Page 247 - Week 01 - Thursday, 15 December 2016
I am pleased today to present the Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 (No 3). The bill I present today makes changes to nine different acts. These amendments fall broadly into two categories. There are amendments that improve the administration of government, and there are amendments that make positive social and regulatory changes for the ACT community.
This is the third justice and community safety bill this year, and the first introduced in the Ninth Assembly. This series of bills represents the government’s continual improvement of its legislation and regulations. Each of the bills in this series is the product of ideas from the community, the public service and other service providers. This bill provides a regular, efficient avenue for the government to be responsive to those ideas. The administrative improvements in this bill cover information technology, coronial reports and changes to ministerial portfolios.
The amendments to the Information Privacy Act 2014 will allow the ACT government to take full advantage of accessing new information technology, such as cloud computing. They will do this by allowing for companies that have ACT contracts to comply with the privacy laws of their own jurisdictions. The current legislation requires service providers, even those based in other states, to abide by ACT legislation even when they are already subject to other privacy laws. The amendments in this bill will make it easier to contract across borders for IT services.
There is one amendment to the Coroners Act 1997 in this bill. Currently, all reports of the coroner must be tabled. The amendment changes this to require tabling only if there is a public safety recommendation in the report. Additionally, the amendment gives the minister the power to redact personal information contained in a coroner’s report before tabling. These changes help the government balance the public interest in the coronial process with the privacy of individuals and families.
Amendments to the Human Rights Act 2004, the Human Rights Commission Act 2005 and the Terrorism (Extraordinary Temporary Powers) Act 2006 reflect changed portfolio arrangements for human rights. Under previous legislation the Attorney-General was named the minister responsible for functions under these acts. The changes reflect the new division of responsibilities between portfolios following the election.
In addition to improving government process this bill responds to a wide range of community issues. Canberra’s laws for civil unions, protection orders, guardianship matters and juries will be improved.
The amendments to the Civil Unions Act in this bill strengthen the government’s commitment to recognising same-sex relationships. Relationships that are registered overseas or in other states and territories will now be recognised automatically if they meet the criteria for a civil union in the ACT. Currently, the ACT only provides for the recognition of relationships where a regulation names a corresponding law. The approach of automatically recognising overseas and interstate relationships will ensure that the broadest number of ACT residents who enter into one of the growing number of same-sex civil union and civil partnership schemes available around the