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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 5 May 2015) . . Page.. 1294 ..

amendment reinforces existing provisions that encourage parties to pursue arbitration rather than litigation in the first instance and closes a loophole which would otherwise allow such procedures to be circumvented.

We have discussed during this debate the changes to the Coroners Act in relation to the privilege against self-incrimination for witnesses at inquests or inquiries, a privilege which is available to witnesses in other court matters under the Evidence Act. This is an important protection that will not only protect the right of witnesses not to incriminate themselves but will improve the integrity of the coronial process.

The amendment to the Court Procedures Act relates to the existing requirement under section 45 that court security officers must comply with any written policy of the Chief Justice or Chief Magistrate when conducting a search of a person in the Supreme Court and the Magistrates Court. This bill extends that requirement to any policy written by the General President of the ACAT. This will improve the protection of both staff and visitors to the tribunal.

The bill also contains two sets of amendments relating to the work of the Public Trustee. The first amends the Guardianship and Management of Property Act to require the Public Trustee to provide annual statements of account for a protected person. The amendment applies where the Civil and Administrative Tribunal has appointed the Public Trustee to act as a manager on behalf of that protected person. This new requirement will increase transparency as well as militate against a potential misuse of trust fund moneys.

The second relates to the work of the Public Trustee in relation to the Public Trustee Act 1985. Section 25A details what the Public Trustee may do with funds or property held on trust for a person with a disability. At the moment this section is not sufficiently wide to allow the Supreme Court to authorise the Public Trustee to invest in superannuation in the client’s name or to administer and protect those funds on the client’s behalf. This removes an opportunity from clients of the Public Trustee. Accordingly, the bill amends section 25A to allow the court to direct the Public Trustee to manage a person’s superannuation fund.

To improve clarity in relation to the provision of legal services, the bill relocates a section in the Legal Profession Act 2006 which deals with cost disclosure obligations to the division in the act dealing with those obligations.

Finally, the bill amends the Utilities Act to clarify that utility providers must comply with credit reporting protections under the Privacy Act and the Credit Code, as well as meeting their obligations under the Australian privacy principles. These amendments include a review mechanism that allows complaints to be made to the ACAT under these provisions. This amendment will improve transparency and best practice in complaints handling about utilities, as well as improving the protection of personal information acquired by utility providers.

In summary, this bill involves the continuous improvement of the territory’s legislative framework by ensuring transparency and integrity of process, enhancing protections and maintaining the integrity of the statute book. I thank members for their support of the bill and commend it to the Assembly.

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