 37(1)(b) currently provides that a magistrate may issue a warrant to secure the presence of a suspect at the hearing of an application for an order in relation to a forensic procedure. Under this provision the warrant requires that the suspect be brought before the issuing magistrate. In practice, it is not necessary for the suspect to be brought before the issuing magistrate, as often the suspect will be brought before the A-list magistrate for the hearing of the application.