By Greg Warren MP Member for Campbelltown

07 February 2024

Mr GREG WARREN (Campbelltown) (12:55): I make a brief contribution to debate on the Crime and Criminal Procedure Legislation Amendment Bill 2023. I acknowledge the Attorney General, who is in the Chamber. I thank him for his diligent efforts to ensure that these legislative changes are in place. I note the shadow Attorney General's comments, which insinuated a need for broader scoping. Frankly, I found that remarkable, as he would know that miscellaneous amendments to legislation are very important for legal practice. The bill makes miscellaneous amendments to legislation related to crime and criminal procedure. The amendments enhance legislation by providing clarity and updates to the law where needed, rectifying inconsistencies and supporting operational improvements.

More specifically, the amendments will support the operation of youth and adult correctional centres; improve and clarify existing protections for victims; add efficiency, clarity and consistency to criminal justice processes; and provide necessary updates to both the Drug Misuse and Trafficking Act 1985 and the digital evidence access order scheme. Regularly reviewing and updating legislation is an important mechanism to ensure the law is fit for purpose and keeps pace with developments in the community and the legal system in New South Wales. The bill was developed in consultation with a broad range of stakeholders across government and external stakeholders in the legal sector. They were invited to submit proposals for consideration, provided with opportunities to comment on proposals and invited to give feedback on the drafting of the proposals.

The Attorney General is very conscious of consultation; it is in his professional fibre. I commend him for his diligence in that regard. Good consultation and engagement with the sector, the industry and the fraternity is vital. As a lawyer, the Attorney General knows the importance of consultation and gives it the attention it requires. That is very important for a government. The bill makes a number of key amendments to eight separate Acts. It improves protections for victim‑survivors by expanding eligibility for the Victims Register under the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999 to include "interested persons", and by amending the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 to confirm that a provisional apprehended violence order becomes an interim AVO on the first return date at court unless the court makes an alternative order.

The member for Castle Hill has read into this aspect of the bill thoroughly and prepared some valuable written contributions. I appreciate his interest and efforts, and I have passed that documentation on to the Attorney General. I am advised that his office will be in contact with the member to discuss what more can be done.

Amendments to the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 ensure that the transcripts and evidence in all related prescribed sexual offence proceedings are admissible for apprehended violence order proceedings. Amendments to the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 classify a recording of a child complainant's interview with police for sexual offence proceedings as "sensitive evidence", which means the prosecution cannot be required, whether by subpoena or any other procedure, to give an accused person a copy of the recording. Amendments to the Children (Detention Centres) Act 1987 and the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act 1999 provide consistency and support operational practices across correctional centres, which is so important. The Attorney General's office received that feedback and, again, with good consultation, it is included in the legislation. Amendments to the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 update the digital evidence access order scheme, including enabling the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission to apply for DEAOs.

In conclusion, the bill makes a number of necessary amendments across eight Acts to enhance the processes and operation of the criminal justice system, maintain its integrity and ensure that it keeps pace with developments in the community and the legal system. I commend the bill to the House and thank the Attorney General for his efforts.