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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 23 August 2018) . . Page.. 3560 ..

Veterinary Practice Bill 2018

Debate resumed from 10 May 2018, on motion by Ms Fitzharris:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (3.41): The opposition will support the Veterinary Practice Bill. It was disappointing that my request for a briefing made around 24 July fell through the cracks, but we got there in the end and it was a very useful with officials and the staff of the minister’s office this week. I thank the Minister for Transport and City Services for arranging it and the collegial way in which my office and her office have collaborated since that time.

That meeting resulted in a number of amendments which I initially proposed but most of which the minister will present in the detailed stage, and we will be supporting them; and, as I said before, I appreciate the collaboration.

I, too, will have an amendment. Although there was initially some concern about that amendment I have been informed that the government will also be supporting that amendment, but I will stand corrected if my intel is not correct.

This bill seeks to do a number of things. It will establish legislation modelled on New South Wales legislation which will govern the ACTs veterinary practice sector, including practitioners and their premises. The bill will reduce or remove cross-border regulatory barriers. It will do this through a mutual recognition scheme by recognising practitioners registered in other jurisdictions.

The major focus of the bill is to establish a board to govern the sector, including registration, disciplinary and inspection processes and to report publicly on its activities. This bill came about because the commonwealth Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency established in 2010 did not include veterinary surgeons. In 2015 the Assembly passed the Veterinary Surgeons Act, which came into effect in December last year. In doing so it was always the plan to review it, and this bill is the result of that review.

The bill will establish a board of seven comprising a president, four registered practitioners, one member who is not a practitioner who represents the community, and one additional non-practitioner who could fill a skills need in a non-veterinary capacity on the board. Each year the board will elect a deputy president from amongst its four practitioners.

The bill will enable the board to conduct disciplinary proceedings or investigate complaints it receives or self-initiate proceedings. Procedural fairness is provided and some decisions could be reviewable in the ACAT. The board will be able to set up an investigation committee or appoint investigators. The bill will require that investigations be done in consultation with the Human Rights Commission. The board will also have certain powers of delegation. There will be two practitioner registration

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