Page 4742 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 31 October 2017
deal with multiple complaints of unsatisfactory professional conduct against a practitioner summarily.
The amendments to the Road Transport (General) Act 1999 allow for proceedings against a person to be discontinued where the person has already paid the infringement notice penalty. These amendments will help reduce unnecessary interaction between individuals and the court and reduce the burden on the courts.
The JACS bill also removes the requirement that deaths under anaesthetic automatically go to a hearing before the coroner. This amendment to the Coroners Act 1997 does not affect the requirement to hold an inquest where a person dies and the death appears to be completely or partly attributable to an anaesthetic. Instead it will mean that the decision to hold an inquest where an anaesthetic is involved is now discretionary.
The JACS bill also makes a number of amendments to improve the operation of the new Freedom of Information Act 2016 prior to its commencement on 1 January 2018. I note and thank Mr Hanson for his observation that each of the amendments is a reasonable change. One of these amendments is to introduce a presumption that it is against the public interest to disclose information in the possession of the ACT Ombudsman relating to the Ombudsman’s role under the reportable conduct scheme. The reportable conduct scheme was introduced by the government to help to detect abuse and misconduct and protect children from them. This amendment will help to ensure that reportable conduct scheme matters are treated consistently with other complaints handled by the Ombudsman, particularly as the subject matter of such complaints is likely to be particularly sensitive. Another amendment to the act will extend the time frame for agencies who receive an FOI application to provide an acknowledgement of receipt to the applicant.
The JACS bill also makes amendments to the Liquor Act 2010 to add a member to the Liquor Advisory Board. Recognising the vibrancy of Canberra’s night life and the risks of antisocial behaviour that occur late at night and early in the morning, these amendments add a member to the board to represent the night-time economy. The amendments also remove individual names of organisations from a list of members of the Liquor Advisory Board and replace them with representatives of on-licensees and a representative of club licensees.
Notwithstanding the negativity and cynicism that seem to be espoused again across the chamber, these changes are strictly a matter of good governance. Rather than naming organisations in the legislation to be appointed, this bill will introduce descriptions for interests within the industry that must be represented. Appointments of a peak body or other organisation will occur on the basis of merit in representing those interests. No-one will be removed from the board as a result of these amendments, and the government is absolutely not reconsidering its membership or the merits of appointing the current representatives.
The JACS bill program is also an opportunity to make minor technical amendments to ensure the continuous improvement of the operation of our legislation. It is a good opportunity to improve regulation in the ACT by bringing it, where appropriate, in