• No results found

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORY Legislation Scrutiny Committee

N/A
N/A
Protected

Academic year: 2022

Share "LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORY Legislation Scrutiny Committee "

Copied!
68
0
0

Full text

(1)

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY OF THE NORTHERN TERRITORY Legislation Scrutiny Committee

Annual Report 2019 – 20

July 2020

(2)
(3)

Contents

Contents

Chair’s Preface ...5

Committee Members ...6

Committee Secretariat ...7

Terms of Reference ...8

Introduction ... 10

Establishment and Functions of the Committee ... 10

Report Structure ... 10

Outstanding Inquiries ... 11

Economic Policy Scrutiny Committee ... 11

Liquor Bill 2019 ... 11

Hemp Industry Bill 2019 ... 13

Construction Contracts (Security of Payments) Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 ... 14

Electoral Legislation Further Amendment Bill 2019 ... 15

Social Policy Scrutiny Committee... 16

Youth Justice and Related Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 ... 16

Education and Care Services (National Uniform Legislation) Amendment Bill 2019.... 18

Environment Protection Bill 2019 ... 19

Bill Referrals ... 21

Introduction ... 21

Economic Policy Scrutiny Committee ... 21

Transport Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 ... 21

Water Further Amendment Bill 2019 ... 23

Sex Industry Bill 2019... 24

Firearms Legislation Amendment Bill 2019... 25

Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Amendment Bill 2019 ... 26

Criminal Property Forfeiture Amendment Bill 2019 ... 28

Courts Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 ... 29

Residential Tenancies Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 ... 29

Social Policy Scrutiny Committee... 30

Burial and Cremation Bill 2019 ... 31

Statute Law Revision and Repeals Bill 2019 ... 32

Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Amendment Bill 2019 ... 33

Mental Health and Related Services Amendment Bill 2019 ... 33

Local Government Bill 2019 ... 34

Evidence and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 ... 34

National Disability Insurance Scheme (Worker Clearance) Bill 2019 ... 35

Marine Pollution Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 ... 36

Legislation Scrutiny Committee ... 37

Justice Legislation Amendment (Domestic and Family Violence) Bill 2019 ... 37

Ports Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 ... 39

Licensing (Director-General) Repeal Bill 2019 ... 39

Petroleum Legislation Miscellaneous Amendments Bill 2019 ... 40

Sexual Offences (Evidence and Procedure) Amendment Bill 2019 ... 41

(4)

Treaty Commissioner Bill 2020 ... 42

Planning Amendment Bill 2020 ... 43

Transport Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 ... 44

Liquor Amendment Bill 2020 ... 44

Judicial Commission Bill 2020 ... 45

Return to Work Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 ... 46

Firearms Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 ... 47

Petition Referrals ... 49

Introduction ... 49

Petition No. 36 ... 49

Petition No. 38 ... 50

Petition No. 39 ... 50

Petition No. 41 ... 51

Petition No. 42 ... 51

Petition No. 43 ... 52

Petition No. 44 ... 52

Petition No. 46 ... 53

Petition No. 47 ... 53

Petition No. 48 ... 54

Committee Statistics ... 55

Introduction ... 55

Committee Inquiries ... 56

Reports and Recommendations ... 57

Petitions ... 61

Appendix A: Standard Procedures for Bill Inquiries ... 63

Bibliography ... 64

(5)

Chair’s Preface

Chair’s Preface

This report details the activities of the Economic and Social Policy Scrutiny Committees for the period 1 July 2019 to 27 November 2019 when the committees were dissolved, and the Legislation Scrutiny Committee for the period 28 November 2019 to 30 June 2020.

During the reporting period, the Assembly referred 28 Bills to scrutiny committees for inquiry and report. Pursuant to Standing Order 200(4), 22 reports were sent to the Speaker out of session prior to the due date; six of which were tabled in the first sittings following introduction of the Bill.

As detailed in Chapter 3, the Committee recommended that the Assembly pass all of the Bills referred for inquiry and report with the exception of the Firearms Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 (Serial 121). However, in many instances the Committee proposed amendments to the Bills to ensure that they had due regard to the rights and liberties of individuals and the institution of Parliament, were unambiguous and drafted in a sufficiently clear and precise manner. That 90% of the Committees’ proposed amendments and recommendations were subsequently accepted by the Government attests to the value and importance of the Bill scrutiny process.

Although the level of public participation in the Committees’ inquiries varied according to the nature of the Bill under consideration, feedback from those organisations and individuals that made submissions or appeared before the Committee has been extremely positive. Indeed, a number of people commended the Government on its initiative to ‘open Parliament to the people’ and provide an opportunity for members of the public to participate in the legislative process.

Pursuant to Sessional Order 17, during the reporting period the Assembly referred 10 petitions to scrutiny Committees for consideration as to whether they should be debated. The Committee recommended that the Assembly debate all of the referred petitions. Of these, four were subsequently debated in the Assembly.

On behalf of the Committee, I would like to thank all those who made submissions or appeared before the Committee. Their input has been invaluable and of great assistance to the Committee in its consideration of proposed legislation. In addition, the Committee thanks the Chief Executives of agencies for their responsiveness in providing information to the Committee and appearing at public briefings and hearings.

The Committee also thanks Professor Ned Aughterson for the provision of legal advice to the Committee.

Finally, I would like to thank my fellow Committee members for their bipartisan commitment to the legislative review process.

Mr Tony Sievers MLA Chair

(6)

Committee Members

Mr Tony Sievers Member for Brennan

Party: Territory Labor Committee Membership

Standing: House, Public Accounts

Sessional: Legislation Scrutiny Committee Chair: Legislation Scrutiny Committee Ms Sandra Nelson MLA

Member for Katherine

Party: Territory Labor

Parliamentary Position Acting Deputy Speaker Committee Membership

Sessional: Legislation Scrutiny Deputy Chair: Legislation Scrutiny Mr Joel Bowden MLA

Member for Johnston

Party: Territory Labor Committee Membership

Sessional: Legislation Scrutiny Mrs Lia Finocchiaro MLA

Member for Spillett

Party: Country Liberals

Parliamentary Position: Leader of the Opposition Committee Membership

Standing: Privileges

Sessional: Legislation Scrutiny Mrs Robyn Lambley MLA

Member for Araluen

Party: Territory Alliance Parliamentary Position: Acting Deputy Speaker Committee Membership

Standing: Standing Orders and Members’ Interests Sessional: Legislation Scrutiny

Note: Pursuant to Standing Order 181, on Tuesday 10 March Member for Karama, Ms Ngaree Ah Kit, was discharged from the Committee and replaced by Member for Johnston, Mr Joel Bowden.

(7)

Committee Secretariat

Committee Secretariat

First Clerk Assistant: Russell Keith Committee Secretary: Julia Knight Committee Secretary: Jennifer Buckley Senior Research Officer: Elise Dyer

Administration/Research Officer: Melissa Campaniello Administration Assistant: Kim Cowcher

Contact Details: GPO Box 3721 DARWIN NT 0801 Tel: +61 08 8946 1485

Email: [email protected]

(8)

Terms of Reference

Sessional Order 13

Establishment of Legislation Scrutiny Committee (1) Standing Order 178 is suspended.

(2) The Assembly appoints a Legislation Scrutiny Committee.

(3) The ordinary membership of the scrutiny committee will comprise three Government Members, one Opposition Member nominated to the Speaker in writing by the respective Whip and one non-party aligned Member to be appointed by motion.

The Committee’s membership will be supplemented by alternate members who may be nominated to participate at meetings and undertake a role on the committee in the place of ordinary committee members. The nomination of alternate committee members will be in writing by the ordinary member to the committee chair.

Alternate Committee members must be from the same category of Members of the Assembly as the ordinary member nominating them such as the same political party or a non-party aligned Member.

(4) The functions of the scrutiny committee shall be to inquire and report on:

(a) any matter referred to it:

(i) by the Assembly;

(ii) by a Minister; or (iii) on its own motion.

(b) any bill referred to it by the Assembly;

(c) in relation to any bill referred by the Assembly:

(i) whether the Assembly should pass the bill;

(ii) whether the Assembly should amend the bill;

(iii) whether the bill has sufficient regard to the rights and liberties of individuals, including whether the bill:

(A) makes rights and liberties, or obligations, dependent on administrative power only if the power is sufficiently defined and subject to appropriate review; and

(B) is consistent with principles of natural justice; and

(C) allows the delegation of administrative power only in appropriate cases and to appropriate persons; and

(D) does not reverse the onus of proof in criminal proceedings without adequate justification; and

(9)

Terms of Reference

(E) confers powers to enter premises, and search for or seize documents or other property, only with a warrant issued by a judge or other judicial officer; and

(F) provides appropriate protection against self-incrimination; and (G) does not adversely affect rights and liberties, or impose

obligations, retrospectively; and

(H) does not confer immunity from proceeding or prosecution without adequate justification; and

(I) provides for the compulsory acquisition of property only with fair compensation; and

(J) has sufficient regard to Aboriginal tradition; and

(K) is unambiguous and drafted in a sufficiently clear and precise way.

(iv) whether the bill has sufficient regard to the institution of Parliament, including whether the bill:

(A) allows the delegation of legislative power only in appropriate cases and to appropriate persons; and

(B) sufficiently subjects the exercise of a delegated legislative power to the scrutiny of the Legislative Assembly; and

(C) authorises the amendment of an Act only by another Act.

(5) The Committee will elect a Government Member as Chair.

(6) The Committee will provide an annual report on its activities to the Assembly.

Adopted 27 November 2019

(10)

Introduction

Establishment and Functions of the Committee

1.1 The Northern Territory Social Policy and Economic Policy Scrutiny Committees were established by the Assembly on Thursday, 24 August 2017 under Sessional Order 13. However, on 27 November 2019 the Assembly dissolved these committees and established the Legislation Scrutiny Committee and referred outstanding Bill inquiries to the new Committee.1

1.2 The functions of the Legislation Scrutiny Committee include to inquire into and report on any matter referred to it by the Assembly, a Minister or on its own motion.

1.3 The Committee also has a duty to examine any Bill referred to it by the Assembly and determine whether the Assembly should pass the Bill or amend the Bill and whether the Bill has sufficient regard to the rights and liberties of individuals and the institution of Parliament.

1.4 In accordance with clause 6 of its Terms of Reference, the Committee is required to provide an annual report on its activities.

1.5 Pursuant to Sessional Order 17, adopted on 20 March 2018, the Committee is also required to consider petitions referred by the Assembly, determine whether the petition should be debated and advise the Clerk accordingly.2

Report Structure

1.6 Chapter 2 provides a summary of the outcomes of outstanding Economic Policy and Social Policy Scrutiny Committee inquiries from the 2018-2019 reporting period.

1.7 Chapter 3 provides a summary of Bills referred to and considered by the Social and Economic Policy Scrutiny Committees and the Legislation Scrutiny Committee during the current reporting period.

1.8 Chapter 4 provides a summary of Petitions referred to and considered by the Committee during the current reporting period.

1.9 Chapter 5 provides an overview of statistics regarding the number of Bills referred to the scrutiny committees, submissions received, inquiry timeframes, reports tabled, and recommendations accepted by the Government. Information is also provided on Petitions referred to the Committees and the number recommended for debate and subsequently debated in the Assembly.

1 Hon Natasha Fyles, MLA, Leader of Government Business, Draft – Daily Hansard – Day 2 – Wednesday 27 November 2019, https://www.territorystories.nt.gov.au/jspui/handle/10070/755087, p.94

2 Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory, Thirteenth Assembly – Sessional Orders – As adopted 27 November 2019, https://parliament.nt.gov.au/business/standing-and-sessional-orders, pp.14-15

(11)

Outstanding Inquiries

Outstanding Inquiries

Economic Policy Scrutiny Committee

2.1 As noted in the Committee’s previous Annual Report3, at the end of the 2018-2019 reporting period the Committee had yet to finalise four Bill inquiries that were due for report in August and September 2019. Following is a summary of the outcomes of those inquiries.

Liquor Bill 2019

2.2 On 15 May 2019 the Assembly referred the Liquor Bill 2019 (Serial 95) to the Committee for inquiry and report by 6 August 2019.4

2.3 The primary purpose of this Bill was to minimise the harm associated with the consumption of liquor while at the same time recognising that the sale, supply, and consumption of liquor is a legitimate social and economic activity. Comprising a complete re-write of the Liquor Act 1978, and amending over 20 other Acts, the Bill incorporated 70 of the recommendations from the Alcohol Policies and Legislation Review.5

2.4 The Committee received 18 submissions to its inquiry. Submissions provided a cross- section of views, reflecting the challenges inherent in achieving harm minimisation objectives without placing an unwarranted burden on liquor businesses.

2.5 On the 20 May 2019 the Committee held a public briefing with representatives from the Department of the Attorney-General and Justice and the Department of the Chief Minister. The Committee also held a public hearing on 10 July 2019 with 23 witnesses appearing. Following examination of the Bill and consideration of the evidence, the Committee recommended that the Assembly pass the Bill with 20 legislative amendments and two recommendations for action by the Government.

2.6 In summary, recommendations 2, 8 and 12 sought to ensure greater transparency and accountability in relation to delegation of the Director’s powers, applications for transfers, and liquor accords. Recommendations 3, 5, 9, 13, 20, 21 and 22 aimed to ensure that the Bill was unambiguous and drafted in a clear and precise manner.

Recommendations 6, 11 and 14 aimed to reduce the regulatory burden on licensees by facilitating greater procedural efficiencies while still ensuring that harm minimisation objectives were met.

2.7 Recommendations 10, 17, 18 and 19 sought to ensure effective operation of the relevant provisions while recommendations 15 and 16 aimed to strengthen provisions to better meet harm minimisation objectives. Of the two recommendations for action by the Government, recommendation 4 sought to ensure that separate community

3 Economic Policy Scrutiny Committee, Annual Report 2018-19, Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory, Darwin NT, September 2019, https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC#AR

4 Hon. Natasha Fyles MLA, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Draft – Daily Hansard – Day 5 - 15 May 2019, http://hdl.handle.net/10070/307367 p.1

5 Explanatory Statement, Liquor Bill 2019 (Serial 95), https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/95-2019

(12)

impact assessment guidelines would be provided for different types of licence or authority applications. Recommendation 7 aimed to ensure that appropriate standard provisions for annual events, such as New Year’s Eve and ANZAC Day were included in the regulations prescribing conditions on time of operation.

2.8 Key issues of concern in this Bill included clauses 68(2), 105 and 129 to 132. Clause 68(2) required applications to transfer a licence to be made as if the proposed transferee was applying for a new licence, with clauses 48 to 54 applying to these applications. There was no provision to make clause 55, which related to the consideration of applications, applicable to transfer applications. The exclusion of clause 55 meant that there were no provisions to enable several highly relevant elements of the application consideration process to be implemented, including:

requirement that the Director refer an accepted application to the Commission;

timeframe in which the referral must occur; scope for objections to made to the application; and an assessment of the transferee’s financial stability and character.

2.9 The Committee considered that while not all provisions in clause 55 were relevant to the consideration of applications for transfers, provisions critical to transfer applications, such as those identified above, should be provided for. The Committee therefore recommended that the Bill be amended to include a clause separate from clause 55 setting out how a transfer of a licence should be considered, including the matters identified above.

2.10 Clause 105 required a licensee to prepare a quarterly return of their liquor purchases and sales under the licence. Several submissions raised concern that this requirement was a significant impost on licensees, many of whom would not have the appropriate point of sale systems required to enable compliance in a cost effective manner.

2.11 While acknowledging the considerable benefits of collecting retail sales data, the Committee considered it important to balance these benefits against the additional burden that collection of such data would place on licensees. Although Riley Review Recommendation 2.6.5 specified that licensees should be required to provide regular returns of the volume of alcohol sales from their premises, this recommendation proposed that returns be required on a six monthly or yearly basis rather than quarterly as provided for in clause 105. The Committee therefore recommended that clause 105 be amended to minimise the burden on business while meeting the intent of the Riley Review recommendation by only applying to licensees who have a wholesale authority.

2.12 Clauses 129 to 132 set out provisions for local liquor accords. Concerns were raised by Hospitality NT that the proposed provisions for Liquor Accords could result in restrictive new practices being determined without reference to the Liquor Commission.

2.13 Under clause 130 a liquor accord could provide for anything that might prevent or reduce alcohol-related violence and identified a range of potential actions such as requiring licensees to charge higher prices for liquor, or to cease or restrict the sale and service of liquor earlier than otherwise allowed. Clause 129(2) provided for the Director to require a licensee to be a party to a local liquor accord while clause 132(1)

(13)

Outstanding Inquiries

provided for the Director to vary a liquor accord at any time by giving written notice to the coordinator of the accord.

2.14 The Committee considered the power proposed for the Director, to both require licensee’s to join accords and to vary the accord, to be potentially very significant given that a number of issues relating to decision-making processes and the management of accords were not clearly addressed in the Bill.

2.15 Although the Committee supported making provision for accords it considered it to be premature to give the Director such powers before the framework for decision- making under the accord had been determined. In the absence of such a framework, the Director’s power to vary an accord, and consequently the licence conditions of those subject to the accord, could unfairly affect some licensees. The Committee therefore recommended that the Bill be amended to remove the Director’s power to vary an accord on the Director’s own initiative and to provide minimum consultation requirements for determining and varying accords.

2.16 The Committee tabled its report in the Assembly on 13 August 2019. In responding to the report the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, the Hon Natasha Fyles MLA, advised that the Government accepted the two recommendations for government action (recommendations 4 and 7) along with 16 of the 19 legislative amendments proposed by the Committee.6

2.17 The Committee’s report, associated minutes of proceedings, Government’s response to the Committee’s report, submissions received and transcripts of the public briefing and hearing, are available on the Committee’s website at:

https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/95-2019.

Hemp Industry Bill 2019

2.18 On 16 May 2019 the Assembly referred the Hemp Industry Bill 2019 (Serial 91) to the Committee for inquiry and report by 6 August 2019.7

2.19 In presenting the Bill, the Minister for Primary Industry and Resources, the Hon Paul Kirby MLA, stated that the purpose of the Bill was to:

Put in place a regulatory framework allowing for the development and operation of an industrial hemp industry here in the Northern Territory.8

2.20 As noted in the Explanatory Statement key elements of the Bill included the:

• Establishment of a licencing regime for the possession, cultivation, processing or supply of industrial hemp for both the commercial production of industrial hemp products and scientific research, instruction, analysis or study.

• Provision of exemptions, where applicable, to the Misuse of Drugs Act.

6 Government Response, Inquiry into the Liquor Bill 2019, Tuesday 13 August 2019 https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/95-2019#REPORT

7 Hon Paul Kirby MLA, Draft - Daily Hansard – Day 6 – 16 May 2019, http://hdl.handle.net/10070/307368, p.5

8 Hon Paul Kirby MLA, Draft - Daily Hansard – Day 6 – 16 May 2019, http://hdl.handle.net/10070/307368 p.2

(14)

• Clarification of responsibilities and accountabilities for sharing of administrative powers between the Chief Executive Officer of the responsible regulatory agency and the Commissioner of Police.

• Provision for authorised inspectors under the Act.

• Provision for offences and penalties for contravening specified provisions of the Act.9

2.21 When presenting the Bill to the Assembly, the Minister noted that industrial hemp differs markedly from both narcotic cannabis and medicinal cannabis as it contains very low levels of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (commonly known as THC), typically less than 1% of its dry weight, and has no psycho-active effects on individuals. By contrast, narcotic cannabis can contain in excess of 15% of its dry weight while THC in medicinal cannabis can have low or high THC.10

2.22 The Committee received one submission to its inquiry and held a public briefing with the Department of Primary Industry and Resources on the 20 May 2019.

2.23 As the Committee had no matters to bring to the attention of the Assembly, the Committee presented its ‘No Issues’ report to the Speaker on 19 July 2019 for subsequent tabling in the Assembly on 6 August 2019. The Committee’s report and associated documentation is available on the Committee’s website at:

https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/91-2019.

Construction Contracts (Security of Payments) Legislation Amendment Bill 2019

2.24 On 15 May 2019 the Assembly referred the Construction Contracts (Security of Payments) Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Serial 92) to the Committee for inquiry and report by 6 August 2019.

2.25 The Bill sought to amend the Construction Contracts (Security and Payments) Act 2004, Community Justice Centre Act 2005 and Construction Contracts (Security of Payments) Regulations 2005. The primary purpose of the Bill was to provide clarification on payment disputes, the adjudication process, and determinations made by adjudicators. The Bill also introduced new provisions to allow parties to construction contracts valued at $505 million or over to opt out of the statutory dispute resolution process, provided that certain criteria are met.11

2.26 The Committee received three submissions to its inquiry which were largely supportive of the Bill and held a public briefing with the Department of the Attorney- General and Justice on 20 May 2019. Following consideration of the evidence, the Committee recommended that the Assembly pass the Bill with the legislative amendments proposed in recommendations 2 – 4.

9 Explanatory Statement, Hemp Industry Bill 2019, https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/91-2019, p.1

10 Hon Paul Kirby MLA, Draft - Daily Hansard – Day 6 – 16 May 2019, http://hdl.handle.net/10070/307368, pp.2-3

11 Explanatory Statement, Construction Contracts (Security of Payments) Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Serial 92), https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/92-2019, p.1

(15)

Outstanding Inquiries

2.27 Recommendation 2 proposed that the Bill be amended to clarify that the meaning of payment claim includes claims for a construction contract that has expired or been terminated for payment of an amount in relation to an accrued right for the contract.

Recommendation 3 proposed that the Bill provide for the Regulations to provide guidance on the relevant factors to be considered by adjudicators when exercising the discretionary powers provided for in proposed section 33(1A). Recommendation 4 proposed that section 38 be amended to require that the content of a determination made under section 33(1)(b) state the reasons that an adjudicator relied upon when proceeding with an application that contained technical deficiencies.

2.28 The Committee tabled its report on 6 August 2019. In responding the Committee’s report the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, the Hon Natasha Fyles MLA, advised that while the Government accepted recommendation 2, it did not support recommendations 3 and 4.12 The Committee’s report, associated minutes of proceedings, subsequent response from the Government, copies of submissions, tabled papers and transcript from the public briefing are available on the Committee’s website at: https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/92-2019.

Electoral Legislation Further Amendment Bill 2019

2.29 On 20 June 2019 the Assembly referred the Electoral Legislation Further Amendment Bill 2019 (Serial 96) to the Committee for inquiry and report by 17 September 2019.13 2.30 This Bill sought to amend the Electoral Act 2004 to establish a new scheme for

political donations and electoral expenditure in the Northern Territory. In addition, it included provisions to implement non-financial electoral reforms to streamline and contemporise the voting and electoral process. The primary aim of these amendments was to provide increased transparency and accountability in relation to electoral activity in the Northern Territory.14

2.31 The Committee received two submissions to its inquiry and held a public briefing with the Department of the Chief Minister on 3 July 2019. Following examination of the Bill and consideration of the evidence, the Committee recommended that the Assembly pass the Bill with five legislative amendments.

2.32 Key areas of concern raised in submissions included the absence of a cap on expenditure by third party campaigners, the requirement for parties and candidates to maintain a Territory campaign account, and the introduction of provisional voting for persons not enrolled to vote on Election Day. Although both submissions supported the intent of the reforms a number of amendments were suggested. The Committee considered all concerns raised in submissions but, after examining the evidence, determined that no amendments were required in relation to the points raised.

12 Government Response, Inquiry into the Construction Contracts (Security of Payments) Legislation Amendment Bill 2019, https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/92-2019

13 The Hon Michael Gunner MLA, Chief Minister, Draft Daily Hansard – Thursday 20 June 2019, http://hdl.handle.net/10070/308154, p.20

14 Explanatory Statement, Electoral Legislation Further Amendment Bill 2019 (Serial 96), https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/96-2019, p.1

(16)

2.33 During its examination of the Bill the Committee did, however, identify a number of technical issues with clauses related to early voting centres, the definition of candidate, and disclosure requirements for persons making donations to candidates.

Consequently, it recommended amendments to these clauses to ensure that the Bill would effectively implement the stated policy intent and would be ‘unambiguous and drafted in a sufficiently clear and precise way’, as per the Committee’s terms of reference.

2.34 The Committee tabled its report in the Assembly on 17 September 2019. As highlighted in the Government’s response to the Committee’s report, all of the Committee’s recommendations regarding legislative amendments were accepted by the Government.15 The Committee’s report, associated minutes of proceedings, Government response, submissions and tabled papers are available on the Committee’s website at https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/96-2019.

Social Policy Scrutiny Committee

2.35 As noted in the Committee’s previous Annual Report16, at the end of the 2018-2019 reporting period the Committee had yet to finalise three Bill inquiries that were due for report in August and September 2019. Following is a summary of the outcomes of those inquires.

Youth Justice and Related Legislation Amendment Bill 2019

2.36 On Wednesday 20 March 2019 the Assembly referred the Youth Justice and Related Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Serial 85) to the Committee for inquiry and report by Thursday 20 June 2019. On 9 May 2019 the Assembly agreed to an extension of the report date to 6 August 2019.

2.37 This Bill sought to amend the Youth Justice Act 2005 and associated regulations, the Bail Act 1982 and associated regulations, and the Police Administration Act 1978. As noted in the Explanatory Statement, the Bill aimed to implement the intention and direction of a further 11 recommendations of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory relating to the youth justice system.17

2.38 The Committee received 26 submissions to its inquiry. All of the submissions received were generally supportive of the intent of the Bill in delivering key reforms as set out in the recommendations of the Royal Commission. However, a number of concerns were raised regarding the extent to which the proposed amendments fully implemented the Royal Commission’s recommendations.

15 Government Response, Inquiry into the Electoral Legislation Further Amendment Bill 2019, 18 September 2019, https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/96-2019#REP

16 Social Policy Scrutiny Committee, Annual Report 2018-2019, Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory, Darwin NT, August 2019, https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/spsc

17 Explanatory Statement, Youth Justice and Related Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Serial 85), https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/spsc/85-2019, p.1

(17)

Outstanding Inquiries

2.39 On 1 April 2019 the Committee held a public briefing with representatives from Territory Families. The Committee also held a public hearing on 30 May 2019 with 21 witnesses appearing. Following examination of the Bill and consideration of the evidence, the Committee recommended that the Assembly pass the Bill with five legislative amendments and one recommendation for action by the Government.

2.40 To summarise, the Committee recommended that regulation 2A of the Bail Regulations 1983 be amended to address the omission of section 130(3A) of the Criminal Code Act 1978 as a ‘prescribed offence.’ To clarify the intended operation of section 8A of the Bail act 1982, the Committee recommended that this section be amended to provide that the presumption in favour of bail for youth is subject to consideration of the matters mentioned in sections 24 and 24A of the Act.

2.41 Acknowledging the concerns of submitters, the Committee also recommended that the Government review the operation of proposed section 137 of the Police Administration Act 1978 and present a report to the Assembly as soon as practicable after the end of its first year of operation. This section sought to implement the intent of Royal Commission recommendation 25.03(2) by legislating a time limit on how long a young person may be held in lawful custody by Police without charge for the purpose of questioning and investigation. Taking into consideration the unique operational realities of the Northern Territory, the Bill favoured a 24 hour time limit before review by a judicial officer is required, rather than setting a lower limit and including ‘carve out’ provisions as is the case in equivalent legislation elsewhere in Australia. However, the majority of submitters raised concerns that the approach taken in the drafting of this provision failed to fully implement the recommendation of the Royal Commission.

2.42 While submitters supported implementation of the Royal Commission’s recommendation to close court proceedings involving young people to the public, concerns were nevertheless raised regarding the extent to which the proposed amendments to section 49 of the Youth Justice Act 2005 supported accountability and transparency of the youth justice system. Consistent with equivalent legislation elsewhere in Australia, and taking into consideration subsequent provisions in section 50 (restriction of publication), the Committee recommended that section 49 be amended to provide that, unless the Court directs otherwise, where proceedings relate to an offence or alleged offence, a genuine representative of the news media may be present.

2.43 The Committee also proposed two amendments to section 50 of the Youth Justice Act 2005. Firstly, to address a minor grammatical drafting error in subsection (2)(b), and secondly to amend the list of particulars that are deemed likely to lead to the identification of youth, witnesses or other parties associated with court proceedings in subsection (7). While the need for a statutory non-publication regime was not disputed by submitters, concerns were raised that, as drafted, the list of particulars was significantly more prescriptive than equivalent provisions elsewhere in Australia.

2.44 While subsection 50(7) replicated section 534(4) of the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 (Vic), shortly after the Bill was introduced the Victorian Parliament repealed this provision on the grounds that it was much broader than analogous provisions in

(18)

other jurisdictions and unduly limited reporting on cases by preventing the publication of matters which may not actually identify a person in a particular case. Noting that the Victorian legislation, as amended, strikes an appropriate balance between protecting a person’s right to privacy, open justice and the freedom of the press to report on details of a court proceeding, the Committee recommended that the Bill be amended to align with the new provisions in Victoria as set out in section 13 of the Open Courts and Other Acts Amendment Act 2019 (Vic).

2.45 Pursuant to Standing Order 200(4) the Committee presented its report to the Speaker on 16 July 2019 for subsequent tabling in the Assembly on 6 August 2019. As highlighted in the Government’s response to the Committee’s report, all of the Committee’s recommendations regarding legislative amendments were accepted by the Government.18 On 3 February 2020, the Minister for Territory Families, the Hon Dale Wakefield MLA, advised the Assembly that the Government accepted recommendation 4, noting that:

the responsible Minister will review and report on the operation of proposed section 137 of the Police Administration Act 1978, to the Legislative Assembly at the end of its first year of operation.19

2.46 The Committee’s report, associated minutes of proceedings, subsequent response from the Government, copies of submissions, tabled papers and transcripts from the public briefing and public hearing are available on the Committee’s website at:

https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/spsc/85-2019.

Education and Care Services (National Uniform Legislation) Amendment Bill 2019

2.47 On Thursday 16 May 2019 the Assembly referred the Education and Care Services (National Uniform Legislation) Amendment Bill 2019 (Serial 93) to the Committee for inquiry and report by Tuesday 6 August 2019.

2.48 This Bill sought to amend the Education and Care Services (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 (NT) and the Education (Infringement Notice) Regulations 2019 to streamline the administration of the Act by amending the mechanism used to adopt the Education and Care Services National Law in the Northern Territory.20

2.49 On 20 May 2019 the Committee held a public briefing with representatives from the Department of Education. No submissions were received to the Committee’s inquiry.

While the Committee recommended that the Assembly pass the Bill, it noted that in providing for adoption of the National Law as in force from time to time, the Bill delegates to the Victorian Parliament the power to amend this law for the Northern Territory. In the event that a provision of the National Law or associated regulations is not considered to be in the best interests of the Northern Territory, the Department

18 Government Response, Inquiry into the Youth Justice and Related Legislation Amendment Bill 2019, 18 September 2019, https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/spsc/85-2019

19 Government Response, Recommendation 4 – Inquiry into the Youth Justice and Related Legislation Amendment Bill, 3 February 2020, https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/spsc/85-2019, p.1

20 Explanatory Statement, Education and Care Services (National Uniform Legislation) Amendment Bill 2019 (Serial 93), https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/spsc/93-2019, p.1

(19)

Outstanding Inquiries

of Education advised the Committee that the Legislative Assembly may amend the Act so that the provision in question does not apply.

2.50 The Committee presented its report to the Speaker on 2 July 2019 for subsequent tabling in the Assembly on 6 August 2019. The Committee’s report and associated minutes of proceedings, tabled papers and transcript from the public briefing are available on the Committee’s website at: https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/spsc/93- 2019.

Environment Protection Bill 2019

2.51 On Thursday 16 May 2019 the Assembly referred the Environment Protection Bill 2019 (Serial 94) to the Committee for inquiry and report by Tuesday 6 August 2019.

On 20 June 2019 the Assembly agreed to extend the report date to 17 September 2019.21

2.52 This Bill sought to establish the Environment Protection Act 2019. Repealing the Environmental Assessment Act 1982 and the Environmental Assessment Amendment Act 1994, the purpose of the Bill was to:

support implementation of Government’s environmental regulatory reform commitments by reforming the Territory’s environmental impact assessment and approval process.22

2.53 The Committee received 46 submissions to its inquiry, including 21 proforma submissions. On 20 May 2019 the Committee held a public briefing with representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The Committee also held a public hearing on 29 July 2019 with 21 witnesses appearing.

2.54 Although the majority of submissions supported reform of the NT’s environmental management framework, clarification was sought regarding the intended operation of various provisions within the Bill. Submitters also put forward a number of suggestion as to how the Bill might be improved. Following examination of the Bill and consideration of the evidence received, the Committee recommended that the Assembly pass the Bill with 14 amendments.

2.55 Recommendations 2 – 5, 7 – 9, and 15 sought to strengthen provisions and ensure that the Bill promoted transparency and accountability in the environmental impact assessment and approval process. For example, in the absence of climate change legislation, the majority of submitters expressed particular concern that the Bill was silent on the issue of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. While noting that these matters are inherent in several of the principles of ecologically sustainable development that decision makers are required to consider in the environmental impact assessment and approval process, recommendation 2 proposed that clause 42(b) be amended to specifically reference the impacts of a changing climate as a matter to be taken into account when assessing, planning and carrying out actions that may have a significant impact on the environment.

21 Daily Hansard, Day 1 – Thursday 20 June 2019, http://www.territorystories.nt.gov.au/jspui/handle/10070/308154, p.12

22 Explanatory Statement, Environment Protection Bill 2019 (Serial 94), https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/spsc/94-2019, p.1

(20)

2.56 The Northern and Central Land Councils also suggested that in determining whether a person is fit and proper to hold an environmental approval, clause 62(a)(i) should be amended to provide that, in addition to the matters listed, the Minister may also have regard to whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that the person has contravened a law of the Territory or another jurisdiction that relates to Aboriginal heritage and culture, including Aboriginal sacred sites. As such, recommendation 7 proposed that this clause be amended accordingly.

2.57 Recommendations 10, 11 and 14 aimed to ensure that the Bill was unambiguous and drafted in a sufficiently clear and precise manner. For example, Ward Keller raised concern that, as drafted, clause 142 regarding directions by the CEO to carry out an environmental audit was somewhat vague and open ended. To clarify the intended operation of the legislation, recommendation 11 proposed that clause 142 be amended to more closely align it with section 458 of the Commonwealth’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

2.58 Recommendation 6 sought to address the Committee’s concerns regarding the extent to which provisions in the Bill had sufficient regard to the institution of Parliament in relation to the appropriate delegation and parliamentary oversight of legislative power. The Committee was particularly concerned that clauses 36, 38 and 39 regarding the declaration and revocation of protected environmental areas and prohibited actions, confer decision making power on the Administrator which is inconsistent with section 32(3) of the Northern Territory (Self Government) Act 1978 (Cth) and section 34(1) of the Interpretation Act 1978 (NT).

2.59 Given the potential impact on development, the Committee was also concerned that the Bill did not require that such declarations and revocations, including the associated statements of reason, be tabled and subject to scrutiny by the Parliament.

Further, while the Bill provided that the Minister must publish statements of reasons, it did not specify a timeframe within which this must occur. The Committee therefore recommended that these clauses be amended accordingly.

2.60 Finally, recommendations 12 and 13 sought to ensure that the Bill had sufficient regard to the rights and liberties of individuals in relation to the delegation of administrative power to appropriately qualified environmental officers, and ensuring that search warrants may only be issued by a judicial officer.

2.61 The Committee tabled its report in the Assembly on Tuesday 17 September 2019. In responding to the report the Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, the Hon Eva Lawler MLA, advised that the Government accepted all of the Committee’s recommendations.23

2.62 The Committee’s report, associated minutes of proceedings, subsequent response from the Government, copies of submissions, tabled papers and transcripts from the public briefing and public hearing are available on the Committee’s website at:

https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/spsc/94-2019.

23 Government Response, Inquiry into the Environment Protection Bill 2019, 19 September 2019, https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/spsc/94-2019

(21)

Bill Referrals

Bill Referrals Introduction

3.1 Over the reporting period the Assembly referred a total of 28 Bills for inquiry and report. In accordance with clause 13(4)(c) of its Terms of Reference, following examination of a Bill the Committee is required to determine:

(i) whether the Assembly should pass the bill;

(ii) whether the Assembly should amend the bill;

(iii) whether the bill has sufficient regard to the rights and liberties of individuals; and

(iv) whether the bill has sufficient regard to the institution of Parliament.

To facilitate the Bill inquiry process, the Committee adopted a Standard Procedure for Bill Inquiries (see Appendix A).

3.2 Following is an overview of Bills referred to the Economic and Social Policy Scrutiny Committees and the Legislation Scrutiny Committee during the reporting period, the outcome of the Committees’ considerations and subsequent responses by the Government.

Economic Policy Scrutiny Committee

3.3 As detailed below, from 1 July 2018 to 27 November 2019 when the committee was dissolved, the Assembly referred eight Bills to the Economic Policy Scrutiny Committee for inquiry and report.

Transport Legislation Amendment Bill 2019

3.4 On 7 August 2019 the Assembly referred the Transport Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Serial 98) to the Committee for inquiry and report by 15 October 2019.24 3.5 This Bill implemented Tranche 2 of three tranches of work arising from a legislative

review undertaken by the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics. The main purpose of the Bill was to remedy identified shortcomings in the legislation relating to road safety, police enforcement and clarification of statutory obligations.25 3.6 The Committee received one submission to its inquiry which expressed support for

the Bill. A public briefing was held with the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics on 21 August 2019.

3.7 In reviewing the Bill the Committee identified a number of potential issues and sought legal advice to clarify whether the provisions in the Bill had sufficient regard to the rights and liberties of individuals and were unambiguous and drafted in a sufficiently clear and precise way. Following consideration of the evidence received, the

24 Hon. Eva Lawler MLA, Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics, Draft - Daily Hansard – Day 2 – 7 August 2019, http://hdl.handle.net/10070/753831, p.5

25 Explanatory Statement and Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights, Transport Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Serial 98), https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/98-2019, p.1

(22)

Committee recommended that the Assembly pass the Bill with six legislative amendments.

3.8 To summarise, clause 14 which deemed a licence holder who occupies the front passenger seat next to a learner driver (other than a driving instructor under s 19(1) of the Traffic Act) to be the driver for the purposes of the offences under Part V of the Traffic Act. The Department advised the Committee that this provision was aimed at supervising drivers not learner and provisional licence holders. While the Committee agreed with the intention of this provision it noted that the wording could inappropriately result in the holders of learner and provisional licences being treated as supervising drivers. As such, recommendation 3 proposed that section 19(7) be amended such that it only applies to a person who is over the age of 18 and is a holder of a full licence.

3.9 Recommendation 5 related to clause 28 which enabled a police officer to require a person to provide a blood sample if they had previously been required to submit to a breath test or breath analysis but the breath analysis instrument had malfunctioned.

This is an invasive procedure and it is questionable that a blood sample should be requested without the officer having cause to believe that there is a relevant concentration of alcohol in the person’s breath or blood. The Department advised that this provision was only intended to apply to a person who was required to submit to a breath analysis. A breath analysis may be required after a person fails a breath test, fails to give a sufficient sample for a breath test, or where police had a reasonable cause to suspect that a driver was impaired by alcohol. As such, the Committee recommended that proposed section 29AAG(1)(ab) be amended to remove the words ‘breath test or’.

3.10 Other amendments recommended by the Committee related to: the absence of provisions for breath or drug testing of driving instructors when they are supervising a learner driver (Recommendation 2); inconsistencies in offence provisions for driving instructors (Recommendation 4); and exemptions from provisions of the Act (Recommendation 6).

3.11 Pursuant to Standing Order 200(4), the Committee presented its report to the Speaker on 11 October 2019 for subsequent tabling in the Assembly on 15 October 2020. As highlighted in the Government’s response to the Committee’s report, all of the Committee’s recommendations regarding legislative amendments were accepted by the Government.26 The Committee’s report, associated minutes of proceedings, subsequent response from the Government, copies of submissions and the transcript of the public briefing are available on the Committee’s website at:

https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/98-2019.

26 Government Response, Inquiry into the Transport Legislation Amendment Bill 2019, 17 October 2019, https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/98-2019#REP, p. 43

(23)

Bill Referrals

Water Further Amendment Bill 2019

3.12 On 14 August 2019 the Assembly referred the Water Further Amendment Bill 2019 (Serial 100) to the Committee for inquiry and report by 15 October 2019.27

3.13 This Bill sought to implement the Government’s commitment to reinstate Strategic Aboriginal Water Reserves by embedding the Strategic Aboriginal Water Reserve Policy Framework into Water Act 1992. The purpose of this Bill was to:

capture aspects of the Northern Territory Government’s Strategic Aboriginal Water Reserves Policy Framework (October 2017) into legislation to ensure that strategic Aboriginal water reserves remain an enduring requirement of water allocation plans made under the Water Act 1992.28

3.14 The Committee received eight submissions to its inquiry. On the 21 August 2019 the Committee held a public briefing with representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The Committee also held a public hearing on 24 September 2019 with six witnesses appearing.

3.15 Five of the submissions supported the Bill but suggested amendments or raised concerns for future review while the remaining submissions raised issues that were not within the scope of the Bill. The primary issues raised in submissions concerned the scope of the definitions for “eligible Aboriginal people”, “eligible land” and

“Aboriginal economic development” and the degree to which these definitions adequately represented the interests of Aboriginal people, taking into account that not all Aboriginal people have land rights or exclusive native title.

3.16 The determination of “eligible land” is central to the operation of Aboriginal water reserves. Eligible land is clearly defined in the Bill and includes Aboriginal land as defined in the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1993 (Cth); land under an exclusive possession native title determination; and Aboriginal land (Northern Territory enhanced freehold). “Eligible Aboriginal people” are those who have rights to, or a connection to, one of these three land tenures. Land under a non-exclusive possession native title determination is not considered to be eligible land. This exclusion was challenged by two submitters who noted that the majority of native title determinations in the Northern Territory are non-exclusive determinations over pastoral leases.

3.17 The Committee acknowledged these concerns but noted that the purpose of the Policy Framework is to promote the capacity of Aboriginal people to conduct water dependent commercial developments. Commercial developments on non-exclusive native title land would require the agreement of other rights holders, most commonly the pastoral lease holder and may impede the setting up of commercial developments. This could have an adverse impact on the ability to achieve the main aim of the Policy Framework which is to facilitate water-related Aboriginal economic development. Consequently, while the Committee considered that further exploration

27 Hon Eva Lawler MLA, Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, Draft - Daily Hansard – Day 5 – 14 August 2019, http://hdl.handle.net/10070/753835, p.4

28 Explanatory Statement, Water Further Amendment Bill 2019 (Serial 100), https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/100-2019, p.1

(24)

of opportunities to advance economic development for non-exclusive native title rights holders is warranted, it did not fall within the scope of the Bill.

3.18 The Committee recommended amendments to clauses 6 and 7 of the Bill to reduce ambiguity and to ensure the intent of the clauses was clear. Following examination of the Bill, and consideration of the evidence received, the Committee recommended that the Assembly pass the Bill with the legislative amendments proposed in recommendations 2 and 3.

3.19 Pursuant to Standing Order 200(4), the Committee presented its report to the Speaker on 14 October 2019 for subsequent tabling in the Assembly on 15 October 2020. As highlighted in the Government’s response to the Committee’s report, both of the Committee’s recommendations regarding legislative amendments were accepted by the Government.29 The Committee’s report, associated minutes of proceedings, Government response, copies of submissions and transcript of the public briefing and hearing are available on the Committee’s website at:

https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/100-2019#PB.

Sex Industry Bill 2019

3.20 On 18 September 2019 the Assembly referred the Sex Industry Bill 2019 (Serial 105) to the Committee for inquiry and report by 26 November 2019.

3.21 The Bill sought to repeal the Prostitution Regulation Act 1992 and establish a regulatory framework for the provision of sex work in the Northern Territory. The purpose of the Bill was to decriminalise sex work; legalise sex work contracts;

enhance worker, client and public health safety; prohibit exploitation of sex workers;

prohibit the use of children in sex work; and ‘enable the sex industry to operate in accordance with the laws of the Territory and the Commonwealth as they apply to all individuals and businesses generally’.30

3.22 The inquiry generated significant community interest, with 46 submissions received by the Committee. On 24 of September 2019 the Committee held a public briefing with representatives from the Department of the Attorney-General and Justice. The Committee also held a public hearing on 29 October 2019 with 18 witnesses appearing before the Committee. Following examination of the Bill, and consideration of the evidence received, the Committee recommended that the Assembly pass the Bill with the legislative amendments proposed in recommendations 2 and 3.

3.23 While the majority of submissions supported the Bill they also proposed a number of amendments. Submissions reflected a clear polarisation of views on whether the most effective way to regulate the industry was through decriminalisation or through partial criminalisation as adopted in Sweden.

3.24 The key issues raised with respect to the clauses in the Bill concerned suitability certificates, advertising, spent convictions and anti-discrimination measures. In

29 Government Response, Inquiry into the Water Further Amendment Bill 2019, 16 October 2019, https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/100-2019#REP

30 Explanatory Statement, Sex Industry Bill 2019 (Serial 105), https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/105-2019, p.4

(25)

Bill Referrals

addition, the Committee’s legal counsel raised technical issues in relation to offences prohibiting the involvement of children in sex work and the requirement for sex services businesses to hold suitability certificates. The majority of recommendations made by the Committee were of a technical nature and aimed to ensure that clauses were unambiguous and drafted in a sufficiently clear and precise manner.

3.25 Recommendations 2 and 4 were of particular importance. Recommendation 2 aimed to ensure that there was no risk that a child involved in sex work could be prosecuted while Recommendation 4 proposed that penalties for non-compliance with the requirement to hold a suitability certificate be prescribed in the regulations. The Committee further proposed that the legislation be reviewed between 3-5 years after commencement (Recommendation 6). The Government accepted all six recommendations made by the Committee.31

3.26 Pursuant to Standing Order 200(4), the Committee presented its report to the Speaker on 20 November 2019 for subsequent tabling in the Assembly on 26 November 2019. The Committee’s report, associated minutes of proceedings, Government response, copies of submissions and transcripts of the public briefing and hearing are available on the Committee’s website at:

https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/105-2019#PB.

Firearms Legislation Amendment Bill 2019

3.27 On 18 September 2019 the Assembly referred the Firearms Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Serial 106) to the Economic Policy Scrutiny Committee for inquiry and report by 26 November 2019.

3.28 The Bill amended the Firearms Act 1997 (NT) and the Firearms Regulations 1997 (NT) and introduced a new firearm prohibition order scheme to enable the Commissioner of Police to make an order prohibiting an individual from acquiring, having possession of, or using any firearm or firearm related item. The Bill also increased maximum penalties for certain offences and expanded the scope of disqualifying offences.32

3.29 The Committee held a public briefing with representatives from the Northern Territory Police Force on 24 September 2019 and received four submissions to its inquiry.

Although three of the submissions supported the Bill with amendments, Civil Liberties Australia expressed the view that the Bill should not be passed.

3.30 Key issues raised during the inquiry concerned the expansive powers provided to police and the associated infringement of human rights. Particular concern was expressed regarding the search powers the Bill sought to provide to police, with the Bill seeking to enable these powers to be exercised, without warrant or consent, if police deem the exercise of the power to be “reasonably required” to determine whether a person with a firearms protection order is contravening the order.

31 Government Response, Inquiry into the Sex Industry Bill 2019, 26 November 2019, https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/105-2019

32 Explanatory Statement, Firearms Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Serial 106), https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/106-2019, p.1

(26)

3.31 While acknowledging these concerns the Committee noted that there are precedents for such infringements, particularly in relation to preventing criminal conduct that threatens public safety. The Committee also considered there to be sufficient safeguards against inappropriate use of the powers and noted that the Bill provided for the Ombudsman to review the exercise of police powers within two years after commencement and that NT Police would be implementing mandatory training on Firearm Protection Orders for relevant officers.

3.32 Following examination of the Bill, and consideration of the evidence received, the Committee recommended that the Assembly pass the Bill with the legislative amendments proposed in recommendations 2 to 7.

3.33 Five of the proposed amendments were technical in nature and sought to ensure the Bill was unambiguous and drafted in a sufficiently clear and precise manner.

Recommendation 7 proposed an amendment to provide that the Police Commissioner’s powers in relation to firearm protection orders could only be delegated to a police officer at the level of superintendent or higher. Although the Committee considered it may be necessary to allow some infringement of human rights, it noted that as the Bill made rights and liberties dependent on administrative power, it is essential to ensure that the power is sufficiently defined and subject to appropriate review.

3.34 The Committee tabled its report in the Assembly on 26 November 2019. In responding to the report the Minister for Police Fire and Emergency Services, the Hon Nicole Manison MLA, advised that five of the six amendments recommended by the Committee had been accepted.33

3.35 The Committee’s report, associated minutes of proceedings, Government response, copies of submissions and transcripts of the public briefing are available on the Committee’s website at: https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/106-2019.

Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Amendment Bill 2019 3.36 On 19 September 2019 the Assembly referred the Work Health and Safety (National

Uniform Legislation) Amendment Bill 2019 (Serial 103) to the Committee for inquiry and report by 26 November 2019.

3.37 The primary purpose of the Bill was to amend the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 to create a new offence of industrial manslaughter.34 Under the Criminal Code, individuals can be charged with manslaughter for a workplace death, however, the maximum penalty of life imprisonment cannot be converted to a financial penalty to be applied to bodies corporate found guilty of manslaughter. In the Bill’s draft form, the offence provision was to apply to any person who breached a health and safety duty where the breach caused the death of a

33 Government Response, Inquiry into the Firearms Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 (Serial 106), 19 September 2019, https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/106-2019#REP.

34 Explanatory Statement, Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Amendment Bill 2019 (Serial 103), https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/103-2019, p.1

(27)

Bill Referrals

person to whom a duty was owed. As initially drafted, the offence provision would apply to workers, senior officers and bodies corporate.

3.38 The Committee received 14 submissions to its inquiry, held a public briefing on 24 September 2019 and held public hearings on 18 November 2019. Evidence was provided to the Committee from trade unions, peak business organisations and legal organisations. The trade unions supported the creation of the offence of industrial manslaughter, however, recommended the offence provision only apply to senior officers and persons conducting a business or undertaking, while peak business organisations considered that there was no evidence to suggest that the creation of the offence would improve workplace health and safety.

3.39 Following consideration of the evidence received, the Committee recommended that the Assembly pass the Bill with three amendments. These amendments sought to include a definition of ‘causes the death’ consistent with the definition contained within the Criminal Code. The Committee also recommended that the regulator be required to seek the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions for any prosecution under the Act in relation to a death caused by a breach of a health and safety duty, and that there be a mechanism for a matter involving a death to be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions where a person has been advised that a prosecution will not be brought. The Committee further recommended that the government investigate and adopt appropriate codes of practice to provide clear guidance on safe work practices.

3.40 The Committee tabled its report in the Assembly on 26 November 2019. In responding to the report the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, the Hon Natasha Fyles MLA, advised that the Government accepted all of the Committee’s recommendations for legislative amendments.35 The Assembly also amended the offence provision to only apply to a person conducting a business or undertaking or an officer of a person conducting a business or undertaking. The result of this amendment is that a worker cannot be charged with industrial manslaughter for a breach of a health and safety duty, however, they can still be charged with manslaughter under the Criminal Code.36

3.41 On the 3 March 2020, the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, further advised that the Government had considered recommendation 5, noting that:

On 26 February 2020, I approved the adoption of the updated model Codes of Practice, including those the Northern Territory had not yet adopted

The adoption will be gazetted in the next available general Northern Territory Government Gazette. The Codes of Practice will also be published in full on the NT Worksafe website.37

35 Government Response, Inquiry into the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Amendment Bill 2019, https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/103-2019

36 Daily Hansard, Wednesday 27 November 2019,

https://www.territorystories.nt.gov.au/jspui/handle/10070/755087, pp.79-87

37 Government Response, Recommendation 5 – Inquiry into the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Amendment Bill 2019, 3 March 2020, https://parliament.nt.gov.au/committees/EPSC/103- 2019#REP, p.1

References

Related documents

disadvantage have special resonance for the Australian Aboriginal community, where the construct, the best interests of the child, has been applied and has resulted in an

The Swedish school authorities have drawn attention to this work and designated the school ‘the best school in Sweden working for equal value 2008’. Student empowerment, child’s

The total ABC contribution to Australian screen drama, combined with approximately $125 million in external funding, delivered up to $244 million in production value to

Sessional Com m ittee on the Environm ent 79.. A strong research and development effort, particularly into the integration of control methods, is essential to the

The OCA has consistently identified that the risk posed by the methylamphetamine market, and in particular crystal methylamphetamine, is very high and continues to

At a meeting of the Legislative Assembly Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in November 2005 the Northern Territory Statehood Steering

• Number of complaints regarding Jacana Energy and Power and Water Corporation. • Number of inquiries regarding changes to

On 21 November 1996 the Northern Territory Attorney General and Minister for Health, Mr Burke, tabled in the Legislative Assembly a draft Kava Management Bill 1996, and at the same

3.5 The Committee received one submission to its inquiry from the Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission which supported passage of the Bill as drafted. On 10 September 2018

• Aboriginal employees in Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities. • Hermannsburg

Sub-section 2(a) would then read “to examine the accounts o f the receipts and expenditure o f the Northern Territory including financial statements transmitted to

1 Hon Natasha Fyles MLA, Minister for Health, Tobacco Control Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 (Serial 56), Hansard Debates, Explanatory Speech, Northern Territory Legislative

The Committee recommends that Part 5, Division 9 be amended to require that, in addition to the proposed consultation requirements in clause 107, before amending an

This annual report advises the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory of the activities, staffing and operations of the Standing Committee on Legal and

(3) The Committee shall examine only those accounts of receipts and expenditure of the Northern Territory and reports of the Auditor-General for financial years commencing after

Madam CHAIR: Mr Khattra says that you stopped allowing him to drive your taxi because he was a witness at the inquiry, the Public Accounts Committee, in to the taxi industry, what is

Ms LAWRIE (Leader of Government Business): Madam Speaker, I move – That, the Assembly refer the following matters to the Standing Orders Committee for inquiry and report to

The Statehood Steering Committee (SSC) was an Advisory Committee to the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs (LCAC) and

Ms Sandra Nelson MLA, Member for Katherine Mr Chansey Paech MLA, Member for Namatjira Apologies: Ms Ngaree Ah Kit MLA, Chair, Member for Karama Secretariat: Julia Knight,

1) that the Committee of the Legislative Assembly inquire into and report to the Legislative Assembly by 25 February 2016 on issues raised in recommendation

5.15 At the time of Mr C’s requests for access to the NDIS, the NDIA did not have any policy or guideline dealing specifically with incarcerated individuals and access to the NDIS.

(1) Until a person receives remuneration, allowances and other entitlements in accordance with an Act, he or she shall receive in respect of his or her services as a member of the

existence. In making such an estimate, the Government Printer was requested to take as understood that each author body would have its report printed by the