Waverley Update – Recent Legislation Summary

June 6th, 2012 posted by

As the Victorian Parliament approaches mid year, please find a summary of Bills that have recently been introduced to the Parliament by the Coalition Government. Detailed information on each Bill, including Ministerial discussion, can be found at http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/static/www.legislation.vic.gov.au-bills.html

Summary of Bills that have recently been introduced to the Parliament by the Coalition Government

Health (Commonwealth State Funding Arrangements)Bill

The purpose of the bill is to implement the funding arrangements set out in the national health reform agreement between the Commonwealth and the states and territories that was agreed to by the Council of Australian Governments on 2 August 2011. The bill establishes the office of the administrator of the national health funding pool, a state pool account and a state managed fund. Local Government (Brimbank City Council) Amendment BillThe purpose of the bill is to extend the period of administration at Brimbank City Council, in order to complete the restoration of good governance to that municipality.

Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill

The bill amends the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 to clarify the consequences of a third successive breach of aduty provision. In particular, the bill clarifies that a person who has issued two previous breach of duty notices has the capacity to issue anotice to vacate or a notice of intention to vacate (as the case may be) on the instance of a third breach of the same duty provision. The bill also makes amendments to improve the administration and repayment of bonds, including amendments to improve the payment and payment out of bond loans provided by the Director of Housing on behalf of private tenants.

Working with Children Amendment Bill

The Bill strengthens the regime relating to Working with Children checks by strengthening the tests that must be satisfied before an assessment notice is given, making murder a category 1 offence, preventing a person working with children while his or her applicationis being determined if the application is a category 1 or 2 application, and making other consequential amendments to other legislation.

Education Legislation Amendment (VET Sector, Universities and Other Matters) Bill

This Bill amends the Principal Act in several ways. These are: Transfer of certain Victorian Skills Commission’s regulatory functions; Governance reforms in the adult, community and further education sector; Power for injunctions in respect of registered training organisations (RTOs) that breach regulatory requirements; Authority for the State’s education regulator, the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA), to share information requested by its Commonwealth counterparts; Extending the Victorian student number (VSN) system to Commonwealth-regulated providers operating in Victoria, subject to enabling regulations being made by the Commonwealth; Clarification that public sector employees already receiving full-time salaries are not eligible for extra pay as directors of boards of TAFE institutes or adult education institutions; Facilitating the grant of leave of absence to members of the Councils of Universities, and makes a number of other minor technical amendments.

Appropriation (2012-2013) Bill

This is the main Budget Bill. It contains the expenditure measures for the forthcoming financial year and includes a number of new initiatives, such as record spending on infrastructure and a special package to improve the protection of vulnerable children, in line with the recommendations of the Cummins Inquiry.

Duties Amendment (Landholder) Bill

As part of last year’s Budget, the Government announced that it would reform Victoria’s land-rich duty provisions by adopting a land-holder model from 1 July 2012. This bill enacts those changes, securing a simpler, more equitable and efficient system for taxing the indirect acquisition of land through companies and unit trusts in Victoria.

Road Safety Amendment Bill

This Bill implements an election commitment to require ‘hoon’ offenders to undertake a safe driving course; will make the vehicle impoundment scheme more efficient for Victoria Police and will reduce Government costs in administering the scheme. The Bill will also establish new, more stringent and nationally agreed criteria for assessing whether a damaged light motor vehicle is a statutory write-off.

State Taxation Acts Amendment Bill

This Bill makes a number of amendments to legislation dealing with State duties and charges. Specifically, it makes more equitable the treatment of certain incapacitated war veterans in regard to exemptions from transfer of registration or transfer of motor vehicle ownership fees. It removes a loop-hole in relation to payment of duty by builders involved in property development and removes the exemptionof duty from Crown grants of land, as foreshadowed in last year’s State Budget. The Bill also makes some other technical amendments including in regard to fairer treatment of aggregation for certain dutiable purposes.

Forests Amendment Bill

This Bill will abolish the need for a domestic firewood permit. It will establish a new robust firewood regime by establishing two firewood collection seasons in each financial year. It will also establish a process for designating firewood collection areas in state forest and those regional parks where firewood collection is currently allowed. The Bill will provide the flexibility to ensure that firewood supply can be managed over the long-term and local needs and unforeseen circumstances are able to be dealt with. It will create a series of offences aimed at encouraging appropriate collecting behaviour; deterring illegal commercial firewood collection activity; and providing checks and balances to ensure that firewood collection is sustainable into the future and is undertaken in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. Finally, the Bill will also enable a person who is unable to collect firewood for themselves to nominate another person to do soon their behalf.

National Energy Retail Law (Victoria) Bill

This Bill is part of a program for national energy market reform. The bill provides for the establishment of a national energy customer framework for the regulation of the retail supply of energy to customers; provide for the relationship between the distributors of energy and the consumers of energy; make consequential amendments to other Victorian Acts; and repeal electricity and gas industry cross-ownership restrictions under other Victorian legislation.

Port Management Further Amendment Bill

The bill improves the safety and environmentmanagement plan (SEMP) scheme in the Port Management Act 1995 by ensuring that the SEMP process is more outcomes focused. The bill also establishes the Victorian Regional Channels Authority as the responsible authority for the port development strategy required under the Port Management Act 1995 for the port of Geelong. This change facilitates better coordination of whole-of-port planning for the port. The bill also makes a small change to improve the hazardous activities scheme at the port of Melbourne. Accident Compensation Amendment (Repayments and Dividends) BillThis Bill will amend the Accident Compensation Amendment Act 1985 to allow the Victorian Work Cover Authority (VWA) to repay capital or pay dividends to the State of Victoria. The Bill implements the Government’s decision to apply the standard government business enterprise dividend policy to the VWA, thus bringing VWA into line with most other government business enterprises, including the Transport Accident Commission. It will not affect liabilities, including benefit entitlements, payable under the Authority’s accident compensation insurance scheme because these are underwritten by the Victorian Government so they are always paid in full as they become due.

Associations Incorporation Reform Bill

This Bill repeals a 1981 Act and replaces it with a new, modern piece of legislation governing the incorporation of voluntary organisations and the regulation of other bodies known as incorporated associations, and makes provision relating to corporate governance and financial accountability.

Victorian Inspectorate Amendment Bill

This Bill provides the Victorian Inspectorate with powers to robustly oversight the operations of the new Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC). It is the latest in a series of legislative actions to deliver on the Coalition Government’s accountability and transparency agenda, which includes setting up IBAC, the Public Interest Monitor (PIM) and the Victorian Inspectorate. With this bill, the Baillieu Government will deliver to the Victorian Inspectorate the duties, functions and powers to enable the oversight of the IBAC and monitoring of compliance of PIMs, building on the foundations set in the Victorian Inspectorate Act 2011.

Appropriation (Parliament 2012-2013) Bill

This is the Budget Bill to support the Parliament. Traditionally, the two Houses of Parliament and support entities are appropriated separately, to underline the distinction between executive agencies and the legislature.

Gambling Legislation Amendment (Transition) Bill

This bill delivers on the Coalition Government’s commitment announced in December last year to extend the ban on automatic teller machines (ATMs) in gaming venues. It also further enhances and strengthens the legislative framework to facilitate a smooth transitionto the new industry structure.

Monetary Units Amendment Bill

This bill amends the Monetary Units Act 2004 by providing the value of a fee unit and a penalty unit for the financial year commencing on 1 July 2012. Fee units are used to calculate the cost of a certificate, registration or licence that is set out in an Act of Parliament or regulation. For the avoidance of any doubt, this Bill clarifies that the value of a fee unit is $12.53 for the 2012–13 financial year. Penalty units are used in Victoria’s Acts of Parliament and regulations to describe the amount of a fine. The main Act provides for the way that penalty units are set and calculated. This bill raises the value of a penalty unit to $140.84 for the financial year commencing on 1 July 2012. This is over and above the annual indexation increase of 2.5 per cent for the 2012–13 financial year.

Parliamentary Salaries and Superannuation Amendment (Salary Restraint) Bill

The Gillard Labor Government approved a significant pay-rise for federal MPs and Senators earlier this year. Victorian MPs’ salaries have historically been linked to a percentage of the federal salary. The State Government felt that such a large increase was not acceptable in times of economic stringency, so this Bill provides that State MPs will receive a 2.5 per cent capped pay-rise in 2012-13. The Government has announced that an independent review will be setup to recommend a new, transparent and accountable formula to set parliamentarians’ salaries into the future, breaking the nexus with the federal salaries.

Police and Emergency Services Management Legislation Amendment Bill

This Bill amends various pieces of emergency services legislation to facilitate the Government’s commitment to implement all the recommendations of the Bushfires Royal Commission. In addition, the Bill provides for additional powers to the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police to set explicit standards in regard to uniform and grooming requirements for police members. The bill provides that such standards may differ based on sex, gender identity, physical features or religious belief or activity, and provides for exceptions to be granted based on genuine medical, cultural or religious grounds.

Statute Law Revision Bill

This Bill makes technical or typographical amendments to a number of Acts of Parliament. This is a periodic measure to ensure that Victoria’s statute books are kept up to date. To ensure that this is purely a housekeeping measure and is not changing the law substantively, the Bill was been referred to the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee for examination and report. The Committee has now reported back to the two Houses.

Wills Amendment (International Wills)Bill

This Bill allows Victorian law to be brought into line with the International Wills Convention signed at Washingtonin 1973 to which Australia is a signatory, by adopting the convention’s uniform law in relation to wills. This will help when cross-country or cross-border issues affect a will. This Bill has been referred to the Legal and Social Issues Legislation Committee of the Legislative Council for consideration, to report back by 20 June 2012.

Building Amendment Bill

This Bill will ensure that the Building Practitioners Board has jurisdiction to investigate disciplinary cases in certain circumstances where the registration of a building practitioner has already been suspended.

Carers Recognition Bill

This Bill implements an election commitment to recognise, promote and value the role of carers and people in care relationships, including young carers, kinship and foster carers, and people providing support and assistance for someone with a mental orchronic illness, and those supporting ageing parents, the frail aged or a person with a disability. For the first time, Victoria will have legislation that sets out clear expectations for organizations that engage with people in care relationships about how they should be treated.

City of Melbourne Amendment (Environmental Upgrade Agreements) Bill

The bill will enhance the ability of the Melbourne City Council to expand its 1200 Buildings program by entering into environmental upgrade agreements, and makes related technical amendments. An environmental upgrade agreement is a tripartite agreement between the Melbourne City Council, the owner of a non-residential building in the City of Melbourne and a lending body. Under such an agreement, the lending body advances funds to the building owner to finance approved environmental upgrades and the Council levies an environmental upgrade charge to recover the funds and repay the lending body.

Control of Weapons and Firearms Acts Amendment Bill

This Bill create a new indictable offence for prohibited persons to possess, use or carry imitation firearms and provides for new rules relating to the minimum number of shooting events a person licensed to possess certain categories of handguns must participate in.

Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (Investigative Functions) Bill

This Bill implements an election commitment by detailing the wide range of investigative powers the new IBAC will have, which will include a broad power to investigate alleged corrupt practices across the public sector, including the Courts, and a separate power to oversight professional police conduct. The Bill also provides for parliamentary oversight of the new IBAC and for the Commission’s reporting and accountability obligations.

Drugs, Poisons and Controlled SubstancesAmendment (Supply by Midwives) Bill

This Bill provides that certain registered and endorsed midwives may possess, sell, use and supply certain drugs, on a list as authorised by the Minister, in the course of midwifery practice and for other purposes. It comes about as the result of a Council of Australian Governments’ agreement between all the States and Territories.

Legal Profession and Public Notaries Amendment Bill

The Bill cuts red tape in the regulation of the legal profession, including removing unnecessary legislative restrictions that currently prevent government and corporate lawyers who hold a valid practising certificate from volunteering their services for pro bono legal work other than with community legal centres. This bill is a further demonstration of the Baillieu Government’s commitment to reducing regulatory burdens, boosting productivity and opening up opportunities. The amendments to the Legal Profession Act 2004 will achieve these reforms without having to wait for the intended replacement of the Act with new legislation under the national legal profession reforms being developed under the auspices of the Council of Australian Governments. The Bill also ensures that that an applicant for appointment as Public Notaries must satisfy requirements to be a fit and proper person.

Port Bellarine Tourist Resort (Repeal) Bill

The Bill repeals the Port Bellarine Tourist Resort Act 1981 which was passed to facilitate the development of a resort near Portarlington by a particular proponent, a development which has never proceeded and the nature of which would now be inconsistent with community expectations for the area. The Bill terminates a Crown lease granted under the Act to the proponent.

Water Amendment (Governance and Other Reforms) Bill

This Bill transfers Melbourne water traders from the Water Industry Act 1994 to the Water Act 1987, makes changes to debt recovery arrangements by all water traders and changes the number of directors which can be appointed to water corporations.

Australian Consumer Law and Fair Trading Bill

This Bill repeals old legislation relating to consumer protection and fair trading and provides for a model Australian Consumer Law to apply in Victoria, for the better protection of consumers and to clarify the rights and responsibilities of businesses. It continues the Government’s focus on improving the legislative regime in this area.

Disability Amendment Bill

This Bill seeks to deal with technical issues that have arisen with the application of the Principal Act since it was passed in 2006 and strengthens the rights of persons with a disability. This bill is another way that the Baillieu Government is ensuringVictoria is best placed for the possible introduction of a national disability insurance scheme.

Justice Legislation Amendment Bill

This Bill makes miscellaneous amendments to a number of other Acts and streamlines the appointments of convenors to the Children’s Court.

Land (Revocation of Reservations) Bill

This Bill relates to certain Crown reserves, the boundaries of which can only be varied by legislation. It revokes the permanent reservation and related Crown grant of certain land occupied by the St Kilda Town Hall and provides that that land temporarily reserved for municipal purposes. It revokes the permanent reservation of land at the former Fitzroy Gasworks site and revokes the permanent reservation of part of the land occupied by the Toolangi Potato Research Farm and provides that that land is taken to be reserved forest. It revokes the permanent reservation of certain land at Werribee and the permanent reservation of certain land no longer required by the Inglewood hospital. It revokes the permanent reservations of certain land at Barwon Heads and, finally, it revokes the permanent reservation and related Crown grant of land occupied by the South Melbourne Temperance Hall.

Royal Women’s Hospital Land Bill

This Bill revokes the permanent reservation over two Crown land sites in Carlton, formerly occupied by the Royal Women’s Hospital, and partly occupied by the Royal Dental Hospital. The existing reservations were gazetted in 1886 and included a restricted Crown grant that provided that the sites would be used for the purpose of a ‘lying-in hospital’. These restrictions do not reflect current or potential use of the sites. The Bill will remove these restrictions, opening up the land to potential use and ensuring that the land is no longer subject to outdated reservations. The redevelopment of the Royal Women’s Hospital provides an opportunity to make use of this site for other purposes that will benefit the people of Victoria. The Bill will enable the sale of the land formerly occupied by the Royal Women’s Hospital, and the proceeds of the sale will be allocated to consolidated revenue to offset the cost of the Royal Women’s Hospital redevelopment project.

Courts and Sentencing Legislation Amendment Bill

This Bill will make a range of improvements to the operation of the court system, continuing the Coalition Government’s commitment to improving access to justice. The Bill clarifies the jurisdiction of Koori Courts; improves various Children’s Court processes and makes other technical amendments. It corrects anomalies in relation to the empanelment and excusing of jurors; makes judicial registrars a class of judicial officer that can be provided with judicial education by the Judicial College of Victoria; and provides immunity to assessors in the Supreme Court and the County Court.

Health Professions Registration (Repeal) Bill

This Bill relates to national reform of the registration of various health professions. The Bill repeals the Health Professions Registration Act 2005 that until 1 July 2010 regulated Victorian health professionals. As of that date, the majority of health practitioners were transferred to a national registration and accreditation scheme by the passing of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Victoria) Act 2009. Chinese medicine practitioners and medical radiation practitioners remain regulated by the Health Professions Registration Act 2005 until 1 July 2012, at which date they too will transfer to the national scheme.

Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Amendment (Examinations) Bill

This is the latest in the Coalition Government’s suite of accountability and transparency legislative reforms, which were election commitments to the people of Victoria. This Bill provides the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC) with the power to issue a witness summons to attend an examination to provide evidence, produce documents or other things or both. It contains provisions protecting the confidentiality of IBAC investigations and the safety of persons involved in those investigations. The Bill provides IBAC with the power to investigate serious corrupt conduct or police personnel conduct occurring prior to the commencement of the Act. It provides IBAC with the power to refer matters to other bodies and coordinate investigations. It includes a power to charge a person with contempt and outlines the application of privileges and statutory secrecy requirements.

Primary Industries Legislation Amendment Bill

This bill makes minor or technical amendments to three Acts in the portfolio of the Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, namely the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Control of Use) Act 1992; the Domestic Animals Act 1994; and the Livestock Management Act 2010.

Statute Law Repeals Bill

This Bill repeals a number of Acts of Parliament which are either spent or otherwise redundant. This is a periodic measure to ensure that Victoria’s statute books are kept up to date. To ensure that this is purely a housekeeping measure and is not changing the law substantively, the Bill was referred to the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee for examination and report. The Committee has now reported back to both Houses.

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