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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 13 Hansard (6 December) . . Page.. 4115..

Legal Affairs--Standing Committee

Statement by chair

MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (5.50): Pursuant to standing order 246A, I wish to make a statement on behalf of the Standing Committee on Legal Affairs (duties of Scrutiny of Bills and Subordinate Legislation Committee). The Animal Diseases Amendment Bill 2007 amends the Animal Diseases Act 2005 to permit the Director of Animal Hygiene to delegate his powers to members of the Australian Federal Police and to permit them to carry out functions of authorised people under the act. The committee has examined the bill and offers no comment on it.

Animal Diseases Amendment Bill 2007

Debate resumed from 4 December 2007, on motion by Mr Stanhope:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra—Leader of the Opposition) (5.51): The Liberal Party will support this bill. It empowers the chief vet to delegate his powers not only to public servants as authorised persons but also to the Australian Federal Police; it broadens the definition of "authorised persons"to include police officers; and it provides that police officers will not be required to carry ID cards issued under the act, because they are already required to identify themselves. These amendments are proposed because it became apparent that issues such as the recent outbreak of equine flu would put pressure on current resources. A side benefit will be that it will clarify any intervention by the police in the physical transportation of horses and movement of horse vehicles.

While the amendments are minor and non-controversial, they are important because they expand the number and range of personnel who would be made available to manage situations such as the recent equine flu outbreak. Accordingly, we support them. It is good to see, four months on, that the equine flu threat is in decline. That is a good situation. Hopefully, the threat to the ACT must be diminishing. We will be supporting these amendments.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.52): There is no need for me to speak because I have really got nothing to say except that it seems an eminently sensible bill and one that we will support.

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, Minister for the Arts) (5.52), in reply: I thank the Leader of the Opposition and Dr Foskey for their contributions to this bill. I regret that it came rather late, but it was necessary in terms of our planning for the possibility—let us hope it is no more than a possibility and that it does not eventuate—of an EI outbreak over the next couple of months. This gives us enhanced powers to manage an outbreak of equine influenza in the ACT. As Dr Foskey has said, it is eminently sensible. I thank members for their understanding and their support.

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