Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 15 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 5637..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
person. This test is workable, given that the registrar is responsible for dog attack investigations.
The bill also seeks to amend section 124 of the act to remove the requirement of officers' identity cards to include their names. The welfare of government employees is at the heart of this amendment. The need for this has sadly occurred because of threats made against Domestic Animal Service officers and their families. To ensure their safety, I am seeking to amend the act to remove the requirement for officers' names to appear on their identity cards and to instead allow identity cards to include an identifying number unique to each officer. The chief executive of the department will be responsible for issuing each officer's unique number.
I want to assure members that this bill will not absolve officers from providing their names in court proceedings. They will still be required to give their names for the purpose of making formal statements and giving evidence in court as the criminal justice system already provides sufficient protection for witnesses in judicial proceedings. The amendment will put in place a system identical to that which is currently employed on the ID cards of parking inspectors, and it is being employed for the same reason, to protect public servants from harassment that may arise from their daily work.
It is distressing that measures such as this are necessary in our society. It is distressing that public servants who are working for the safety of our community cannot do so without the risk of personal harassment and the fear of repercussions just for doing their job. It is unsettling that they are forced to do their job and have to disclose their name and not have the protection of an ID number. Threats against officers and their children have not been a one-off offence. Sadly, they are issues that have been raised by the Registrar of Domestic Animal Services with serious concern over a number of years.
I would like to advise members that the federal Office of the Privacy Commissioner and the ACT Law Society have been consulted on these proposals and their views have been taken into account in developing the bill.
The final issue that is addressed by this bill can be regarded as housekeeping. The bill also proposes to replace "authorised officer"with "authorised person"throughout the act and subordinate legislation in line with current drafting practice. I commend the bill to the Assembly.
Debate (on motion by Mr Coe) adjourned to the next sitting.
Health Legislation Amendment Bill 2009 (No 2)
Ms Gallagher, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.
Title read by Clerk.
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Health and Minister for Industrial Relations) (10.11): I move: