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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 11 Hansard (14 November) . . Page.. 3413..


Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.

Bill agreed to.

Health Legislation Amendment Bill 2006 (No 2)

Debate resumed from 19 October 2006, on motion by Ms Gallagher:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra-Leader of the Opposition) (11.04): The opposition will be supporting this bill. The bill has three broad purposes. Two aspects relate to the Health Professionals Act. Firstly, it clarifies some definitions within the act. Secondly, it extends the transitional arrangements for the move from the previous arrangements; it ensures that the legislation falls within ACT Health's responsibility to comply with the human rights legislation; and also it implements a number of relatively minor amendments relating to the health aspects of a number of acts.

The Health Professionals Act is intended to facilitate the management of the various groups of health professionals in the ACT. One matter that has arisen in this regard is the need to identify particular professions that have to this point either been included within the single category of nursing or otherwise not identified clearly.

The amendment bill will put in place definitions of various categories of health professionals. One such distinction that has arisen concerns the distinction between nurses and midwives. Another matter related to the Health Professionals Act is the transition of matters from the previous legislative regime to the current act.

At the present time all of these transitional issues are included within part 15 of this act. At this time there is an expiry provision applying to part 15 whereby this act will expire on 18 November 2006-that is next Saturday. The issue we have to consider is that there may be matters that will remain unresolved as at 18 November 2006 but which will need to be resolved-for example, where there may be disciplinary proceedings that have commenced but not been completed.

The proposal contained in this bill is to extend the expiry provision for part 15 by two years, until 9 January 2009. The opposition agrees with this proposition to facilitate the smooth transition to the new act and to ensure that any matters that are outstanding under the former legislation are dealt with effectively without disadvantaging any parties.

The second group of amendments relates to the ACT human rights legislation. ACT Health has been concerned to make sure that all of the legislation for which it has responsibility accords with the Human Rights Act. An independent expert agency was


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