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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 23 August 2018) . . Page.. 3561 ..

types: GPs or specialist. GP registration will also be available to non-practicing veterinarians, for example those who are retired from day-to-day practice.

Apart from establishing the board, the two primary elements of the bill are to provide a registration scheme for practitioners and to create a process for the board to deal with disciplinary matters and complaints. Both elements are comprehensive and provide the framework for efficient operation.

This bill engaged the Human Rights Act in relation to the powers of inspectors and the range of strict liability offences, but the explanatory statement provides comment on these issues. I note, too, that the scrutiny committee has raised a number of matters, and I am pleased that the minister’s responses were available in plenty of time before today’s debate. I note that the minister will table a revised explanatory statement that addresses the issues raised by the scrutiny of bills committee, including an amendment to prevent the executive from making regulations that carry penalties. As we all know, that is a big no-no.

I am not pleased, though, that the draft regulations associated with this bill are still a way off. A bill as important and new as this one should be considered in the context of the associated regulations. An example of the problem for this particular bill is that schedule 2 lists unrestricted acts of veterinary science. But the list of restricted acts of veterinary science will be made available later by regulation.

We do not know what they are; and I note the Australian Veterinary Association has some views on what those restricted acts should be. There is an inefficiency in the legislation and it could lead to confusion and inefficiencies in the industry. Both should have been presented to this Assembly at the one time.

I know I sound like a cracked record as I have been asking for this to happen with major new legislation for as long as I have been in this place. I have said many times before that regulations associated with new legislation should be presented. We have a bill but no regulations and therefore the Assembly does not have the capacity to fully scrutinise a new scheme, and neither does the veterinary profession have the opportunity to consider new legislation in a manner that will be fully informed and contextualised.

In considering this bill I consulted with the Australian Veterinary Association. In talking with the association it emerged that it had made a submission in response to the government’s plan to draft this bill but it was unclear about whether it could give feedback once the bill was drafted. Indeed, officials said as much in the briefing I took. Even though the government had advised stakeholders that the bill had been tabled, it seems that the government did not make it clear that stakeholders could provide further feedback, and this needs to happen in future. I note, however, that when the government became aware of the Australian Veterinary Association’s feedback they were quick to act on it.

That feedback was in the form of a very helpful paper raising a number of issues which they have and will continue to have with this bill. On the basis of some of the feedback from the Australian Veterinary Association I instructed the Parliamentary

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