WA Reprint Powers Discussion Paper


An important responsibility of government is to provide public access to accurate, up-to-date and reliable versions of legislation in a timely and efficient manner. This responsibility stems from the principles that everybody is presumed to know the law, and that ignorance of the law is no excuse. Neither of these principles can operate fairly and effectively if the law is not made publicly accessible.

In Western Australia, this responsibility is carried out by the Parliamentary Counsel’s Office (PCO) and the State Law Publisher (SLP). Individual Acts as passed and reprints of Acts with their amendments incorporated are published in hard copy and made available through SLP. Bound volumes of Acts passed each year are also made available. Subsidiary legislation as made is generally published in full in the Gazette, which is published in both hard copy and electronic forms.

Reprints of Acts and subsidiary legislation are prepared by PCO under the authority of the Reprints Act 1984 and printed and published by SLP. PCO maintains the electronic versions of WA legislation made available on the WA Legislation Databases the WA legislation website at http://www.legislation.wa.gov.au/), although this website is hosted by SLP. However, at present only legislation (including reprints) published in hard copy form has official status. Electronic versions of the Gazette and the electronic versions of legislation published on the WA legislation website have no official status.

There is a need to make the processes for publishing WA legislation more efficient and cost-effective, improve public access to WA legislation and reduce the cost to government of publishing WA legislation. PCO therefore proposes that the processes for publishing WA legislation be modernised by:

The Government has not yet considered this proposal, and no final decision has been made to proceed with it. However, PCO is currently developing the proposal for consideration by the Government.

As part of that process, PCO has been considering the adequacy of the powers in the Reprints Act 1984 and whether enhancements to those powers are needed to ensure that versions of WA legislation made available to users (including electronic versions on the WA legislation website if they are given official status) are accurate and up-to-date and reflect current WA legislative drafting practice.

An initial analysis of the powers in the Reprints Act 1984 suggests that those powers are not as comprehensive or useful as powers available in some other Australasian jurisdictions.

The discussion paper sets out proposals for the expansion of the powers available to PCO when compiling reprints of WA legislation.

The proposals outlined in the discussion paper have been developed by PCO for the purposes of consultation and do not represent the settled position of the Government.


PCO invites submissions on the proposals outlined in the discussion paper. PCO also welcomes any additional comments regarding the enhancement of WA reprint powers.

Please include in your submission the following details about you:

All submissions are received on the assumption that the maker of the submission and the content of the submission can be made public. If you do not want your name as the maker of a submission made public, please state this in your submission.

Submissions can be made in any of the following ways:

Online survey

Complete the survey online


Send your submission to reprintsurvey@pco.wa.gov.au.


Send your submission to:

Parliamentary Counsel’s Office
Level 29, David Malcolm Justice Centre
28 Barrack Street

Attention: Reprints submission

The closing date for submissions is Friday 27 January 2017.

Last updated: 8-Dec-2016

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