Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 9 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 2748 ..
The petition read as follows:
To the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory:
The petition of certain residents of the Australian Capital Territory draws to the attention of the Assembly:
that any legislation to restrict shopping hours in the ACT will be against the interests of shoppers and will cause job losses.
Your petitioners therefore request the Assembly to vote against the Government's proposed restricted shopping hours legislation.
MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (10.32): Mr Speaker, I present the Public Interest Disclosure (Amendment) Bill 1996, together with its explanatory memorandum.
Title read by Clerk.
MRS CARNELL: I move:
That this Bill be agreed to in principle.
Mr Speaker, the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1994 provides a comprehensive scheme of protection and remedies for people who report instances of corrupt, illegal or improper conduct or substantial waste of resources within the ACT public sector. The Act also requires ACT government agencies, which for the purposes of this Act include government-owned businesses, to set up procedures to receive and act on disclosures.
The Public Interest Disclosure (Amendment) Bill 1996 makes some technical amendments to the Act. First, the Bill makes a specific reference to the Auditor-General as a proper authority. This is the term used to refer to the public sector bodies that are bound by the Act. While the Auditor-General already falls within the existing provisions of this Act, the Government agrees with the Auditor-General's view that this should be made quite clear on the face of the legislation.
The Bill sets in place some changes that recognise the importance of the Auditor-General, along with the ACT Ombudsman, in providing a source of independent investigation of public interest disclosures as well as a form of review of agency actions. It is anticipated that agencies will deal appropriately with disclosures and act on substantiated information.