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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 9 Hansard (1 September) . . Page.. 2759 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

Mr Humphries drew attention to consultation. This one has grey whiskers on it. It has been around for a year and a quarter. He says that it has not had much public debate. That has not been without Mr Humphries' urging. He issued a number of press releases calling on me to do all sorts of things, including withdraw the Bill. I have taken the opportunity to respond to those things, so there has been plenty of public discussion of the issue. It has been no secret. One does not put legislation in this place and keep it a secret, certainly not if it is legislation which is broadly accepted by the community sector.

Many businesses do not want to be regulated at all. That is a common thread to the argument. Mr Humphries advises us that 20 of the 70-odd people who were written to opposed this sort of legislation. Who is surprised at that? He raised the figure of $1,000. I reckon that was a figure raised to make people uncomfortable with the legislation rather than to reflect the real cost to the ACT.

Mr Humphries says that these sorts of arrangements more or less support themselves. More or less they might, but in certain circumstances where it is in the interests of the Territory to protect its citizens the Territory makes a little contribution too. It is not always a case of user pays. It cannot be in a socially just society. But I am happy to have all of those issues looked at in the context of the committee. I have circulated some amendments that the committee can also have a look at. They arise from the scrutiny of Bills committee report.

So far as consultation with the industry is concerned, as I said, intelligence about this legislation has been distributed far and wide. I want to thank Mr Humphries for writing to all of those people in the industry, because he rather helped me out, given my meagre stamp allowance. I did not have to do it. As a result of him writing to those people, I got one visit from one agent and we had a bit of a discussion. Concern about the issue waned and that was the end of it. I have not seen them since. So I would not say there is a lot of concern out there about the issue. I have had no further phone calls, and it has not been of concern. I have seen people on the television saying in news reports that it was a good idea.

I will leave it at that, Mr Speaker, and thank members for their support in principle for this Bill. I look forward to its speedy assessment by Mr Osborne's committee.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

MS CARNELL (Chief Minister) (6.05): Pursuant to standing order 174, I move:

That the Agents (Amendment) Bill 1998 be referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety for inquiry and report.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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