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Tuesday, 23 August 2011
Page: 5237


Senator JACINTA COLLINS (VictoriaParliamentary Secretary for School Education and Workplace Relations) (18:06): I table a revised explanatory memorandum relating to the Indigenous Affairs Legislation Amendment Bill 2011, and I move:

That these bills be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speeches read as follows :

Indigenous Affairs Legislation Amendment Bill 2011

This Bill contains two non-Budget measures relating to Aboriginal land rights legislation and the Torres Strait Regional Authority.

Scheduling of land

The Bill will continue the Government's important program under land rights legislation for the Northern Territory, by adding further parcels of land to Schedule 1 to the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act1976.

This will allow the land in question, which includes certain land near Borroloola, and the Port Patterson Islands, to be granted to relevant Aboriginal Land Trusts.

This measure was originally introduced in the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Other Legislation Amendment (Budget and Other Measures) Bill 2010, but was withdrawn during the passage of that Bill to allow one of the land area measurements to be clarified. The scheduling of these parcels of land through this Bill will help to resolve two long-running and complex land claims.

Torres Strait Regional Authority

Secondly, the Bill amends the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act2005 in relation to the Torres Strait Regional Authority established under that Act.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 2005 provides for election of members to the Torres Strait Regional Authority. Presently, there is a connection between the election of members to the Torres Strait Regional Authority and the timing of Queensland Local Government elections. This Bill removes this connection, so that elections to the Authority are conducted solely in accordance with the provisions of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act.

The Authority has commissioned a governance review of its structure and the method of appointment of its members. The Bill amends the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act to allow for a wider range of options for the composition of the Authority following that review.

Legislative Instruments Amendment (Sunsetting) Bill 2011

This Bill amends the Legislative Instruments Act 2003.

The Legislative Instruments Act provides general rules for the making, registration and sunsetting (that is, automatic ceasing) of legislative instruments. The purpose of the sunsetting process is to ensure that legislative instruments are kept up to date and only remain in force for so long as they are needed.

Purpose of the Bill

The main purpose of this Bill is to refine the way in which the sunsetting provisions apply to legislative instruments which commence retrospectively.

The current rule is that all instruments sunset 10 years after they commence. This ensures that all legislative instruments are reviewed regularly and, where they are no longer required, cease to have effect after that 10-year period. This rule also applies to retrospectively commencing instruments. This means that these instruments can sunset less than 10 years after they are made or, in some cases, even before they are made where they need to operate more than 10 years in the past.

This amendment to the Act would provide for a new rule for retrospectively commencing legislative instruments. This new rule would use the date of registration rather than commencement as the relevant starting point for the 10-year period.

This change would allow for instruments to be made with retrospective commencement, but would allow them 10 years of prospective operation before they sunset. This gives rule-makers additional flexibility in making these instruments, without removing the requirement that the instrument be reviewed every 10 years.

The Bill does not alter any other rules in the LIA about when instruments may commence retrospectivity.

Conclusion

This minor amendment to the Act refines the operation of the sunsetting provisions to allow them to operate more effectively in relation to retrospectively commencing instruments.

Debate adjourned.

Ordered that the bills be listed on the Notice Paper as separate orders of the day.