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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 27 November 2018) . . Page.. 4898 ..


Unfortunately we live in times where emergencies such as described in the explanatory statement are becoming more frequent and are increasingly likely to be compounded or interlinked. For that reason I particularly acknowledge the legal integration of subplans into the formally recognised emergency framework that may be developed in response to a perceived specific threat, which will hopefully see the territory more prepared and ready to respond to any possible crisis or emerging catastrophe.

The remainder of the bill offers minor but important administrative amendments, and I thank Minister Gentleman for bringing them forward today.

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Minister for Planning and Land Management, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Advanced Technology and Space Industries) (6.07), in reply: I thank members for their input on the bill and their comments today. I will make a couple of comments in regard to my response to the scrutiny committee.

The committee sought information on the intention to displace an obligation for the appointment as emergency controller to be subject of a disallowance by the Assembly. I advise members that it was indeed the intention to remove the requirement for any appointment of the emergency controller to be done by way of disallowable instrument. Under the current provisions of the act it would be only in select circumstances where the appointment would be subject to disallowance, but this includes a situation where the Chief Police Officer has been appointed as the emergency controller.

I appreciate that the disallowance of such an appointment may be unlikely. However, the implications should this occur—which include the potential for the Chief Police Officer to be prohibited from being appointed as emergency controller for six months following disallowance—could have serious operational implications for the territory and should be avoided.

The committee also asked me to consider tabling the instrument of appointment in the Assembly together with a statement in support of the appointment. Noting the significant requirements to update the ACT community informed about an emergency, including any appointment of an emergency controller, I do not support the need to table within the Assembly a statement of reasons behind the appointment of an emergency controller. Any appointment would be subject to further discussions and debate through normal Assembly processes.

In these time-critical situations it is important that key leadership roles can be appointed on the best available advice without delay. In addition, the reasons behind the appointment of an emergency controller may be of a sensitive or classified nature. This is most likely the case in relation to the appointment of the Chief Police Officer as emergency controller in order to provide for a coordinated response to a terrorism or security-related incident.


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