The NSW government has released information about its review of the Young Offenders Act 1997 (NSW) and the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 (NSW), which aims to ensure these pieces of youth justice legislation continue to reflect best practice and meet the needs of young people and the community, including victims. A consultation paper for the review can be downloaded from: http://www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/clrd.
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The Graffiti Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 was introduced in the NSW parliament in June 2011. It seeks to amend the Children (Community Service Orders) Act 1987 (NSW) and the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 (NSW) which would have the effect of requiring a court to impose a graffiti removal condition as part of a community service order on offenders found guilty of graffiti offences (unless not reasonably practicable). It also seeks to amend the Graffiti Control Act 2008 (NSW) to enable a court to make certain orders with respect to the driver licence of a person who has committed graffiti offences, including possession of a graffiti implement. Such orders include extending the minimum period that person must hold a learner or provisional licence for up to six months, suspending a person’s driver licence for up to six months, or imposing a graffiti licence order which would limit the number of demerit points that can be accrued by a person subject to an order.
On 19 October 2011 the NSW Parliament passed the Home Building Amendment Bill 2011 which included a suite of reforms to the Home Building Act 1989 (NSW), namely changes to home warranty insurance, statutory warranty and contract requirements. Changes from 25 October 2011 include a requirement to notify home warranty insurers about making a claim in writing (for a certificate of home warranty insurance dated after 30 June 2002); changes to time limits on home warranty insurance claims; and from 1 February 2012, changes to statutory warranty periods to 6 years for structural defects and 2 years for non-structural defects (with the possibility of a 6-month extension), and a new ‘small jobs’ contracts category for jobs worth between $1001 and $5000, among other amendments. For further information on the reforms see http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au.
Until 1910, Queensland landholders held the rights to minerals, except gold and silver, which the common law recognised as part of the Crown’s prerogative. From 1910, all private land and most leasehold were granted with reservations of all minerals in favour of the Crown. Landholders were then reduced to being paid compensation for impact on the land by mining, and were not entitled to royalties.
The Evidence (Discreditable Conduct) Amendment Act 2011 (SA) was assented to on 22 September 2011 and is awaiting proclamation. When in force, it will amend the Evidence Act 1929 (SA) and the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA) in relation to admission of evidence of previous discreditable conduct (generally prior convictions and uncharged acts) against criminal defendants.
In a first case of its kind in Tasmania, a man has been sentenced to five months in jail for putting another person at risk of contracting HIV. He is subject to a Public Health Order, requiring him not to participate in any activity that might transmit the disease. He breached the Order in August this year when he had unprotected sex with another person before revealing his condition. Sentenced in the Magistrates Court in Launceston, the case is believed to be the first time someone has been charged and convicted for the offence in Tasmania.
In a landmark decision, the High Court of Australia has upheld the validity, operation and importance of Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights.
In the case of Momcilovic v The Queen & Ors  HCA 34 (8 September 2011), the High Court held that the Charter protects fundamental human rights and maintains parliamentary sovereignty.
As of 1 January 2012, a new law relating to the display, sale and supply of bongs and hookahs shall come into force in Victoria which heralds substantial changes to the previous law.
The Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 will be amended by the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Prohibition of Display and Sale of Cannabis Water Pipes) Act 2011.
The Personal Safety Intervention Orders Act 2010 (Vic) came into operation on 5 September 2011 and seeks to conform to its regime counterpart, the Family Violence Protection Act 2008. The distinction between the two rests with the personal safety Act focussing on the antisocial behaviours of non-family members. The new Act was introduced to rectify the problems arising from its predecessor, the now repealed Stalking Intervention Orders Act 2008. On application, a broader spectrum of behaviours were liable to have actions brought against them than was originally intended. Thus under the earlier scheme, minor disputes escalated rapidly and saturated the judiciary. Through reforming the legislation governing this area, the Victorian Parliament intends to distinguish between minor disputes and those requiring court facilitated resolutions, by emphasising the beneficial nature of informal mediation programs. Through these, trifling claims may be dealt with swiftly in arenas that facilitate communication and ideally provide for mutually acceptable resolutions. In contrast, the Act will provide heightened protection for those at risk of harm. This will be achieved via the provision of Personal Safety Intervention Orders and the codification of a breach of such an order as an offence. Therefore the introduction of the Act will provide fair, just and equitable outcomes for those requiring assistance while prompting individuals to resolve their own disputes prior to seeking formalised assistance.
The Residential Tenancy Amendment Act 2010 (Vic) came into effect on 1 September 2011. One significant aspect of the amendments is the regulation of residential tenancy databases. These databases are run by private companies to store information regarding tenants’ rental history. Access to information is available to subscribers, who are usually real estate agents. Agents commonly check a database for records relating to applicants for rental properties. When applying for a rental property, prospective tenants are often asked to consent to the agent providing personal information to a database operator. Examples of tenant database companies are the Tenant Information Centre of Australia and National Tenancy Database.