Modernised laws introduced to embrace technology

Published Thursday, 18 November, 2021 at 05:14 PM

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Minister for Women and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

New legislation was passed in the Queensland Parliament today that will see some temporary measures that were put in place during COVID-19 made permanent.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Shannon Fentiman said the Justice and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2021 is centred around embedding those measures that had supported small businesses and benefited the community, including modernising the way important legal documents were made.

“The last two years have been incredibly difficult, with the global pandemic presenting a number of challenges for Queensland communities and local businesses,” Minister Fentiman said.

“What the pandemic has shown us is that we can adapt and do things differently.

“Last year, the Palaszczuk Government was swift to respond and introduced a range of temporary measures such as allowing restaurants and cafes to provide takeaway liquor and allowing witnessing and signing of important documents electronically and by video link.

“By implementing these permanent measures, we are making everyday tasks easier for Queenslanders.

“It’s 2021, and it’s time we modernise our longstanding practices to embrace technology.”

The Department of Justice and Attorney-General is the first department to implement permanent measures that were brought in during the pandemic.

The Attorney-General said the new witnessing and signing of documents reforms will apply to affidavits, statutory declarations, general powers of attorney, deeds and particular mortgages.

“Common tasks such as buying or selling your home will be so much easier because of these new reforms,” she said.

The new legislation includes appropriate safeguards to minimise new risks introduced by the use of technology in the creation of documents and ensures that appropriate documents continue to be executed on paper and witnessed, including general powers of attorney for individuals.

The Attorney-General said the legislation also contained important reforms to the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 and the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Rules 2014 to adopt technology to allow greater flexibility in domestic and family violence proceedings.

We will always look at ways we can better support victims to come forward and ensure our courts operate in a trauma informed way,” she said.

“The changes will increase access to justice for domestic violence victims by giving Magistrates the discretion to conduct all or part of proceedings by audio visual link or audio link.

“Allowing people to make documents or give evidence under oath from their home or workplace using technology will support victims in what is a stressful time.”

Ms Fentiman said the new legislation also allows licensed restaurant operators to be able to apply to the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation for a permanent licence condition authorising the sale of two bottles of wine with a takeaway meal up to 10pm.

“We know the pandemic has been extremely tough for our hospitality businesses,” she said.

“Allowing restaurants to be able to also sell wine with a takeaway meal will support them to do more business.”

The fee to apply for the new takeaway liquor licence condition will be waived until 1 July 2022 for restaurant operators who have previously been eligible to sell takeaways under a  COVID-19 temporary takeaway liquor authority prior to the commencement of the new provisions.

Previously, licenced restaurants were only able to sell up to one opened bottle of wine and one unopened bottle of wine for takeaway following a dine in meal.

The Bill is available here.


Media contact:          Inga Williams              0439 949 719