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11 Aug 2020

HHG Legal Group’s Director, Murray Thornhill and Lawyer, Fintan Roberts provide a weekly snapshot of new and upcoming legislation.

20200423 WA Legislation Weekly

HHG Legal Group’s legislation updates aim to provide information on new and upcoming legislation (and/or bills) as they pass, primarily focused on legislation arising as a counter-measure to COVID-19.

We saw a fair bit of action coming out of the WA Parliament on 11 August 2020 with the introduction of the COVID-19 Response and Economic Recovery Omnibus Bill 2020 to the Legislative Assembly. The Iron Ore Processing (Mineralogy Pty. Ltd.) Agreement Amendment Bill 2020 and Public Health Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 were also introduced.

COVID-19 Response and Economic Recovery Omnibus Bill 2020 

The COVID-19 Response and Economic Recovery Omnibus Bill 2020 ‘represents a flexible, responsive legislative solution to numerous problems occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is intended to deliver measures that will facilitate business continuity in the COVID-19 environment, for both industry and government, and to enable aspects of the economic recovery from the current crisis’ – with a proposed 79 current Acts receiving amendments.
The Bill aims to introduce certain provisions that:
  • Apply to classes of problems common to various Acts or processes for a limited period of time – such as addressing processes incompatible with social distancing requirements;
  • Modify, for a limited period of time, certain obligations or authorisations under Acts;
  • Modify, for a limited period of time, certain Acts relating to mental health or the administration of justice. For example, proposed modifications to the Bail Act 1982 to temporarily expand section 43A to provide that sureties can be entered into over video-link where it is impracticable for the proposed surety to appear in person irrespective of their location (effective until 21 December 2021);
  • Apply permanently relating to the administration of justice or environmental matters; and
  • Create other permanent amendments to miscellaneous acts – such as amending the Interpretations Act 1984 to support the provisions in the Bill.

The Bill will also validate many actions taken by certain State Government agencies – actions which may not have always been in strict compliance with statutory requirements.
The Explanatory Memorandum can also be found HERE.

Iron Ore Processing (Mineralogy Pty. Ltd.) Agreement Amendment Bill 2020

The politically contentious Iron Ore Processing (Mineralogy Pty. Ltd.) Agreement Amendment Bill 2020 was also introduced and as many will be aware seeks to prevent a damages claim by Clive Palmer against the State for losses associated with his Pilbara iron ore interests – currently estimated to be in the area of $30 billion. The Bill creates extraordinarily wide protection for the State against any potential claims by Mineralogy or other associated parties including Mr Palmer (see for example, the proposed indemnity clause at section 14 and the definitions of disputed matter).
The Explanatory Memorandum can also be found HERE.

Public Health Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020

The Public Health Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 was introduced to the Legislative Assembly. It seeks to amend the Public Health Act 2016 (WA) to enable mandatory fees to be imposed on persons arriving in Western Australia who are required to quarantine at a hotel, and to recover reasonable costs and expenses associated with the decontamination (cleaning and disinfecting) of premises including vessels.
The Bill also narrows the circumstances in which compensation can be claimed by the general public, makes various ancillary amendments for streamlining management and review of periods of quarantine, and enables authorised personnel to issue directions to a group or class of persons. The Bill was read a third time and transmitted to the Council.
The Explanatory Memorandum can also be found HERE.
Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020
Also covered in the 11th of August parliamentary sitting was continued debate about the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020, introduced on 24 June 2020. The primary focus of the Bill is to allow healthcare workers to have easier access to workers’ compensation entitlements if they contract COVID-19. It was pointed out during the second reading that much of the Bill’s subject matter extends beyond COVID-19 and would apply outside of the state of emergency.
The Bill seeks to address four issues – including providing for regulations to be made that establish a presumption of work-related injury for prescribed diseases contracted by workers in prescribed employment. The Bill was read a second and third time in the Assembly before being transmitted to the Council where it was discussed briefly and then read a second time.
Environmental Protection Amendment Bill 2020 and Environmental Protection Amendment Bill (No 2) 2020 Bill
Extensive debates were also held in the Legislative Council about the state of the Environmental Protection Amendment Bill 2020 and Environmental Protection Amendment Bill (No 2) 2020 Bill – with the second reading debate ultimately adjourned. These bills have already been discussed in our previous update.

Parliament will be sitting again on 12 August 2020 and some of the above information may receive updates after that time.

Subscribe to an email update for the state government legislative HERE.

 

 

How can HHG Legal Group assist?

For over 100 years HHG Legal Group has been proudly serving Western Australian families, businesses, governments and individuals and never before has the State seen such a crippling time and we are committed to supporting the communities in which we operate.

With a choice of consultation methods (video, phone or safely-spaced, face-to-face), should you require some assistance please send us an enquiry or call us on +61 8 9322 1966.

*This is general information only, and does not constitute specific legal advice. Please consult one of our experienced Legal Team for specific advice relevant to your situation.

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