Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 9 Hansard (23 August) . . Page.. 3566 ..
and veterinary profession entities, such as the ABA, universities, others as identified throughout the process, and the board on the final appointment.
Recruitment policies will also be developed to support panel assessments of candidates. The government believes that the proposed appointment process is robust and has measures in place to deter ministerial interference. The process also addresses previous issues identified with the election process where the same veterinary surgeons are repeatedly appointed due to their prominence in the profession, and that at times not enough nominations are received to run an election.
All appointments under the bill will be subject to scrutiny by the ACT government, diversity and representation officers, the Legislative Assembly committees, the Legislative Assembly, the board and professional entities to ensure objectivity. A detailed skills matrix has also been prepared by the board that will be reviewed annually and will help identify relevant skills required for members relating to both governance and veterinary skills.
Consultation with the ABA and the opposition also focused on clause 61(1)(b)(ii) of the bill, which enables the board to impose a penalty not exceeding $1,000 on a veterinary practitioner for misconduct. The ABA requested that the penalty align with New South Wales veterinary legislation and be capped at $5,000. To clarify, the penalty was set at $1,000 to align with the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal penalty levels. The government will commit to review the penalty level in line with any review of ACAT's penalty levels.
This bill will provide the public with greater assurance that veterinary practitioners are suitably skilled and qualified to undertake their work. It will also provide the board with the necessary provisions to promptly identify and address malpractice in the sector and to take action appropriate to the severity and effect of non-compliance.
Canberrans love their pets and animals. This bill will help ensure that the veterinary profession in the ACT is operating efficiently and, most importantly, with integrity in protecting both the public and animals. I commend the bill to the Assembly.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill agreed to in principle.
Clauses 1 to 9, by leave, taken together and agreed to.
MS FITZHARRIS (Yerrabi—Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Minister for Transport and City Services and Minister for Higher Education, Training and Research) (4.03): Pursuant to standing order 182A(b) and (c), I seek leave to move amendments to this bill that are in response to scrutiny comments and that are minor and technical in nature.