Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee

Alert Digest No 6 of 2007

Ministerial Correspondence

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Accident Towing Services Bill 2007

The Bill was introduced into the Legislative Assembly on 17 April 2007, by the Hon. Tim Pallas MLA. The Committee considered the Bill on 30 April 2007 and made the following comments in Alert Digest No. 5 of 2007 tabled in the Parliament on 1 May 2007.

Committee’s Comment

[2]

The Committee reports to Parliament pursuant to a term of reference provided in section 17(a)(vi) of the Parliamentary Committees Act 2003, – ‘inappropriately delegates legislative power’.

The Committee notes that the overwhelming majority of provisions in the Bill have a delayed commencement provision up to 1 January 2009.

The Committee refers to its Practice Note No. 1 of October 2005 in respect to delayed commencement provisions greater than one year from Royal Assent and notes that it will routinely request explanatory material where a provision infringes the one year rule.

The Committee will write to the Minister seeking further advice concerning the necessity or desirability for such a delayed commencement provision.

Pending the Minister’s response the Committee draws attention to the commencement provision.

Minister’s Response

Thank you for your letter of 1 May 2007 concerning the delayed commencement provision in this Bill.

Delayed commencements are common and necessary for major Bills so that agencies have the time to do all the things necessary to implement new policy and legislation.

The types of things required to be done to implement the Accident Towing Services Bill include –

  • developing and making supporting regulations, including a regulatory impact statement and a mandatory public comment process;

  • developing and making new accreditation standards including a mandatory public comment process;

  • database and other IT changes;

  • new delegations and authorisations;

  • training and guidance activity and materials; and

  • communications with industry and other enforcement agencies, eg Victoria Police.

The Accident Towing Services Bill is a major proposal. It is an elaborate Bill which introduces significant changes to the regulation of the towing industry in Victoria such as introducing a new role based accreditation scheme of the accident towing industry, deregulation of the trade towing sector and introducing new compliance measures.

It will take a considerable amount of time to implement the changes and the default commencement date of the Bill was structured accordingly. While it is highly probable that the Bill will commence well before 1 January 2009, sufficient time has been provided to allow for completion of all implementation tasks including potential contingencies, so there will be no need to return to Parliament.

Tim Pallas MP
Minister for Roads and Ports

18 May 2007

The Committee thanks the Minister for this response.

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Fair Trading and Consumer Acts Amendment Bill 2007

The Bill was introduced into the Legislative Assembly on 17 April 2007, by Mr Daniel Andrews MLA. The Committee considered the Bill on 30 April 2007 and made the following comments in Alert Digest No. 5 of 2007 tabled in the Parliament on 1 May 2007.

Committee’s Comments

[11 and 157]

Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities

The Committee observes that the Statement of Compatibility noted that a number of provisions in the Bill may reasonably engage Charter rights.

The Committee notes that clause 11 amending section 157 will allow certain facts determined at an ex parte injunctive stage of proceedings to be used in later proceedings for final orders. The Committee is concerned to ensure that a party not present at earlier proceedings is not in any way disadvantaged by not being able to challenge at a final hearing or determination, a finding of fact made at the earlier proceeding.

The Committee will seek further advice from the Minister.

Pending the Minister’s response the Committee draws attention to the provision.

Minister's Response

Thank you for your letter of 1 May in which you seek my advice concerning clause 11 of the above Bill.

I am advised by my Department that, while clause 11 of the Bill will extend section 157 to apply to sections 149A, 151A and 151B, section 149A is the only one of these three sections that allows for ex parte applications. Prior to making a determination under section 149A the Act states that the court must be satisfied that a person is engaging in or has been engaging in certain types of conduct set out in the section, which is a substantial evidentiary threshold to pass in the first instance. I am further advised that if a party was not present at the earlier proceedings, the court has the power under the Court Rules (the Supreme and the County Court) to set aside an order made under section 149A in the interests of natural justice. Furthermore, I am advised that the effect of section 157 is that a finding of fact from previous proceedings is evidence of the fact and such evidence may be rebutted.
I hope this advice will allay the Committee’s concerns.

HON DANIEL ANDREWS MP
MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS

3 May 2007

The Committee thanks the Minister for this response.

Committee Room
21 May 2007

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Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee
Parliament of Victoria