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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 12 Hansard (25 November) . . Page.. 3757 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

"(4) If part of a land management agreement is excluded from the copy made available for public inspection, the copy must include a statement to the effect that an unspecified part of the agreement has been excluded to protect the confidentiality of information included in that part.

"(5) The Minister must not permit the inspection of a land management agreement, or part of an agreement, under section 186CC to which an application under subsection (1) relates-

(a) until 28 days after the Minister has made a decision excluding or refusing to exclude part of the agreement from inspection; or

(b) if an application for review of that decision has been made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal-until the matter has been determined by the Tribunal.

"186CC Inspection and copying of land management agreements

"(1) The Minister must keep a copy of each land management agreement entered into.

"(2) A person may inspect a land management agreement kept by the Minister at any reasonable time.

"(3) A person may, on payment of the reasonable copying costs, obtain a copy of an agreement.

The amendment provides for copies of the LMAs kept by the Minister to be inspected by members of the public. However, the lessee can apply to have parts of the LMA excluded from inspection. This is the same provision as is included in the Environment Protection Act for the public inspection of environment protection agreements with businesses. Similar provisions can also be found in the Land Act. I am aware that the rural lessees would prefer that their agreements be kept private, but I believe that the principle of public accountability overrides this concern. I also expect that the only people who would ever access these agreements would be those who have a genuine interest in doing so. Lessees will also be able to request that commercially sensitive parts of LMAs be excluded from public inspection if they wish.


(5.24): Mr Speaker, the Labor Party will not be supporting this amendment. This amendment, we believe, does not add to the goodwill and cooperation that will be needed between the Government and the department and rural lessees in the implementation of the new LMAs. The provision of these types of documents for public inspection has been supported, as Ms Tucker quite rightly points out, in relation to environment management agreements under the Environment Protection Act. However,

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