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Parliamentary Committees and Inquiries Acts Amendment Bill 2015

     Parliamentary Committees and
   Inquiries Acts Amendment Bill 2015

                        Introduction Print


              EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM


                                  General
The Parliamentary Committees and Inquiries Acts Amendment Bill 2015
amends the Parliamentary Committees Act 2003 to merge 6 existing Joint
Investigatory Committees into 3 new Committees. The Bill also amends the
Inquiries Act 2014 to make minor and technical changes.
                               Clause Notes

                    Part 1--Preliminary
Clause 1   states the purposes of the Bill.

Clause 2   is the commencement provision. The amendments in the Bill
           will commence operation on the day after the day on which the
           Act receives the Royal Assent.


Part 2--Parliamentary Committees Act 2003
Clause 3   inserts a new definition of regional Victoria into section 3 of the
           Parliamentary Committees Act 2003. The definition is
           currently located in section 16 of the Parliamentary
           Committees Act 2003, which establishes the Rural and Regional
           Committee. As the Bill repeals that section as a result of creating
           a new Environment, Natural Resources and Regional
           Development Committee, the definition of regional Victoria has
           been moved to section 3, which defines other terms used in the
           Parliamentary Committees Act 2003. Moving the definition to
           section 3 ensures that the definition applies throughout the
           Parliamentary Committees Act 2003, as it is also relevant to
           the new Economic, Education, Jobs and Skills Committee.

581025                                1       BILL LA INTRODUCTION 10/2/2015

 


 

The definition of regional Victoria has also been amended to include any other geographical areas that may be prescribed by regulations under the Regional Growth Fund Act 2011. Clause 4 amends section 5 of the Parliamentary Committees Act 2003 to reflect the names of the 9 Joint Investigatory Committees that remain after the Bill merges 6 existing Joint Investigatory Committees into 3 new Committees. Clause 5 substitutes a new section 8 in the Parliamentary Committees Act 2003. The new section establishes the new Economic, Education, Jobs and Skills Committee, which has the same functions as the Economic Development, Infrastructure and Outer Suburban/Interface Services Committee established under section 8 of that Act, and the Education and Training Committee established under section 9 of that Act. Clause 6 repeals section 9 of the Parliamentary Committees Act 2003, which establishes the Education and Training Committee. The repeal is necessary as a result of the Bill establishing the new Economic, Education, Jobs and Skills Committee. Clause 7 substitutes a new section 10 in the Parliamentary Committees Act 2003. The new section establishes the new Environment, Natural Resources and Regional Development Committee, which has the same functions as the Environment and Natural Resources Committee established under section 10 of that Act, and the Rural and Regional Committee established under section 16 of that Act. Clause 8 repeals section 12 of the Parliamentary Committees Act 2003. This section is no longer necessary as it establishes the Law Reform, Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee, whose functions have been amalgamated into the new Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee. Clause 9 inserts a new section 13 into the Parliamentary Committees Act 2003. The new section establishes the new Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee. This Committee has the same functions as the Law Reform, Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee established under section 12 of that Act, and the Road Safety Committee established under section 15 of that Act. 2

 


 

Clause 10 repeals sections 15 and 16 of the Parliamentary Committees Act 2003. These sections are no longer necessary as they establish Joint Investigatory Committees whose functions have been amalgamated into the new Committees that the Bill establishes. Clause 11 inserts a new Part 9 into the Parliamentary Committees Act 2003. New section 67 provides various definitions for the purpose of the new Part 9. New section 68 provides transitional provisions. New section 68(1) provides that members of an existing Joint Investigatory Committee that is replaced by a new Committee under this Bill will become members of the new Joint Investigatory Committee. The same principle will apply to any affected sub-committees. New section 68(2) provides that a referral under section 33 of any current proposal, matter or thing to an existing Joint Investigatory Committee will continue as if it were a referral to the relevant new Committee. This will ensure that new Joint Investigatory Committees carry on the work of the existing Committees they replace. New section 68(3) clarifies that, for the purposes of new section 68(2), a referral of any proposal, matter or thing to a Joint Investigatory Committee is current if the Committee has not yet made a final report to Parliament. New section 68(4) provides that the following actions undertaken by an existing Joint Investigatory Committee that were in force immediately before the Bill's commencement date continue as if they were an action undertaken by the relevant new Joint Investigatory Committee-- a resolution under section 25(5) to use an audio or audio visual link; and an invitation under section 26(1) to a member of the Council or the Assembly, or to a member of the public, to be present at a Committee or sub-committee meeting; and 3

 


 

a requirement under section 28(1) to attend or produce a document; and an empowerment under section 28(5) for Committee members to send for persons, documents and other things and take evidence. New section 68(5) provides that a reference to an existing Joint Investigatory Committee in any other Act, subordinate instrument, agreement, deed or other document must be construed as a reference to the new Committee that replaces it if the reference-- relates to any period on or after the commencement day; and is not inconsistent with the subject matter of the Act, subordinate instrument, agreement, deed or other document. Part 3--Inquiries Act 2014 Clause 12 amends definitions in section 3 of the Inquiries Act 2014. Clause 12(a) substitutes a new definition of judicial officer. The existing definition of this term in the Inquiries Act 2014 cross-refers to the corresponding definition in the Judicial Commission Act 2014. However, the Bill for that Act was not enacted. Clause 12(a) takes the definition of judicial officer from that Bill and inserts it into the Inquiries Act 2014. Clause 12(b) amends the definition of member to define a "member of VCAT". The amendment is necessary as a result of clause 12(c), which substitutes the definition of non-judicial member of VCAT. Clause 12(c) substitutes a new definition of non-judicial member of VCAT. The existing definition of this term in the Inquiries Act 2014 cross-refers to the corresponding definition in the Judicial Commission Act 2014. However, the Bill for that Act was not enacted. Clause 12(c) takes the definition of non-judicial member of VCAT from that Bill and inserts it into the Inquiries Act 2014. 4

 


 

Clause 13 substitutes a new section 93(3)(b)(v) in the Inquiries Act 2014. The new section provides that a Formal Review's establishing instrument may specify whether persons who attend the Formal Review at the request of the Formal Review are entitled to be paid expenses and allowances. The existing section 93(3)(b)(v) is not sufficiently clear that only witnesses who attend a Formal Review at the Formal Review's request are entitled to be paid expenses and allowances. Clause 14 substitutes a new section 114 in the Inquiries Act 2014. The new section clarifies the circumstances in which persons attending Formal Reviews may claim expenses and allowances in accordance with the prescribed scale. A person may claim expenses and allowances if-- the person attends the Formal Review at the request of the Formal Review; and the Formal Review's establishing instrument provides that persons attending the Formal Review at its request are entitled to be paid expenses and allowances; and the Formal Review's establishing instrument authorises the Formal Review to incur expenses and financial obligations. Clause 15 substitutes a new section 128(4) in the Inquiries Act 2014, in order to update a cross-reference to the Crimes Act 1958 and remove a cross-reference to a repealed provision of the Magistrates' Court Act 1989 in the provision for accessorial liability of officers of bodies corporate for offences. Clause 16 inserts a new Part 7 into the Inquiries Act 2014. New section 150(1) ensures that Royal Commissions and Boards of Inquiry appointed under Part IVA of the Constitution Act 1975 can continue current inquiries, and have their relevant letters patent/instrument of appointment updated, despite the repeal of the provisions under which they were established. The section provides that, despite the repeal of Part IVA of the Constitution Act 1975-- a Royal Commission or Board of Inquiry appointed under Part IVA of the Constitution Act 1975 has, and is to be taken always to have had, the power to continue a current inquiry; and 5

 


 

the Governor in Council may amend the letters patent of a Royal Commission or the instrument of appointment of a Board of Inquiry in relation to a current inquiry as if Part IVA of the Constitution Act 1975 had not been repealed. New section 150(2) provides various definitions for the purpose of the new Part 7 of the Inquiries Act 2014. Clause 17 provides that, once the Bill is enacted, it will be repealed on the first anniversary of its commencement. The repeal does not affect the continuing operation of the amendments made by the Bill--see section 15(1) of the Interpretation of Legislation Act 1984. 6

 


 

 


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