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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 2 Hansard (15 February) . . Page.. 420..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

identity of the reporter could be worked out from the record or part of a record. The need for this amendment has been considered and supported by the ACT Health Child Protection Advisory Group, which comprises senior clinicians from ACT Health, representatives of the Office of Children, Youth and Family Support and the Division of General Practice.

The government will also provide advice to other ACT government agencies, community organisations, general practice and other private medical providers regarding the ramifications of these amendments. This amendment will protect the identity of reporters while minimising the extent to which information under the Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act 1997 is withheld.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Dangerous Substances (Asbestos) Amendment Bill 2005

Ms Gallagher, by leave, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo-Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support, Minister for Women and Minister for Industrial Relations) (4.44): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Dangerous Substances (Asbestos) Amendment Bill 2005 will amend the Dangerous Substances (Asbestos) Amendment Act 2004. This bill will improve the clarity of the operation of the act in time for its proposed implementation in April this year. Most members of this Assembly will recall that the Dangerous Substances Act 2004 was amended in August last year by the insertion of new provisions dealing with the provision of information about asbestos on premises. Members may recall the context of those amendments. The government, the opposition and crossbenchers significantly amended a bill presented by Mrs Helen Cross, a former member of the Assembly.

Mrs Cross supported many of the amendments, the consensus of the Assembly at the time being, in effect, that legislation relating to provision of information about asbestos material must be clear, equitable and reasonably simple to comply with. One of the core issues debated at that time focused on the insertion of a new section 47J into the Dangerous Substances Act 2004 to require owners and occupiers to provide required information about the presence of asbestos at their premises. Section 47J is due to commence operation on 1 March 2005. The section would apply when an owner or occupier knows, or ought reasonably to know, that there is asbestos at the premises. That knowledge would give rise to a duty of care to provide information to persons at risk.

As it stands, the information to be provided includes up to date information about the location and condition of asbestos. It has been brought to the government's attention that there is some concern about the times at which, and the extent to which, an owner or occupier is required to make further inquiries about the presence of asbestos at his or her


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