Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 10 (19 October) . . Page.. 3294..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
stage it is at today. There is still more work to be done, but we are now in the fortunate position of having a very well-worked-through model that can be further refined and which I am sure will be further refined once it comes to the Assembly. But it will present this territory with the best planning legislation and the most efficient system in the country and one that will serve the territory and its citizens well in protecting the amenity we have, protecting and enhancing the wonderful built environment we will enjoy in the city, and allowing for decisions about its future use and development to be made in a timely and well-considered framework.
MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (12.06), in reply: I have already given a detailed comment on the committee's report so I would just like to thank the minister and Dr Foskey for their comments. But I must say that Dr Foskey's comments seem to be directed at the draft bill and not at the committee's report. Dr Foskey said that the report was selective, but I must say that I think this is the largest inquiry that this committee has done and the largest report; we had 48 recommendations in the report.
I would like to thank all of those who made submissions and, as the minister has indicated, the departmental officials for their work. ACTPLA came back twice for us for this report, which was good. Without further adieu, I commend the report to the Assembly and urge the Assembly to support the motion.
Motion agreed to.
Human Rights Commission Amendment Bill 2006
Debate resumed from 17 October 2006, on motion by Mr Corbell:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra—Leader of the Opposition) (12.07): The opposition will be supporting this bill because, as much as anything else, it gives effect to an announcement that will save us some $400,000 in the budget, and that obviously is a good thing. I will say something more in a minute about how the government could save considerably more money for the benefit of the people of the ACT if it went a bit further and abolished the whole commission.
This bill basically seeks to make some structural changes to the Human Rights Commission. It removes the position of president from the commission so that every member of the commission will be a specialist commissioner. It will allow commissioners to decide how to manage the operations of the commission, thus negating the need for a president.
We also note that conciliation will be kept separate from the process of considering complaints by having it carried out by staff of the commission or by consultants engaged where appropriate. I have some concerns with that, although we support the thrust of this bill. The government needs to keep the consultancy costs to the absolute minimum because there is no point in it saving in one area, by abolishing the position of president and taking the number of commissioners from five to three, which is an admirable thing, if it is going to spend a lot of extra money on consultants, thus negating that $400,000 it seeks to save. So we will be monitoring that very closely. We are, to an extent, taking the