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Thursday, 20 March 2008
Page: 2502

Mr TANNER (Minister for Finance and Deregulation) (10:15 AM) —in reply—The Lands Acquisition Legislation Amendment Bill 2008 makes a number of important amendments to the Lands Acquisition Act 1989. The amendments proposed in the bill update the act to: enable Commonwealth mining regulations to be promulgated; apply penalties to breaches of the act with respect to mining that are commensurate with Commonwealth criminal law policy; make the act more efficient by giving the Minister for Finance and Deregulation the power to initiate the claims process and making the Minister for Finance and Deregulation responsible for an administrative function; eliminate an inconsistency by making the Cocos Islands land administration exempt from the act, consistent with the Christmas Island and Norfolk Island acts; reduce the duplication of tabling of commercial, in the market transactions; and repeal the redundant Lands Acquisition (Defence) Act 1968.

The amendments in relation to mining will enable the promulgation of Commonwealth mining regulations for the administration of mining on Commonwealth land and will enable state and territory legislation to be applied in a manner consistent with Commonwealth policy. The amendments provide for a penalty regime for breaches of the regulations under the act that is in line with the Commonwealth’s criminal law policy. The amendment imposes a maximum penalty of 50 penalty units for an individual and 250 penalty units for a body corporate for breaches of regulations made under the act. The process of promulgating Commonwealth mining regulations will entail extensive consultation and agreement with states and territories.

Enabling the Minister for Finance and Deregulation to initiate an offer of compensation to an interest holder without a claim being made promotes efficiencies and fairness in the application of the act. This will also expedite the compensation process and ease financial and administrative burdens in relation to compulsory acquisitions. In relation to offers, the rights of recipients of offers to review processes under the act are preserved.

The amendment exempting land on the Cocos Islands from the act will correct an anomaly. Dealings in land on Cocos Island under the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Act 1955 had, by reason of oversight, not been made exempt from the act. This bill will bring the administration of land on Cocos Islands in line with land administration on Christmas Island and Norfolk Island, without the intervention of the act.

The amendment which removes the tabling of commercial acquisitions on market of an interest in land reduces duplication and administrative burdens. Accountability and transparency of commercial acquisitions is provided by AusTender. This amendment brings the acquisition of land in line with the Commonwealth procurement guidelines. This amendment accords with initiatives to reduce red tape in government administration. It creates efficiencies by reducing duplication and associated administrative costs.

The repeal of the Lands Acquisition (Defence) Act 1968 eliminates redundant legislation. This legislation was created in order to acquire public parkland in New South Wales. This acquisition has long since passed and the Lands Acquisition (Defence) Act 1968 can now be repealed. I thank honourable members for their contributions to the debate on this piece of legislation. I commend the bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Ordered that the bill be reported to the House without amendment.