Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (25 October) . . Page.. 2045 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
There is a delicate balance in this board so that there are two members with expertise in health, one with expertise in sport or recreation, one with expertise in the arts or culture, and various other people, in order to give that broad balance. To appoint four members with backgrounds in health, Mr Speaker, I think, overbalances the committee in favour of that pure health component of its work as opposed to its component of doing work with respect to health through other media, and I would argue that that is a good reason not to support the amendment.
In respect of additional support for the arts - I mentioned that before - there is approximately a 100 per cent increase in sponsorship and activity of arts-related activities. That is an amount of some $850,000 over the next three years which the board will need to exercise some care in spending. It is very important that this board not operate in isolation from other organs of community activity in these sorts of activities. It would certainly be hard for it to do its job, focusing on the spending, for example, of $850,000 over three years in the arts, if there was only one member of an 11-member board with a background or expertise in the arts. It is only slightly easier having one member on a nine-member board. I would certainly not argue that any dilution of that process should take place, any more than we should by diluting the number of members with a sport background on the board. Mr Speaker, I would urge members not to consider this amendment worthy of passage.
MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Minister for Health and Community Care) (4.28): I think one of the issues that we need to look at here is not just who these people on this board might be, but also the number of people on the board. This is amendment No. 2, the one we are really supposed to be looking at. One of the things that the Assembly must remember is that this board is a management board. It will manage, as I said, significant amounts of money, and it will be a paid board. Therefore, two extra members means extra money, and that means that less money goes to the things that we want to spend it on - the promotion of health via the arts, sport or recreation. Two extra members does mean less money for the community, for the non-government sector, and I think that is unwise. What we have to do is cut back on the amount of money we spend on the administration of the whole thing and make sure that more money gets out into the community. From that point of view alone, I think we should be looking at nine members.
MR MOORE (4.29): Mr Speaker, I indicated when I spoke to this amendment that I had some problems with the way it was constructed in terms of the balance as to who would be on the board. Let us look at paragraph 8(1)(e). Mr Speaker, you suggested that we can speak to both amendments. I think it would be appropriate to look at an amendment there, Mr Speaker.
I have spoken against changing the numbers from nine to 11. If we retain nine, I think there arises another issue that I would like to flag now so that we can talk about it when we come to debate amendment No. 3 circulated by Ms Tucker. I think there is some logic in looking at the two members with expertise in health and perhaps identifying, in the way that Ms Tucker has, what fields they should come from so that we have a health promotion sense. I think Ms Tucker has made a quite good argument about a member with expertise in health and environmental issues. I would say that one could