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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 2 Hansard (17 February) . . Page.. 573..

MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

a public information program will be as effective as possible. Given the need for other amendments to the act, the proposed delay is entirely appropriate.

These amendments ensure that there will be a minimum of confusion about the obligations of owners and occupants to inform people about asbestos on their premises. That is a very important objective and one that this Assembly should support, and I thank members for their support. I acknowledge the members for their swift consideration of this bill. It is not ideal, as Dr Foskey has pointed out, to introduce the bill on Tuesday and expect it to be debated on Thursday, but briefings were available, it was a matter of urgency and the government does it only in very rare and urgent circumstances.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Health Records (Privacy and Access) Amendment Bill 2005

Debate resumed from 15 February 2005, on motion by Ms Gallagher:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella-Leader of the Opposition) (12.17): The Health Records (Privacy and Access) Amendment Bill 2005 is designed to amend the Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act. The bill is designed to fix a loophole whereby a person may be able to gain access to the identity of people making mandatory and voluntary reports under sections 158 and 159 of the Children and Young People Act 1999.

The loophole occurs because many of the records made under the Children and Young People Act can actually be classified as health records and can thus be accessed under the provisions of the Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act. The bill inserts a requirement that a record-keeper must not give access to a health record or part of a health record under section 10 of the Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act 1997 if it relates to a report under either the voluntary or mandatory reporting provisions of the Children and Young People Act 1999 and if that record, or part of a health record, would identify the person who made the report or enable the identity of the reporter to be worked out.

Other parts of the bill ensure that the police can still access reports as necessary and that people can still access some of the information contained in the reports as long as it does not identify the reporter. The bill is essentially a fix-up that closes the potentially damaging loophole. It should lead to increased security for the reporters of child abuse, which of course is a good thing. The opposition will be supporting the bill.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (12.18): As we know, today individual health and medical data can be collected, collated, stored, analysed and distributed in unprecedented quantities and put to diverse uses. Some of these uses are, of course, a benefit to patients

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