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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 11 Hansard (26 September) . . Page.. 3452..


PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT - STANDING COMMITTEE
Reports on National Conferences of Parliamentary Committees

MR MOORE (12.19): Mr Speaker, I present Report No. 16 of the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment entitled "Organisation of the 1996 National Conferences of Australian Parliamentary Public Works and Environment Committees", together with extracts of the minutes of proceedings and the transcript of proceedings of the 1996 National Conferences of Australian Parliamentary Public Works and Environment Committees. Mr Speaker, with leave of the Assembly, I will also present Report No. 17 of the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment entitled "Issues Raised at the 1996 National Conference of Australian Parliamentary Environment Committees", and move:

That Reports Nos 16 and 17 be noted.

Mr Speaker, Report No. 16 of the Planning and Environment Committee deals with a first for this parliament. It was the first time that a committee of this parliament had been host to a national conference of parliamentary committees and I believe that is yet another mark of this parliament coming of age.

The Planning and Environment Committee considered there were a number of advantages in hosting both the conference on public works and the conference of environment committees over consecutive days. First, it would acknowledge the fact that some parliamentary committees, of which the Planning and Environment Committee is one, were responsible for examining both the public works aspects of government activity and environmental aspects generally. Secondly, it would recognise that environmental issues are becoming increasingly important when considering public works projects - particularly so in the ACT, where major capital works have been altered to take account of environmental concerns. Thirdly, it would reduce delegates' time, travel and costs. Attending two conferences in the one venue over a three-day period was cheaper than attending two separate conferences at different times in different venues. Finally, it would facilitate planning of the ACT Standing Committee on Planning and Environment.

Mr Speaker, this was the first time that the Assembly had hosted major parliamentary conferences of this kind. It was the first time that the chamber of the Assembly had been used for such a purpose. I think it is a sign of the Assembly's maturity that it was able to host such a gathering of parliamentarians. As a small aside, Mr Speaker, this is the first time that a committee report has contained photos. I would hope, now that digitised imaging is fairly easily achieved through scanning photos into our computer systems, that we would be able to see this sort of improvement in presentation in more of our committee reports.

The Planning and Environment Committee was very pleased that the Parliament of New Zealand was represented at the conference. Delegates at the environment conference appreciated the insights contained in the address by Mrs Helen Hughes, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment in New Zealand, and delegates to both conferences appreciated the perceptive comments of the Clerk of the Planning and Development Committee of the New Zealand House of Representatives, Mr David Bagnall.


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