Skip links and keyboard navigation

    Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel

    The Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel (OQPC) is established under the Legislative Standards Act 1992 (the Act) to support government and democracy by drafting and publishing legislation for Queensland. OQPC’s vision as stated in its Strategic Plan 2012-16 is to be an organisation committed to excellence in Queensland legislation’. More information about OQPC’s role and values are provided on pages 9 and10 of this report.

    OQPC supports government and democracy by:

    • drafting and electronically publishing legislation of the highest standard and by making available up-to-date information about Queensland legislation
    • supporting the government to deliver its program of legislative reform, including policy priorities such as reducing regulatory burden
    • providing advice on alternative ways of achieving policy objectives and on the application of fundamental legislative principles
    • providing legislative drafting services to non-government members and, in relation to national scheme legislation, to the Australasian Parliamentary Counsel’s Committee (PCC).
    Table 1: An indicator of the quantity of the office’s output for the period is the number of printed pages of Bills and subordinate legislation provided
    Year No. of
    No. of
    No. of instruments
    of Subordinate
    No. of
    Total no. of
    Bills and
    instruments of
    Total no. of
    2008–09 86 6615 384 5819 470 12,434
    2009–10 73 5949 381 4874 454 10,823
    2010–11 63 5422 382 6350 439 11,702
    2011–12 106 7318 366 5121 472 12,439
    2012–13 79 6384 298 3547 377 9931

    Note 1. Workloads are driven by the government’s legislative program and the sitting pattern of Parliament. Demand for services is not consistent throughout the year and varies from year to year.

    Service: Legislative Drafting and ePublishing Service


    Government legislative drafting

    • OQPC successfully delivered the government’s legislative program for 2012-13 within required timeframes. This involved drafting Queensland Bills and subordinate legislation, within the meaning of the Statutory Instruments Act 1992, other than exempt subordinate legislation.
    • During 2012-13 the office also drafted and supplied 28 government amendments (a total of 238 pages) for Bills that were debated in Parliament.
    • Significant primary legislation drafted during 2012-13 included:
      • Criminal Law (Child Exploitation and Dangerous Drugs) Amendment Act 2013 - to prohibit the possession, sale and trafficking of synthetic drugs, to increase penalties for child pornography and some child sex offences and to introduce a new child grooming offence
      • Criminal Proceeds Confiscation (Unexplained Wealth and Serious Drug Offender Confiscation Order) Amendment Act 2013 - to strengthen Queensland’s law relating to organised crime and the illegal drug trade by introducing serious drug offender confiscation orders and a scheme for recovering unexplained wealth
      • Directors’ Liability Reform Amendment Bill 2012 - to reduce the regulatory burden on Queensland business by reducing the number of provisions that impose personal and criminal liability on executive officers for corporate fault and only provide for this liability where there is adequate justification
      • Disability Services (Your Life Your Choice) Amendment Act 2012 - to facilitate better value for money in the provision of front-line disability services and reduce red tape for service providers
      • Electronic Conveyancing National Law (Queensland) Act 2013 - to streamline and simplify conveyancing by adopting a national electronic conveyancing system, which will benefit businesses, solicitors and the general public
      • Gasfields Commission Act 2013 - to establish the Gasfields Commission in order to facilitate better relationships between landholders, regional communities and the onshore gas industry in Queensland
      • Health Ombudsman Bill 2013 - to establish a Health Ombudsman and a more accountable complaints management system for health services
      • Industrial Relations (Transparency and Accountability of Industrial Organisations) and Other Acts Amendment Act 2013 - to promote public confidence in the governance of industrial organisations by introducing disclosure measures that improve transparency and accountability, and to support the rights of workers to choose whether to join an industrial organisation
      • Mining and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2013 - to ensure Queensland receives appropriate returns for the commercial use of its resources by providing for a competitive tendering system for coal and improving the existing competitive tendering system for petroleum and gas
      • Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (Justices of the Peace) Amendment Act 2013 - to facilitate faster and more efficient resolution of matters before the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal by giving particular Justices of the Peace the ability to hear and adjudicate minor civil disputes
      • Vegetation Management Framework Amendment Act 2013 - to support the agricultural sector and reduce the regulatory burden on landholders by allowing them to sustainably grow their farm businesses, and to make it easier to feed livestock during periods of drought, saving time and money for graziers
      • Weapons and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2012 - to address the unlawful use of firearms by introducing mandatory imprisonment for particular weapons offences.
    • Significant subordinate legislation drafted during 2012-13 included:
      • Building and Other Legislation Amendment Regulation (No. 1) 2012 - to introduce new building standards for the construction of buildings in flood hazard areas, reflecting recommendations made in the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry’s final report
      • Heavy Vehicle (Vehicle Standards) National Regulation; Heavy Vehicle (Mass, Dimension and Loading) National Regulation; Heavy Vehicle (Fatigue Management) National Regulation; Heavy Vehicle (General) National Regulation – to prescribe various matters for the purposes of the Heavy Vehicle National Law as applied by the Heavy Vehicle National Law Act 2012 (Qld) and by the law of other states and territories
      • Local Government (De-amalgamation Implementation) Regulation 2013 - to provide for the de-amalgamation of the Cairns, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast and Tablelands local government areas, and the establishment of the new local government areas of Douglas, Livingstone, Noosa and Mareeba.

    Legislative drafting for other clients

    • During 2012-13 OQPC prepared eight Bills (a total of 86 pages) for non-government members of the Parliament. The office also supplied nine non-government amendments (a total of 24 pages) for Bills that were debated in Parliament.
    • OQPC also made a significant contribution to the progress of COAG and other national reform agenda initiatives. On behalf of the Australasian Parliamentary Counsel’s Committee, the office drafted primary and secondary national scheme legislation regulating heavy vehicles and continued to progress national occupational licensing legislation.
    • The office contributed to the drafting of other national scheme legislation by reviewing, on behalf of the government, legislation drafted by other members of the PCC on topics such as succession to the Crown, implementation of COAG’s principles in relation to executive officers of corporations, and changes to energy laws.

    Advice, training and information provided to stakeholders

    • As part of its functions under the Act, OQPC provides a legislative information hotline (by telephone and email) during business hours. During 2012-13, the office received 315 email queries and 505 hotline calls.
    • On 23 April 2013, the office conducted a presentation for the Australian Law Librarians’ Association on the introduction of print-ondemand functionality to the Queensland legislation website.
    • During 2012-13, OQPC assisted the Youth Parliament by:
      • providing general drafting and editorial advice about legislative drafting, including a workshop for Youth Parliament group leaders about the importance of fundamental legislative principles and the Acts Interpretation Act 1954 in legislative drafting
      • helping develop and format Youth Bills and explanatory notes providing assistance with the supply and publication of Youth Bills
      • providing assistance with the supply and publication of Youth Bills.
    • OQPC supports the development of effective drafting instructions by publishing the FLP Index on GovNet. This index catalogues all comments made in reports on legislation by parliamentary portfolio committees and is a useful research tool for those involved in policy making and drafting.
    • During 2012-13, the index was maintained and updated in a timely way following the release of each report by a parliamentary portfolio committee. From 15 August 2012 (the date on which the index became accessible) to 30 June 2013, government employees accessed the index 1296 times.
    • OQPC commenced the staged publication of Principles of good legislation: OQPC guide to FLPs. This series, which will progressively replace the current OQPC Notebook, provides advice to instructing officers and others working with legislation on the operation of the principles underpinning good legislation, including fundamental legislative principles.
    • The office also provided five interactive training days for government policy officers. These training days were provided free of charge and involved participants undertaking scenario-based exercises involving the development of drafting instructions and commenting on a draft Bill. Feedback on the training days from participants was very positive.

    Publishing and accessibility

    • New arrangements implemented in 2013 ensured a smooth transition to a commercial printing arrangement for legislation. The Queensland legislation website now contains a print-on-demand functionality, allowing legislation and information about legislation to be printed from the website of a commercial printing provider.
    • OQPC ceased publishing hard copy reprints of Queensland legislation effective from 29 January 2013. Before this, only a hard copy of Queensland legislation printed by the Government Printer could be relied on with complete confidence as a correct statement of the law. All current reprints of Queensland legislation are now authorised by the Parliamentary Counsel and can be relied on as correct statements of the law under section 46A of the Evidence Act 1977.
    • With the end of hard copy reprints and annual volumes of hard copy Acts as passed and subordinate legislation as made, due to a significant decrease in demand and enabled OQPC to streamline its publishing procedures. The timeliness with which reprints are published online continues to consistently exceed the target of 75 per cent of reprints being published within five working days.
    • During 2012-13:
      • 94.86 per cent of electronic reprints were published within five days, with 89.35 per cent being published within three days, of the commencement of the relevant legislation or any change to the legislation
      • 100 per cent of deadlines were met for the supply of hard copy reprints before 29 January 2013.
    • Queensland legislation continued to be available on the Queensland legislation website, for free downloading and printing. The website experienced an unprecedented spike in the number of visits from January 2013, as represented by graph 1 (page 34). The increased usage of the website may be partly explained by the cessation of production of hard copy reprints on 29 January 2013. During 2012-13, there were no outages in relation to the website.
    • During 2012-13 ,OQPC prepared 1089 electronic reprints with a total of 210,512 pages and published 62 hard copy reprints with a total of 7358 pages as identified in table 2 above.
    • For Bills introduced from 2013, OQPC commenced publishing the third reading version of Bills amended during the consideration in detail stage on the Queensland legislation website. Incorporated amendments are marked with a change bar, allowing website users to rapidly identify any changes made by Parliament before passing a Bill.
    • OQPC continued the backcapture project, involving the progressive electronic publication in searchable format of Acts passed for the years 1963 to 1991.

    Red tape reduction

    • OQPC continued to contribute to the Queensland Government’s red tape reduction initiative, which has the goal of reducing regulatory requirements imposed on businesses and the community by 20 per cent by 2018. OQPC’s contribution included providing data to Queensland Treasury and Trade detailing agencies’ page counts and providing advice to agencies on how to reduce the regulatory burden.
    • The Parliamentary Counsel presented to the annual Government Lawyers’ Conference on 31 May 2013 on OQPC’s role in supporting the red tape reduction initiative.

    Improvement of business processes

    OQPC made a number of improvements to internal business processes and systems during 2012-13.

    • As part of the eLegislation project, these improvements included:
      • Negotiating a contract with SAIC Pty Ltd for the supply and implementation of a new electronic workflow and website management system. The contract was executed by the Director-General on 28 June 2013.
      • Working in close consultation with the New South Wales Parliamentary Counsel’s Office to adapt relevant resources for use in Queensland.
    • BrowseAloud was implemented on the Queensland legislation website to help users requiring online reading support. BrowseAloud is a free service that can assist users with dyslexia, mild visual impairments or English as their second language by reading aloud the text of webpages and PDF documents
    • In consultation with DPC, OQPC reviewed its process for the preparation and submission by OQPC of departmental briefing notes on Bills and significant subordinate legislation to maximise their usefulness to the Premier and departmental staff.
    • OQPC also reviewed and updated its process for requesting a message from the Governor in relation to legislation before the Legislative Assembly.
    • A new induction process was developed and implemented for new OQPC staff members. The new process includes standard modules for all new starters and tailored modules for specialised roles within OQPC.
    • OQPC developed amendments to a number of Acts in relation to the preparation, notification and effect of legislation for inclusion in the Treasury and Trade and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2013. The amendments:
      • support the authorisation of electronic copies of Queensland legislation, enabling legislation published on the Queensland legislation website to be relied on as correctly showing the law
      • provide for the electronic notification of subordinate legislation
      • provide for the Parliamentary Counsel to authorise copies of Acts as passed and Bills
      • extend the statutory period of notice to be given by the Parliamentary Counsel to administering departments and agencies of the impending expiry of subordinate legislation
      • co-locate all general provisions dealing with forms made under legislation.
    • A new corporate structure was implemented within the office. The new structure involves greater integration of staff performing complementary functions. Drafting, publishing and business systems functions are performed by staff across two groups, supported by a Parliamentary Counsel’s Group performing corporate functions.
    • OQPC representatives attended, presented and participated in the Australasian Parliamentary Counsel’s Committee ICT Forum in Wellington in July 2013.

    Future directions

    OQPC remains committed to excellence in Queensland legislation and strives to provide its services as efficiently and effectively as possible.

    During 2013-14, OQPC will:

    • continue the implementation of the innovative eLegislation project. The key deliverable for this project in 2013-14 is the development and implementation of a new workflow and website management system
    • continue to provide high quality, accurate and timely drafting and publishing services to support delivery of the government’s legislative program, including drafting legislation in areas such as:
      • reform of the electricity sector
      • improved land use planning and development approvals processes
      • reform of the juvenile justice sector
      • significant reforms to the child protection system
      • review and reform of retail shop leases legislation
    • continue to provi de expert assistance to agencies as part of the government’s red tape reduction initiative
    • continue to provide agencies’ legislative page counts and to advise agencies on ways of appropriately reducing the regulatory burden, including on alternative means of achieving policy objectives
    • participate in the development of a framework to guide agencies on the appropriate means of approaching regulatory reduction, successfully achieving the government’s intended policy objectives while retaining the benefits of targeted, proportionate regulation
    • enhance agencies’ understanding of the principles underpinning good legislation, including the role of fundamental legislative principles, by continuing the staged publication of principles of good legislation and continuing to maintain the FLP Index
    • progressively authorise pre-2013 legislation as enacted or made on the Queensland legislation website.

    Graph 1. Visits to Queensland legislation website 2007-2013

    Graph 1. Visits to Queensland legislation website 2007-2013
    Table 2: Reprints prepared by OQPC during 2012-13
    Year 2008–09 2009–10 2010–11 2011-12 2012-13
    Electronic reprints
    Quantity 957 1643 1139 895 1089
    No. of pages 147,476 241,467 192,862 148,255 210,512
    Hard copy reprints
    Quantity 281 175 172 148 621
    No. of pages 31,513 23,840 22,293 25,206 7358

    Note 1: Reduction in quantity of hard copy reprints reflects cessation of production of hard copy reprints on 29 January 2013.

    OQPC's organisational structure as at 30 June 2013 (PDF, 209KB)

    Graph 1. Visits to Queensland legislation website 2007-2013
    Table 3: Legislative Drafting and ePublishing performance during 2012-13
    Service standards 2012-13
    Est. actual
    Level of direct government drafting client satisfaction with legislative drafting services provided by the Office of the Queensland Parliamentary Counsel 85% 97% 97%
    Number of Bills provided .. 85 82
    Number of instruments of subordinate legislation provided .. 296 307
    Number of pages of Bills and subordinate legislation provided .. 10,646 9981
    Number of amendments during consideration in detail provided .. 38 37
    Number of pages of amendments during consideration in detail provided .. 144 262
    Number of pages prepared in camera-ready form for publication .. 271,605 264,046
    Percentage of printed legislative publications with a mandatory deadline supplied within mandated timeframes 100% 100% 100%
    Percentage of legislation reprints available on-line within five working days of the commencement of an amendment to the reprint 75%98% 96%

    ^ to top

    Last updated:
    4 July, 2016
    Last reviewed:
    9 January, 2014