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Thursday, 12 February 2015
Page: 604


Senator RYAN (VictoriaParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education and Training) (12:49): The Civil Law and Justice Legislation Amendment Bill will amend the Copyright Act to reduce the impact of the legal deposit scheme on publishers. At present, publishers of certain literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works must deliver copies of their works in print format. The amendments will provide for publishers to submit their works electronically, which will reduce the time and cost burden on the industry.

The Court Security Act will be amended to clarify the process by which court security orders can be varied and revoked. Minimising confusion creates a fairer and more accessible justice system. The Court Security Act amendments will also address court management issues by extending the authority to hold and dispose of unclaimed dangerous items. Amendments to the Evidence Act will increase consistency with the Uniform Evidence Bill for greater cross-jurisdictional compliance. The bill will also amend the International Arbitration Act to clarify its application, providing certainty for private parties who entered into arbitration agreements before the International Arbitration Act was last amended in 2010.

Minor technical amendments contained in the bill will improve the operation of the Family Law Act by correcting errors and ensuring the use of consistent language. The bill will also amend the Family Law Act to explicitly permit the provision of certain information relating to family law proceedings to child welfare authorities. This amendment will ensure that child welfare authorities have access to any relevant material to enable them to better protect children. The amendments to the Bankruptcy Act will ensure that assistance received under the National Disability Insurance Scheme is not distributed to a bankrupt's creditors. The amendments also modernise the drafting of offences under the act and ensure that they have kept up with modern technology.

Additionally the amendments will enhance the Australian Financial Security Authority's capacity to act as a special trustee for other government agencies. In its special trustee role the Australian Financial Security Authority seizes and sells property pursuant to a court order in relation to a debt owed to the Commonwealth or a Commonwealth agency.

Significantly, the bill will facilitate the removal of obsolete and redundant clauses. For example, the bill will amend the Family Law Act to remove obsolete requirements for annual publication of certain information, as well as to repeal an obsolete definition. The bill will also amend the Evidence Act to remove obsolete provisions and references to the operation of the Evidence Act in relation to the Australian Capital Territory. The bill also reflects the government's commitment to better equip Australia to meet the needs of industry and consumers in the digital age. For example, the amendments to the Copyright Act will allow the National Library of Australia to collect not only our print history but also our digital history.

In conclusion, this bill will make minor and technical amendments to provide more clarity to legislation administered by the Attorney-General's portfolio. The combined effect of these amendments will improve the efficiency and operation of the civil justice system and provide individuals with greater access to justice. I thank senators for their contributions.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.