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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 19 August 2010) . . Page.. 3628 ..


The United Kingdom has, in fact, already started experimenting on using future weather for their equivalent of the energy efficiency ratings. I believe that Australia should be doing this also. We do not want to put a lot of work into building buildings which simply will not work in the future. This is an area where I believe the ACT should be lobbying the other jurisdictions to ensure a national approach on this. It is not something that I would be suggesting the ACT should go it alone on due to the complexity of the issue. However, it is something where the ACT should be strongly leading the national debate. We want to be designing our buildings for the future, not the past.

As Mr Seselja mentioned, I flag that I will be raising a minor amendment at the detail stage to improve the administrative decision-making process that occurs under the bill. This is a response to the comments in the scrutiny of bills process. In conclusion, the Greens support this bill in principle. It is a step forward and we look forward to many more steps forward in the future.

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (11.28): I am happy to speak in support of the bill today. Public health and safety regulation spans many aspects of our lives, from the supply of essential services to our workplaces and practices to the safety of our built environment. They are necessarily diverse regulations administered by a variety of agencies that have a focus on public health and safety.

Communication between offices and agencies responsible for protecting health and safety is important in developing cohesive cross-portfolio responses to events. For example, the construction process involves hazards, including the use and disposal of hazardous materials. It also involves occupational health and safety and adherence to construction and other standards for buildings and their services. There can also be issues of land use and other environment impacts that are caused by construction work or by the post-occupancy use of a building.

Where people or businesses are operating in contravention of regulations, effective responses rely on detection of the offence. If a public safety agency possesses information that would assist with the prevention of harm to a member of the public, it is reasonable that this information is provided to persons that can act on it, regardless of whether they are located in a different agency or not.

The bill introduces new provisions for the sharing of information between inspectors of designated public safety agencies. Some agencies, such as JACS and ACTPLA, also have multiple regulatory roles. The amendments will provide clarity to inspectors as to when they are able to provide information to other officers outside their agency or administrative area. The bill also allows for agencies that hold information obtained in a former capacity as a public safety agency to share that information if appropriate.

Of course, this does not mean an uncontrolled exchange of private information. Information shared under these provisions must be in relation to a situation that presents or is likely to present a risk of death or injury to a person, significant harm to the environment or significant damage to property. Officers must also exercise judgement to ensure that they are satisfied that an agency receiving information will use it to exercise a function given to the receiving agency under a territory law.


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