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Rudd Government reaffirms commitment to legal harmonisation.



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27 August 2008

RUDD GOVERNMENT REAFFIRMS COMMITMENT TO LEGAL HARMONISATION Attorney-General Robert McClelland today tabled the Rudd Government’s response to the House of Representatives Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee report into the harmonisation of legal systems within Australia and between Australia and New Zealand.

“The Rudd Government has a far reaching legal reform agenda, which will reduce the costs of regulation and enhance productivity in areas of shared Commonwealth and State responsibility” Mr McClelland said.

“We will act on a number of the report’s recommendations, providing important benefits for business as well as ensuring greater access to justice for individuals.”

The Government will also explore areas where reduced regulatory burdens and harmonised legislative arrangements can be achieved with New Zealand.

The Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) features strongly, both in the report and the Government’s response, as a key forum to progress legal harmonisation projects.

Mr McClelland said, “The importance of SCAG to legal reform will be highlighted next month, when it hosts a harmonisation conference with key industry stakeholders. This direct engagement with legal professionals, academics, law reform bodies and business will assist in shaping legal harmonisation for the future.”

The Government will act on 22 of the 27 recommendations, including in relation to harmonisation of guardianship and succession law, evidence law, consumer protection, privacy and debt collection. The Government’s full response is available at: www.ag.gov.au/harmonisation

The previous Government never responded to the report, which was tabled in November 2006.

Media Contact: Adam Sims 0419 480 224

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