I rise to make a contribution in the debate on the bill before us, the Legislative Reform (Repeals No. 6) Bill 2009. The purpose of this bill is to repeal 63 redundant acts of Parliament. The first five acts in the series repealed approximately 200 principal and amending acts, and once it is passed the Legislation Reform (Repeals No. 6) Bill 2009 will take this process further.
For each of the acts that will be repealed the Department of Premier and Cabinet along with parliamentary counsel have consulted with the departments of each minister responsible for the acts that are to be repealed and are listed in the schedule. They essentially fall into three categories: firstly, spent principal acts; secondly, spent amending acts with transitional or substantive provisions; and thirdly, spent acts wholly in operation.
Whilst I do not think it is necessary to go into an enormous amount of detail, because this is a fairly straightforward bill essentially repealing redundant acts of Parliament, it is worthwhile touching on a few so that people have an understanding of the nature and breadth of the acts in the schedule. One of the first listed is the Australian Mutual Provident Society’s Act 1864, a very old act that will be eliminated from the statute book. That act provides for the Australian Mutual Provident Society, which was established in New South Wales, to extend its operation of business to Victoria. The society could sue and be sued in its corporate name and was granted certain powers including the power to purchase and sell real estate, to invest the society’s funds and property and to hold real or personal estate as security for funds invested.
The society became a registered, publicly listed company in 1998 and is subject to the commonwealth Corporations Act 2001 and the jurisdiction of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission. The society was effectively demutualised and members obtained shares in the company. AMP Ltd has been consulted and has confirmed that it has no objection to the repeal of the 1864 act.
The Dental Hospital (Finance) Act 1957 is also listed. I raise this because it demonstrates the breadth of matters that have been dealt with by this Parliament over the years. That act provided the University of Melbourne with the power to borrow up to 1.5 million to provide a dental hospital and dental school secured on the revenues of the university. The 1957 act also provided for the Treasurer to be able to guarantee repayment of any money borrowed and to enter into agreements with the university to pay money to the university. These powers are no longer required.
Section 6 provides that the land on which the buildings were to be constructed was to become unalienated Crown land on completion of the new buildings. This section has taken effect as the land is now Crown land.
The Revocation and Excision of Crown Reservations Act 1980 would be of particular interest to those who live in Geelong and surrounding areas and anyone who barracks for the Geelong Football Club, because section 2(1) of the act partly revoked orders in council relating to reserved land. Section 2(2) repealed section 2 of the Geelong (Kardinia Park) Land Act 1950 and any other act insofar as they applied to certain land. Section 2(3) repealed section 86(1) of the Cemeteries Act, which has now been repealed, and any act insofar as they applied to certain land. The land previously reserved was deemed to be unalienated Crown land, and these provisions came into effect and are spent.
Under section 4 the then Country Roads Board was to pay $22 000 to the then City of Geelong as compensation for making land available for construction of a road. This provision is now redundant as the money has been paid. The Crown’s right under section 5 not to have to pay compensation in respect of matters arising from the 1980 act, except as provided by that act, will be saved under section 14 of the Interpretation of Legislation Act 1984.
There are also matters that deal with the Melbourne Sailors’ Home (Repeal) Act 2006, and I invite members interested in such matters to have a look at the history pertaining to that act, because it really gives a sense of Melbourne as a maritime capital over the years.
There is also the Melbourne Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market Trust (Amendment) Act 1993 that is now seen to be redundant because it has had a name change to become the Melbourne Market Authority Act 1997.
The bill before us tonight is part of the government’s continued commitment to reduce regulatory burden. This initiative was taken to the 2006 election. Essentially it means that our statute books are being streamlined on an ongoing basis. It is an exercise that eliminates defunct legislation. It means that our statute books are more accessible to a whole range of Victorians regardless of their abilities and educational background, and therefore I support this bill and request that members vote in favour of it.