23 June 2011

The Simon Corbell megamix. Four new laws.

| johnboy
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Simon Corbell’s office have smashed out four media releases on new laws they’ve pumped into The Fastest Law In The West (aka the ACT Legislative Assembly). Hold onto your hats, some of this stuff is important:

Unit titles laws get a makeover:

“This Bill aims to simplify the law in relation to unit titles in the ACT, making the current provisions easier to access, read and understand, using plain English.”

The Bill moves provisions about the management of units plans into a separate Act, so that they are more
accessible for users of the legislation, such as unit owners, executive committee members and owners
corporation managers.

Mr Corbell said that while most of the Bill consisted of reorganising and redrafting provisions, some new
provisions had been introduced.

Key features of the new provisions include:
• removing unnecessary barriers to the adoption of sustainability measures and utility infrastructure;
• introducing a code of conduct for executive committee members;
• changing the resolution for annual administrative and special purpose fund budget approval from special
to ordinary, removing an excessive restriction on managing owners corporation funds;
• clarifying financial provisions to clearly link budgets, contributions and expenditure;
• providing guidance for ACAT approval of developer control period contracts; and,
• clarifying insurance requirements.

Tenant blacklists:

“This legislation clearly sets out the breaches of a residential tenancy agreement where a former tenant can be listed on a database, and also clarifies how a person who has been listed can have the listing amended or removed,” Mr Corbell said.

Under these laws, a former tenant could only be listed where the tenant has breached the agreement in a way that results in either the lessor being owed an amount of money that is more than the rental bond paid or the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal terminating the agreement.

Mr Corbell said the legislation provided protection for both lessors and tenants and streamlined the way that the laws are administered around Australia.

“It ensures that tenants are not listed for petty reasons, it also allows lessors to list former tenants where the tenant’s breaches are so serious that the lessor has been left out-of-pocket or the lease has been terminated by the ACAT,” Mr Corbell said.

“This Bill also introduces new requirements on real estate agents and lessors to disclose to tenancy applicants the details of any databases used by the agency or the lessor, and to inform a tenancy applicant if he or she is found in a tenancy database.

Families and the coroner:

The Bill introduces a clear statement of objectives of the coronial process, explains the role and functions of the Coroners Court, clarifies the role of the lawyer assisting the court, and makes a number of procedural changes to improve the flow of coronial matters. Other amendments aim to keep families better informed of the process, and of the outcomes, of coronial proceedings.

Establishing an ACT Solicitor-General:

“All other Australian jurisdictions, including the Northern Territory, have an independent statutory Solicitor-General and this is an important change to properly recognise the work of the Solicitor General, and bring the ACT into line with all other Australian jurisdictions.

“The current role of the Government Solicitor has grown, particularly with the increasing complexity of the constitutional framework in which the ACT operates, and the introduction of the Human Rights Act 2004.

“This has seen the Government Solicitor engage at the highest national levels in relation to legal advice provided to all governments.”

Mr Corbell said that the size of the ACT presented an opportunity to make the role more efficient with one person performing both roles of Solicitor-General and Government Solicitor at this time.

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