Page 361 - Week 02 - Tuesday, 14 February 2017

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Statute Law Amendment Bill 2016

Debate resumed from 15 December 2016, on motion by Mr Ramsay:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (11.50): The Canberra Liberals will be supporting this bill. That includes the late amendment, which I will talk to at the end of this speech. As has been noted elsewhere, statute law amendment bills are intended for minor and technical amendments, not for changes in policy or the purpose of a head law. Those changes should be dealt with in stand-alone bills. This is particularly important if there are amendments that are passed without reference to the scrutiny of bills committee. This is a vital part of ensuring that both the purpose of SLAB bills is maintained and that we avoid unintended consequences.

We have been through this bill. For the most part it meets those purposes. I thank the Attorney-General’s office for their briefings on this bill. At that meeting we discussed the issue of making sure that we did not avoid scrutiny or have late notice amendments where this was possible. I look forward to making sure that happens. Certainly, the indication from the Attorney-General’s staff is that they will endeavour to do that.

This SLAB is broken into three schedules: minor amendments, structural amendments and technical amendments. I will go through each in turn, starting with the minor amendments. The Annual Reports (Government Agencies) Act 2004 is amended to provide that territory instrumentalities and certain other bodies must prepare annual reports in the same way as other agencies. This was an unforeseen outcome from a consequential amendment to the Public Sector Management Amendment Act 2016. We are well aware of the importance of reporting requirements and support the amendment.

The Financial Management Act 1996 is amended in schedule 1 to replace references to “generally accepted accounting principles” with “accounting standards”. That is a clear example of updating legislation. We support that.

Amendments are made to the Lifetime Care and Support (Catastrophic Injuries) Act 2014 to include the Nominal Defendant in the list of entities with whom the commissioner may exchange information about the treatment and care needs of a person utilising the act.

The Public Sector Management Act 1994 is amended to allow a returning LAMS officer to ask for a determination of the officer’s classification and salary on returning to the public service. Given how long some staff can serve in this Assembly, this is an amendment that we support.

Turning now to the structural amendments, schedule 2 makes several changes. For example, it amends legislation to omit redundant definitions. Similarly, the dictionary is also amended by omitting the definition of “CrimTrac” and inserting a new

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