Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 4 Hansard (25 March) . . Page.. 1593..
MRS DUNNE (continuing):
understand that the minister must retain the prerogative when deciding on matters that go to government policy. It is, of course, very important that the minister take into account all information made available, particularly when it comes from expert sources such as industry, something on which this government has a dismal record, especially in this case. Nonetheless, it would be open to the committee, when reporting to the minister on the first year's operation of the act, to make recommendations in relation to this matter.
In this connection, the MTA and the committee have raised a number of matters that, no doubt, will exercise the mind of the committee. These will include matters such as industry training, public promotion of the changes brought about by this bill and its amendments, the responsibility for licensing of repairers of electric vehicles as well as for specialist fields such as air conditioning and gas installation, and whether the government's licence inspectors have the necessary industry-based skills of a technical nature to inspect the activity of licensees, especially specialist licensees. Even the construction of the committee itself might come under some review as the operation of the bill progresses.
The establishment of the advisory committee will enable the industry and government to work together on these kinds of issues and provide expert, informed advice to the Attorney-General for future change, either through legislation or ministerial direction. I hope the attorney, contrary to his past attitude, will go along with the spirit of what is being created here for the future. As I have said, the Canberra Liberals will be supporting this amendment.
The fourth amendment deals with false and misleading representations and creates a criminal office carrying a maximum penalty of 200 units. It goes to some length to outline the kinds of misrepresentation that would be caused by the provision. This addresses major concerns of the industry about unlicensed operators, backyard operators, unskilled operators and operators who engage in dodgy practices on a range of fronts.
I note from the minutes of the code meeting of 15 March, to which Mr Rattenbury and I have referred, that officials from the Department of Justice and Community Safety advised the committee on the intent of this clause. That advice was that the fair trading commissioner would pursue offenders under occupational discipline powers elsewhere in the bill before turning to criminal sanctions. We support this amendment.
Amendments 5 and 6 simply create new definitions of the advisory committee and representative members which are consequential in other places. Generally speaking, we are happy to support the amendments.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.47): I flagged earlier that the Greens were pleased to see the amendments, because they address specific concerns held by those in the industry and the code committee. The amendments create an advisory committee which will be tasked with reporting back to the minister within one year on the operation of the act and the need for further reform. The Greens are also pleased to note that the government has been quite specific on what that one-year report must include, and I welcome that specificity. The report will include the committee's