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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 9 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 2753 ..


MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Minister for Health and Community Care) (10.48): Mr Speaker, I present the Dentists (Amendment) Bill 1996, together with the explanatory memorandum.

Title read by Clerk.


That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, the Dentists (Amendment) Bill 1996 has been in preparation for a considerable length of time, and I am pleased to see it at last coming to fruition. It is the eighth of a series of nine ACT health professions registration laws to be amended in accordance with the Australian Health Ministers' agreement to adopt consistent standards in relation to the regulation of health occupations.

The Dentists (Amendment) Bill 1996 amends the Dentists Registration Act 1931 and provides for nationally agreed uniform standards and arrangements for regulating dentists, specialist dentists and dental hygienists. It also provides for an expanded range of uniform sanctions which can be imposed on a dentist, specialist dentist or dental hygienist in disciplinary matters or on health grounds. In particular, the Bill recognises the entitlement of a person who is registered as a dentist, specialist dentist or dental hygienist in a State or another Territory to registration in the ACT and provides for conditions which are imposed upon a person's registration in another jurisdiction as a result of disciplinary action to be applied in respect of the person's registration in the Territory.

These provisions are intended to be consistent with the mutual recognition principle relating to occupations as set out in section 17 of the Commonwealth Mutual Recognition Act 1992. The application of that principle to the Territory and to other jurisdictions has given rise to the desirability of adopting agreed minimum requirements for registration as a dentist, specialist dentist or dental hygienist. Unless all jurisdictions where mutual recognition applies have the same standard of recognition, the jurisdiction with a lower standard will provide a means for a person who satisfies that standard, but not the higher standard required by other jurisdictions, to gain registration in those jurisdictions under the mutual recognition principle.

In order to be eligible for general - that is, unconditional - registration as a dentist, applicants must be graduates of a course of education or training in dentistry offered by an Australian institution that is accredited by the board or a registration authority in a State or another Territory; or have completed a course of education or training in dentistry in a place outside Australia which is accredited by the board, passed such examinations as the board requires, and undertaken such training and gained such experience in practising dentistry for such period, not exceeding 12 months, as the board requires.

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