The PCO contributes to all the Directorate’s strategic objectives. The PCO drafts and publishes legislation for the Government in accordance with its legislation program and for individual members of the Legislative Assembly and the courts, ensuring that:

  • ACT laws give effect to their intended policy objectives and assist in compliance and efficient administration
  • ACT laws are legally, including constitutionally, valid, and can withstand vigorous scrutiny
  • ACT laws are clear and simple, reflecting best-practice drafting
  • ACT laws form a cohesive statute book of the highest standard
  • new ACT legislation and other legislative material (for example, bills and explanatory statements) are notified efficiently on the ACT Legislation Register
  • ACT legislation, as originally made and as in force from time to time, is readily accessible, particularly on the ACT Legislation Register, and
  • comprehensive ACT legislative material and information are readily accessible, particularly on the ACT legislation register.

Significant bills prepared in 2020-21 on instruction from the JACS directorate include the following crime-related bills:

  • Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2020Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2021
  • Royal Commission Criminal Justice Legislation Amendment Bill 2020
  • Victims Rights Legislation Amendment Bill 2020
  • Civil Law (Wrongs) Amendment Bill 2021
  • Courts and Other Justice Legislation Amendment Bill 2021
  • Emergencies Amendment Bill 2020
  • Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2020

PCO also worked closely with Legislation, Policy and Programs and instructors from other agencies to continue to produce emergency legislative responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. This included:

  • COVID-19 Emergency Response Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 (No 3) extending certain existing legislative measures that were due to expire and necessary to be continued in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency
  • the making of numerous instruments under the Public Health Act 1997 in response to the continuing emergency to keep the community protected and safe.

Other significant bills prepared in 2020-21 for agencies other than the JACS directorate include the following:

  • City Renewal Authority and Suburban Land Agency Amendment Bill 2020 establishing a process to revitalise the Melbourne and Sydney Buildings located within the City Renewal Precinct
  • Domestic Violence Agencies Amendment Bill 2021 providing for the review and analysis of deaths, and incidents resulting in serious harm to a person, occurring in the context of domestic and family violence
  • Education Amendment Bill 2020 clarifying roles and responsibilities of people who owe a duty of care to children and young people in schools
  • Mental Health Amendment Bill 2020 amending the Mental Health Act 2015 following a review of the operation of mental health orders and forensic mental health orders
  • Planning and Development Amendment Bill 2021 prohibiting the establishment of waste facilities, or expansion of existing waste facilities, in Fyshwick
  • Planning and Unit Titles Legislation Amendment Bill 2020 making a range of amendments to improve the operation of legislation dealing with unit title and community concessional lease provisions
  • Plastic Reduction Bill 2020 aiming to reduce the use of plastic, particularly single-use plastic, by banning the supply of certain single-use plastic items and setting up a framework for adding other products in the future
  • Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 amending several pieces of taxation legislation to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the operation of the ACT tax system
  • Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Amendment Bill 2021 amending the road transport legislation to establish a framework for the operation of mobile device detection cameras
  • Sexuality and Gender Identity Conversion Practices Bill 2020 prohibiting certain practices aimed at changing a person’s sexuality or gender identity and providing a mechanism for a person harmed by these practices to make a complaint to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal
  • Utilities Amendment Bill 2021 implementing recommendations of the Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission by introducing a reference price framework to improve the comparability and transparency of electricity offers in the ACT, enabling customers to get better deals, and
  • Work Health and Safety Amendment Bill 2021 establishing industrial manslaughter as an offence under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and removing industrial manslaughter from the Crimes Act 1900.

In 2020-21, PCO also prepared several bills on instruction from private members of the Legislative Assembly, with the following 4 bills being presented in the Assembly:

  • Carers Recognition Bill 2021
  • Crimes (Stealthing) Amendment Bill 2021
  • Drugs of Dependence (Personal Use) Amendment Bill 2021
  • Road Transport (Safety and Traffic Management) Amendment Bill 2021 (No 2)