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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 14 May 2015) . . Page.. 1787 ..

known in the community, vets or veterinarians. The professional regulation of vets continues to operate in the territory under the Health Professionals Act. The Veterinary Surgeons Board therefore remains the only health professions board covered by the act. This is no longer appropriate as the act is not targeted to regulate veterinary surgeons alone.

The act instead provides the framework for government to decide if a health profession should be regulated. It gives the parameters and scope for the operation of health profession boards and establishes, amongst other things, a generic registration system and occupational discipline process.

Due to the nature of the act, it is also organised as principal legislation with regulations enacted to address the peculiarities of the scheme. The regulations under the act establish, for example, individual health profession boards, while a schedule to the regulations determines the things required to be prescribed for each of those boards, such as how many members must be appointed and how many members elected. By way of example, the Veterinary Surgeons Board was captured under schedule 12 of the regulations, the only remaining board so scheduled. With only one board operating under the act, many of the act’s provisions, indeed whole parts of the act, are no longer relevant or necessary.

Madam Deputy Speaker, today I am introducing legislation that repeals the Health Professionals Act 2004 and associated subordinate legislation and replaces it instead with a profession specific statue that covers the regulation and management of the veterinary surgeons profession in the ACT. The bill, the Veterinary Surgeons Bill 2015, creates legislation which mirrors the current arrangements under which the board operates. It is, however, as already mentioned, profession specific.

Where the previous act provides the scope of the powers under which a health professional board operates, this bill reflects the actual arrangements under which the Veterinary Surgeons Board chose to operate within the context of the Health Professionals Act. In addition, provisions which were originally from the Health Professionals Act and reused in the bill that I am tabling today are modernised and updated to reflect current drafting standards.

Prior to 2007, the Veterinary Surgeons Board operated under occupational specific legislation and was not captured by the Health Professionals Act. The new bill will merely restore the veterinary surgeons profession in the territory to this situation. Although the bill will not change the operation or legislative frame under which the board operates, the following overview will provide members with an understanding of the bill as it is presented.

The bill provides for a board to cover veterinary surgeons regulation. The board will be made up of seven members in total. Four members are appointed by the minister and include a president and three ordinary members, one of whom is a community representative. A further three members will be elected by the membership of registered veterinary surgeons in the ACT. This reflects the existing situation.

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