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Thursday, 18 August 2011
Page: 8548


Mr PERRETT (Moreton) (11:07): On behalf of the Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, I seek leave to make a statement on the Legislative Instruments Amendment (Sunsetting) Bill 2011, in discharge of the committee’s requirement to provide an advisory report on the bill and to present a copy of my statement.

Leave granted

Mr PERRETT: The committee has considered the content of this statement and unanimously endorses it.

On Thursday, 7 July 2011, the House of Representatives adopted the report of the Selection Committee referring the Legislative Instruments Amendment (Sunsetting) Bill 2011, referred to as the sunsetting amendment bill, to the Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs for inquiry and report.

The sunsetting amendment bill proposes minor amendments to the Legislative Instrument Act 2003. That act sets out a comprehensive regime for the making, registration, publication of legislative instruments and provides for the gradual sunsetting of legislative instruments unless particular steps are taken to preserve them. The process is intended to keep legislative instruments up to date and in force only for as long as needed.

The amendments proposed in the sunsetting amendment bill are not extensive and, in the main, are intended to make the operation of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 more accessible by adding subheadings, making terminology consistent, and more clearly outlining how the sunsetting period is to be calculated. Item 3 inserts a new subsection which clarifies the commencement date for any instrument's 10-year period before sunsetting. This will apply to retrospectively commencing legislative instruments.

This amendment will ensure that instruments made under the LIA sunset 10 years from the date they are registered, not the date they are in force. This will allow for retrospective instruments to operate for a full 10 years following registration, rather than sunsetting less than 10 years after they are registered, or potentially sunsetting prior to registration if the retrospective action is required longer than 10 years into the past.

The bill clarifies the original policy intent of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 by ensuring that all legislative instruments made after 1 January 2005, regardless of retrospective action, are subject to periodic review and therefore subject to the same scrutiny as prospective instruments.

Following referral of the sunsetting amendment bill, the Social Policy and Legal Affairs Committee issued a media release advising of its inquiry and wrote to selected stakeholders requesting they provide a submission should they have any concerns regarding the proposed amendments.

No submissions were received and consequently the committee determined not to hold public hearings. The committee has not identified any issues regarding the sunsetting amendment bill and therefore recommends that it be passed by the House of Representatives without amendment.