Two pieces of legislation have been introduced to NSW Parliament today.
- The COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020 has been introduced by Andrew Constance, Minister for Transport
- The Treasury Legislation Amendment (COVID-19) Bill 2020 has also been introduced by the Treasurer. The NSW Parliament has started debating legislation to put in place emergency measures for the COVID-19 crisis.
There will be two separate bills introduced, one to deal with emergency measures and one to deal with budget measures. The NSW Parliament has started debating legislation to put in place emergency measures for the COVID-19 crisis.There will be two separate bills introduced, one to deal with emergency measures and one to deal with budget measures.
The “emergency measures” bill has passed the Legislative Assembly. Key matters include:
- Amendments to the Environmental and Planning Act to enable the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces to make an order that authorises development to be carried out without the need for approval under the Act or consent from any person
- The Minister must be satisfied that the making of the order is necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of members of the public
- Ensure that documents do not need to be made available at a physical location if it is available on the NSW Planning portal
- These provisions apply for a minimum of 6 months, extendable up to 12 months
- Enable the deferment of council elections if the Local Government Minister believes it is reasonable to do so. The delay is for a maximum of 12 months
- Allows “virtual” council meetings via audio visual link or other approved manner
Other than matters relating to planning and land use, it deals with:
- Changes required in the criminal justice system in relation to criminal trials, juries, pre-trial procedures, apprehended violence orders, bail and sentencing
- Extends working with children checks that would otherwise expire
- Prohibit visitors to detention centres or correctional centres if need be to protect the health of detainees and inmates
- To grant parole to additional classes of inmates if reasonably necessary
- A range of changes in relation to the Civil and Administrative Tribunal
- Ensure laws can be made even if they are not presented to the Governor in person
- To convert interim apprehended violence orders into final apprehended violence orders
- To make alternative arrangements for signing and witnessing documents
- Changes to provisions relating to the storage and distribution of vaccines and medicines and other changes to the regulation of private health facilities
- Modifications to Mental Health Review Tribunal procedures
- Creates a specific power of arrest is there are reasonable grounds that a police officer believes a person is contravening a public health order
- Allows supermarkets to trade on days where it is otherwise prohibited (such as Anzac Day)
- Extends the operation of Regulations that would otherwise expire
- Makes changes in relation to the payment of workers compensation
The “budget measures” bill has also passed the Legislative Assembly. It includes:
- A freeing up of long service leave provisions allowing it to be accessed before it would otherwise become available
- Changes to payroll tax including a temporary reduction for businesses with annual wages of $10 million or less
Both bills will now move to the Legislative Council.