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SURVEYORS (AMENDMENT) BILL 1995
Debate resumed from 4 May 1995, on motion by Mr Humphries:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
MR WOOD (4.19): Mr Speaker, we support this Bill. Indeed, I can remember the debate at a meeting of the Surveyors Board that instigated this Bill. I pointed out that we had trouble getting any gender balance on some boards and committees because there were not any women to pull in. At present members of the Surveyors Board must be licensed surveyors. There are not any women who are licensed surveyors, so we cannot have any women on the board. Adding one member to the board will enable the new Minister to appoint a woman to the board, and I am confident that he will take that approach.
It is also a sensible approach to have on boards members who are not from the discipline. The Pharmacy Board, for example, should have on it someone who is not a pharmacist. You can go right through every one of the professional boards and make the same comment. I think that all boards need someone from beyond the discipline to point out perhaps facts that board members from the profession do not always appreciate. It would be a good thing if every one of the professional boards had amendments of this nature to their enabling Acts to enable people not of their profession to be appointed. That might enable us in some small measure to address the gender inequity that exists on quite a number of these boards.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General and Minister for the Environment, Land and Planning) (4.20), in reply: Mr Speaker, I thank Mr Wood for his support. I must make it clear that, although the passage of this Bill will give the Government power to appoint a community member to the board, and a female community member at that, the main purpose of this amendment is to provide that there can be other than surveyors on the board. Whether that other person ought to be a woman is perhaps a secondary issue. There are no female surveyors in the Territory and it is therefore not in the least bit surprising or inappropriate that the Surveyors Board should be heavily dominated by men. That is a reflection of the nature of this occupation in the ACT. Certainly, if an appropriate female community representative can be found, we will take advantage of the opportunity to appoint her. But I emphasise that the principal objective of this amendment is to provide for community representation, not necessarily female representation. Mr Speaker, we have also removed gender specific language from the legislation, making it clear that people do not have to be men to be surveyors or to be on the Surveyors Board or anything of that kind. I thank the Opposition for its support.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill agreed to in principle.
Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.
Bill agreed to.