Chief Minister Gallagher is blowing the trumpet for the latest year gone past in the Legislative Assembly.
Here’s what she considers to be the highlights:
Health Amendment Bill 2011
The Bill sought to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and quality of health services in the ACT and allowed for the establishment of the Local Hospital Network Council.
Smoking in Cars with Children (Prohibition) Bill 2011
This Bill made it an offence to smoke in a car when children are present. Enforcement will be undertaken by ACT Policing through issuing infringement notices. The ban may limit rights protected by the Human Rights Act 2004, which may be considered proportionate.
Working with Vulnerable People (Background Checking) Act 2011
The purpose of the Act is to reduce the risk of harm to vulnerable people by establishing the ACT’s first mandatory background checking and risk assessment system for people working with children and vulnerable adults in the ACT. It is the first background system in Australia to include checking for people working with vulnerable adults. People working with children will be checked first, beginning from the end of 2012. Registration is available for three years and is transferable across workplaces.
Education & Care Services National Law Act 2011
The National Law establishes a streamlined regulatory framework and new national quality standards for education and care services including preschool and long day care services. The law focuses on improving children’s educational and developmental outcomes by providing for new educator qualification requirements and more educators working with children. The law also establishes a public ratings system for services based on the standards to make choices about the quality of services easier for families. The transition to the new standards starts from 1 January 2012.
Work Health and Safety Bill 2011
This Bill repealed the Work Safety Act 2008 and created a similar scheme to protect the health and safety of workers. Through this Bill the Government committed to ensuring the safety of all workers in the ACT and providing an environment for workers that is safe and healthy, protects them from injury and illness and provides for their physical and psychological needs. Italso ensures that businesses in the ACT are able to operate with confidence and reduced red tape and compliance costs while continuing to ensure the safety of their workers.
The Bill formed part of the national reform agenda that will result in harmonised workplace safety laws across Australia and is particularly important for the businesses here that operate across the border into New South Wales and beyond. The Bill was based on a model bill that was developed through consultation with industry, unions, all states and territories and the general public before being endorsed by the Workplace Relations Ministerial Council.
Education Amendment Bill 2011
The Education Amendment Bill 2011 addressed two major initiatives that have occurred in our public school preschool units over the last three years. The first is the amalgamation of public preschool units into our public primary schools. The second is the introduction of the Education and Care Services National Law (ACT) Act 2011 which implements the national quality framework across the majority of education and care services in the territory. For the first time, ACT public preschool units will be included under this legislation.
The ACT has led the way across Australia in terms of support for preschool education. There are now 76 preschool sites across public schools in the ACT, delivering education to over 4,100 children in the territory, as reported in the February 2011census.
ACT Teacher Quality Amendment Bill 2011
The ACT Teacher Quality Institute Act 2010 established the ACT Teacher Quality Institute, which began operations this year, to work with teachers in all schools-public, independent and Catholic. The institute ensures standards of teachers in ACT schools are upheld and that professional development is promoted. The key initial function of the Teacher Quality Institute is to register or give a permit to teach to all teachers working or seeking to work in ACT schools. However the Act did not allow for the assessment of spent convictions. This amendment Bill allowed for the assessment of spent convictions in the criminal history checks for teachers wishing to be registered as a teacher or seeking a permit to teach in ACT schools.
Dangerous Substances Amendment Bill 2010
The purpose of this Bill was to clarify what should be treated as asbestos for the purposes of regulation. Many people would assume it is a simple matter to identify what is and what is not asbestos and may not be aware that asbestos is actually a naturally occurring silicate that can be present in a range of minerals. The new definition of asbestos as set out in the bill applies to both the Dangerous Substances Act 2004 and the dangerous substances general regulation. The new definition was formulated following consultation with officers from other jurisdictions and is consistent with the advice provided by the Commonwealth.
Electricity Feed-in (Renewable Energy Premium) Amendment Bill 2010
This legislation that has made it easier for more people in the ACT to access the nation leading feed-in tariff scheme under the new category of medium scale generation.
Electricity Feed In (Large Scale Renewable Energy Generation) Bill 2011
The passage of this Bill through the Legislative Assembly allows the Labor Government to move ahead with its vision to make Canberra Australia’s solar capital and start to make the shift from non-renewable energies to clean alternatives.
Planning and Building Legislation Amendment Bill
This Bill introduces pre-requisites for public consultation by development proponents before a development application can be lodged.
Unit Title (Management) Bill 2011
This Bill assists owners, managers and others involved in managing the units plan to better understand their respective roles in the day-to-day activities of managing units plan. The Bill also makes consequential amendments to a number of Territory laws.
This Bill amended the Crimes Act 1900 and the Supreme Court Act 1933 by identifying a class of offences where an election to be tried by judge alone cannot be made. The excluded offences comprise charges involving the death of a person and charges of a sexual nature. The amendments also increased several penalties relating to sexual offences.
Crimes (Certain Penalty Increases) Amendment Act
This Bill saw an increase to the maximum penalty for culpable driving causing death from 7 years to 14 years and the maximum penalty for culpable driving causing grievous bodily harm from 4 years to 10 years.