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Wednesday, 11 May 2011
Page: 3693

Mr McCLELLAND (BartonAttorney-General) (10:48): I thank members for their contribution to the debate and their very supportive statements. The Trans-Tasman Proceedings Amendment and Other Measures Bill 2011 does make only minor amendments, it must be said, to the Trans-Tasman Proceedings Act 2010 and the Trans-Tasman Proceedings (Transitional and Consequential Provisions) Act 2010, but the combination of the operations of those acts is significant. The minor amendments that we are discussing today will harmonise the language and structure of these acts with the New Zealand Trans-Tasman Proceedings Act 2010. That harmonisation is essential. It will ensure the clear, consistent and effective operation of the cooperative Trans-Tasman Proceedings Scheme, which is based on the 2008 Agreement Between the Government of Australia and the Government of New Zealand on Trans-Tasman Court Proceedings and Regulatory Enforcement. This cooperative scheme will streamline and simplify the process for resolving trans-Tasman civil court proceedings and assists in creating optimal conditions for trade and commerce across the Tasman. By removing some of the barriers to simple and effective trans-Tasman civil dispute resolution for both individuals and businesses, the scheme forms an important part of the government's microeconomic reform and access to justice agendas across both countries.

The bill also contains technical measures to retrospectively validate fees charged for de facto financial proceedings in the Family Court of Australia and certain state and territory courts between 1 March 2009 and 25 November 2010. It has always been the government's intention to have court fees apply consistently to de facto and matrimonial disputes. The measures in schedule 3 of this bill would ensure that the fees applying to de facto financial proceedings were the same as those applying to matrimonial financial proceedings and parenting matters in the relevant period.

In conclusion, this bill provides the necessary amendments to ensure that Australia's harmonised application of the Agreement Between the Government of Australia and the Government of New Zealand on Trans-Tasman Court Proceedings and Regulatory Enforcement is consistent with New Zealand. I commend the bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

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