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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (13 October) . . Page.. 3091 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

Mr Corbell has the grace to admit that is inconsistent and I think suggested that perhaps we should amend that other Act as well. I would say to Mr Corbell, "No". Why should we amend the Act if that would have the effect of excluding a person like the present incumbent, Dr Joe Baker, who is an excellent Commissioner for the Environment, was appointed by the previous Labor Government, has been reappointed by the present Liberal Government and is highly regarded? I understand Dr Baker's qualifications are in marine biology and in chemistry.

I do not understand that this Bill refers to either of those things. It refers to qualifications in nature conservation, a graduate of an Australian or overseas university in a course of study relevant to nature conservation.

Mr Corbell: Gary, now look - - -

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I heard Mr Corbell in silence. I would ask the same privilege in respect of this matter.

Mr Corbell: No, you did not hear me in silence.


Mr Corbell: You did not hear me in silence, Mr Humphries. You did not. You interjected - - -

MR TEMPORARY DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Corbell, come to order. Mr Humphries, you have the call, sir.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, it would be hard to imagine why the Conservator of Flora and Fauna ought to have qualifications in nature conservation, but the Commissioner for the Environment should not have equivalent or higher qualifications. Put another way, would the qualifications in marine biology be acceptable for a Commissioner for the Environment who operates in respect of a land locked territory like the Australian Capital Territory? With respect, that is rather inconsistent.

What is more, there are a number of positions in the Government which have no qualifications, where you might imagine such qualifications should exist. For example, in the last few years we have created the Commissioner for Land and Planning, a person with a highly specialised role in respect of planning applications and applications dealing with the use of land, territory land variations and the like. The Commissioner for Land and Planning has no requirement to be a land planner.

Mr Corbell: He has experience in the area.

MR HUMPHRIES: Of course he has experience.

Mr Corbell: Yes, but the Conservator for Flora and Fauna does not. That is the point.

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