Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 10 Hansard (Thursday, 18 October 2007) . . Page.. 3178 ..
Surveyors Bill 2007
Debate resumed from 31 May 2007 on motion by Mr Barr:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (5.28): The opposition will be supporting the Surveyors Bill as presented and amended by the government. Firstly, I would just like to put on record the fact that my office had a briefing on the bill and the amendments from Mr Barr’s office, and we are grateful for that briefing and answers to the questions that we need answered. The bill, as stated by the government, regulates a critical profession within the ACT. Firstly, it ensures the independent status of the position of the Commissioner for Surveys and does not allow the commissioner to participate in the formation and analysis of policy direction within ACTPLA. That is a concern.
As noted, the Surveyors Bill regulates the practice of surveying land in the ACT. It is a long-regulated profession—all governments in Australia recognise the importance of accurate surveying of land. It is fundamental to the future of all jurisdictions. As noted previously, the independent status of the position of the Commissioner for Surveys does not allow the commissioner to participate in the formation and analysis of policy direction within ACTPLA.
The bill addresses this issue with the replacement of the commissioner with a full-time public servant, being the Chief Surveyor. The Chief Surveyor will be tasked with not only having responsibility for statutory arrangements, but also the management of the surveying and spatial information programs on the authority. Allowing the new position of Chief Surveyor the scope to be a stakeholder would seem a positive step towards more open and balanced communication.
The introduction of compulsory professional development is an element that the opposition is broadly supportive of. The intention of the move to maintain parity with other jurisdictions is an important effort. The minister himself has acknowledged that certain elements of the bill may require amendment after the review of ACT tribunals being completed by the Department of Justice and Community Safety. The opposition will, of course, be interested in the outcome of the review and subsequent changes to the bill.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.30): Before I start, I just want to take the opportunity to say that there was a bill listed under government business that did not come up today. I just want to ask the government for a better process to inform—
MR SPEAKER: This is not the place to do it.
DR FOSKEY: I note that it is a failing that has happened before, and it needs to be corrected. The Surveyors Bill 2007 introduces legislation to replace the Surveyors Act 2001. It implements a number of changes to the administration of surveying and spatial data in the ACT, as well as changes to the regulation of the surveying profession. My office received a briefing from ACTPLA officers on this bill, and I thank them for giving up their time and explaining the issues so clearly, including the arcane intricacies of cadastral datum standards.