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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 5 Hansard (16 May) . . Page.. 1792 ..

I thank the minister for the report that was tabled today. I look forward to substantial progress and I hope this is the beginning of a radical turnaround in staff culture in the Canberra health system.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Integrity Commission Amendment Bill 2019

Mr Barr, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Social Inclusion and Equality, Minister for Tourism and Special Events and Minister for Trade, Industry and Investment) (10.46): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

This is a straightforward amendment bill that provides for a split commencement of the act to facilitate the commencement of the enabling provisions whilst delaying the commencement of complaints until the integrity commissioner is ready to receive them. Enabling provisions such as establishing the commission as an ACT public sector entity and making appointments will continue to commence on 1 July 2019, as planned. All other provisions will commence two months after the commissioner's term of appointment commences.

As members are aware, we have now been able to reach agreement on a commissioner. The fact that that process was delayed shows the need for this bill today. My advice is that Justice Dennis Cowdroy OAM, QC will be able to take up his appointment on 1 August, which would mean an effective start date for the integrity commission of 1 October this year. This will allow the commissioner, once appointed, to participate in the establishment of the integrity commission, expend government funds and engage commission staff prior to the commencement of provisions that allow for complaints to be made and matters to be investigated. These amendments today will ensure that the commissioner has appropriate time to familiarise himself with this important role and be in a strong position to start receiving corruption complaints and commence investigations.

This bill also amends the specific date of review of the act to align with the amendments of the commencement date and make some minor corrections to cross-referencing errors in the act. The outcome of these amendments will result in the robust integrity commission that we have all wanted to serve the people of Canberra and further strengthen the ACT community's confidence in decision-making processes in the territory. I commend the amendment bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Coe) adjourned to the next sitting.

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