Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (25 October) . . Page.. 2043 ..
MRS CARNELL (continuing):
This is to be a statutory authority. Mr Berry knows all about statutory authorities. It is absolutely essential that we have on these statutory authorities people who understand how to run large portfolio areas handling millions of dollars of taxpayers' money. We certainly need people who have expertise in the areas that we want to improve, such as health, sport, the arts and so on; but it is absolutely essential that we have somebody who can manage that fairly large portfolio we are talking about. I do not believe that having four people with backgrounds in health, only one with a business background, one with a communications background, one from sport and one from the arts would give the board a proper balance. It is absolutely essential, if we are going to make this work, that this board have members of the calibre that we need to achieve the same sorts of ends that have been achieved in Victoria and Western Australia.
It is interesting to note that Professor Neville Norman, in his economic evaluation of the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, concluded that after five years of operation the VHPF had had considerable success. He went on to say that, on an extremely conservative estimate, the $120m investment has returned more than $200m for the Quit campaign alone. Those figures show you what we are dealing with here. It is simply not an advisory board; it is not a board that gives advice to Ministers; it is none of those things. This is a board that will look after a multimillion dollar portfolio, and that must be the way the board is balanced.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Connolly, we are, in fact, discussing Ms Tucker's amendments Nos 2 and 3. I accept that we should be discussing only amendment No. 2. Mr Connolly has another amendment which will come between those two. However, to assist the debate, I think it is preferable to discuss Ms Tucker's amendments Nos 2 and 3.
MR CONNOLLY (4.21): That makes sense because amendment No. 2 would be nonsense if we were just saying that we should have either nine or 11 members of the board. If the Greens were simply wanting to put more members on the board, that would be a fairly silly thing to do; but they do have a reason for this. For that reason, the Opposition is minded to support this amendment. As I understand what Ms Tucker is proposing, she is concerned that health could simply mean two senior specialists or GPs. I accept the Chief Minister's assurance that that is not her intention; nor was it ours. I think that what Ms Tucker is trying to do is set out in the legislation a little more prescriptively that you want health expertise from a range of backgrounds. For that reason, we are prepared to support that.
In relation to the other areas of expertise, I will put a question to Mrs Carnell which may save me putting another amendment. It was put to me that for quite some time solicitors have gone on and off the board and have been able to play a quite constructive role. It was put to me that it might be useful to amend "a member with expertise in business or accountancy" by adding "or law". I would have thought that anybody who is practising in a firm of solicitors could be regarded as having expertise in law. Mrs Carnell nods. I would hope that she could read into the record at some point that members of solicitors' firms could well be eligible for appointment under that heading.