Page 1312 - Week 04 - Thursday, 30 March 2017

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

the Ninth Assembly. It is the product of ideas from legal professionals, service providers, the public service and the broader community.

This bill is a demonstration of how the government maintains a program of continual improvement. Experience with different regulatory schemes and legislation over time naturally yields opportunities for improvement. Efficiencies, legislative fixes to address gaps or unintended consequences and overall inclusion of moderate suggestions mean that our statute book stays healthy.

The program of JACS bills requires government to undertake routine check-ups of its legislation and regulations. These bills are an opportunity to introduce the improvements and fixes we identify over time in an efficient manner. Today’s bill has changes that protect important legal rights, that improve the operation of legislation in relation to a number of regulatory systems and that recognise the government’s ongoing work to implement new and improved systems.

A key set of amendments in this bill recognise the rights of victims of child sex abuse to seek compensation. The bill amends the Limitation Act and the Civil Law (Wrongs) Act 2002 to remove limitation periods for personal injury claims resulting from child sex abuse. These amendments build on reforms introduced last year to remove limitation periods for child sex abuse claims in institutional contexts.

This bill will mean that all lawsuits seeking compensation for abuse, whether against an institution or an individual, will be treated equally. These changes recognise the length of time that it can take for survivors of child sex abuse to disclose abuse and remove barriers to justice for these people, no matter the context of the abuse.

Community assistance for those people who are problem gamblers will also receive a boost from this legislation. Amendments to the Gaming Machine Act 2004 increase the problem gambling assistance fund levy from 0.6 per cent to 0.75 per cent of gross gaming machine revenue. This fund supports projects and services such as the ACT Gambling Counselling and Support Service. The increase will help target problem gambling and alleviate the impact it has on our community.

This change, which is included in the parliamentary agreement for the Ninth Assembly, is part of the government’s harm minimisation approach to gaming. It means that those who operate gaming machines in the territory pay a greater share of revenue from those machines to help address problem gambling.

This bill also contains a number of amendments to improve regulation and legislation more broadly. The diverse groups who will benefit include property owners with shared fences, lawyers who work in house for a corporation and people who apply for legal aid.

There is an amendment in this bill to help with shared fences. Robert Frost raised the question of whether good fences make good neighbours, but it is the case that bad fences sometimes make litigants out of neighbours. Because neighbours will not always be able to agree on the condition of their fences, we have legislation that provides a framework for dispute resolution. The amendments to the Common

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video