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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (16 November) . . Page.. 3526 ..

MR KAINE (10.36): I will just speak briefly to the report on the Emergency Management Bill 1998. I support the report and endorse the request by the chair of the committee that the Assembly adopt the report. There are a couple of things I want to touch on briefly. Firstly, I want to comment on the management structure. Essentially, the committee has recommended that there be only one management body, and that is the Emergency Management Committee. We thought the proposals from the Government were rather clumsy in that there were two committees - the Emergency Management Committee and the Management Executive. Membership was virtually the same, with one minor exception. The exception was that the Minister made appointments to one, and the controller made appointments to the other.

We did not see that there was a great deal of merit in that. If the controller were to become the chair of the Emergency Management Committee, the standing committee, we believe he would be quite capable of turning that committee into an executive committee in the case of a declared emergency. There is therefore no need for the duplication of responsibilities as were envisaged in the original Bill. If the Government looks at our recommendations, they will see that there is logic and some merit in our recommendations in that regard.

The other matter that I wanted to address is the question of the legislative provision for the establishment of ambulance services in the Territory. The Government has sought to include in this legislation - the basic purpose of which is to set up management arrangements for a declared emergency - the provision for setting up and regulating an ambulance service. I believe that was a pretty clumsy way of dealing with it. It was also a little absurd. We are reading a draft Bill that dealt with setting up the management arrangements that would switch into gear in the case of a declared emergency, and in the middle of it there is a clause that establishes the ambulance levy, namely the emergency services insurance levy.

To find that sort of provision in a Bill of this nature was quite bizarre. We have recommended that there be separate legislation to cover the provision of ambulance services in the Territory. That legislation should provide for the regulation of ambulance services other than the one provided by the Government. If you have a stand-alone piece of legislation that establishes accident services and regulates them, then you can properly incorporate into that legislation the provision for the levy which the Minister was proposing to incorporate into this emergency management legislation.

Our recommendations, if adopted, will produce a better solution to both the establishment of emergency management arrangements and the establishment and regulation of ambulance services. I would ask the Minister to examine very carefully the recommendations that the committee has made, because I believe they will provide better and more manageable legislation and more meaningful legislation than the original draft.

MR HARGREAVES (10.40): Like Mr Kaine, I support many of the recommendations in this report. I support all of them because I was not prepared to put in a dissenting report on some of the matters which caused me concern. I want to echo Mr Osborne's congratulations to our committee secretary, Fiona Clapin, who did a particularly good job.

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