Other instruments

Agencies may also use OPC’s specialist legislative drafting services for other non-tied instruments, including legislative instruments, notifiable instruments and other instruments made under legislation. For example, Commonwealth Acts often include a power for a Minister to make rules prescribing key requirements. OPC undertakes this work on a fee‑for‑service basis (other than for rules of court).

In undertaking this non‑tied work, OPC strives to ensure that the instrument:

  • meets the agency’s policy objectives in a legally effective and practical way
  • meets best practice standards for Commonwealth legislation
  • is accurate and as easy to understand as possible

OPC’s instrument drafting services can assist agencies to complete their legislative schemes efficiently and economically. OPC regularly delivers instruments within challenging timeframes to enable agencies to meet deadlines.

Comprehensive range of services

OPC provides a range of services agencies need in developing and managing their subordinate legislation.

In addition to drafting instruments, OPC’s drafting services include advising agencies from the initial stages of development until the instrument is made.

Even where OPC is not engaged to do the actual drafting of a non‑tied instrument, there is a range of other useful services that OPC can provide, such as:

  • drafting advice (including commenting on, or clearance of, instruments)
  • instrument design (including template development)
  • drafting training
  • instrument preparation (including formatting instruments for remaking and compiling amended instruments)
  • editorial services
  • research services (including the development of reports from the Federal Register of Legislation)

Agencies are welcome to contact First Parliamentary Counsel or their instrument client adviser.

Specialist expertise

OPC prepares high quality subordinate legislation, drawing on our extensive experience and proven methods derived from drafting Commonwealth Acts and tied instruments, as well as our specialist knowledge of issues specific to subordinate legislation. OPC’s expertise can assist agencies meet the legal and policy requirements for making their instruments.

OPC drafters are highly trained specialist lawyers, many with a background in policy development. OPC drafters have expertise in providing solutions in the implementation of complex and sensitive Commonwealth policy in legislation.

OPC is uniquely positioned to provide timely, high quality instruments for Bills, new Acts, and new schemes under existing Acts or regulations, with drafters of the instrument‑making power generally available to provide drafting services for the instrument under the Act or regulation.

Methods OPC uses to ensure all instruments drafted by OPC are of the highest possible standard include:

  • using plain English drafting techniques to present ideas simply and effectively
  • consistent approaches to common issues
  • rigorous quality‑assurance checks by drafters and editors before an instrument is finalised

Commitment to working with agencies to achieve government policy outcomes

OPC works to ensure agencies achieve desired policy outcomes within required timeframes. Particular ways in which we assist agencies manage instrument projects include:

  • agencies can contact client advisers to obtain quick off‑the‑cuff advice about drafting matters that arise, for instance, in the course of preparing a Cabinet submission or drafting instructions
  • if requested, OPC can prepare an estimate of the likely cost for OPC to draft a non‑tied instrument and provide regular updates on the charges accrued while work is in progress

Deciding if a non-tied instrument should be drafted by OPC

When deciding if a particular non-tied instrument should be drafted by OPC, agencies should consider the following document:

Instrument Drafting Guidance Note No. 1.1