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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 13 Hansard (7 December) . . Page.. 3866 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

with them. But their legislation is here now for debate and there is no amendment to change that.

The only point at issue now seems to be the ambulance levy. I pointed out earlier that I would seek to have the legislation reviewed to make sure that it was still working and that, if it was not, I would seek to change it. The levy is part of the Government's ambulance services legislation. As the Minister has pointed out, it always has been. By adopting his legislation today, we are not changing what has been in place for some time. I am not for a moment going to support a notion that we should somehow set up a special piece of legislation to deal with the levy. That would be an even worse offence, in my view, than accepting the Minister's recommendation that it stay in this Bill.

We had a view. That view is history. It was not accepted by the Government, and it apparently has not been accepted by the Assembly either, because we are almost on the point of adopting the Government's Bill as it stands. So what are we arguing about?

I come back to what I said two or three hours ago on this matter. I think we have reached the point where we adopt the Government's legislation, even though there are some aspects of it that we do not wholeheartedly support. If when we review it in six or 12 months' time we still do not agree with it, we can seek to change it then. That includes changing the method by which the levy is provided for and collected.

Amendment negatived.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Hargreaves, are the other amendments you are proposing on this reconsideration conditional upon the passage of your amendment No. 1?

MR HARGREAVES (4.21): Mr Speaker, it seems to be the will of the Assembly, if I read Mr Kaine correctly, that for the time being the totality of the Government's view on the Ambulance Service be included in the Emergency Management Bill and subsequent Act. The Opposition will not pursue a pointless exercise. I must express my disappointment in Mr Osborne, who did indicate what he felt about the levy in the context of the committee. I am sorry he did not have the courage to carry it out. But I am also not so stupid as to pursue a course which is not going to succeed. In that case we will not pursue our other amendments.

MR OSBORNE (4.22): I cannot let that go through to the keeper. I always find it interesting when Mr Hargreaves uses the word "courage".

Mr Hargreaves: You are voting against your own recommendation.

MR OSBORNE: No, that is not correct. Mr Hargreaves says I am voting against my own recommendation. I think Mr Kaine made it very clear that this issue is not finished, as far as the committee is concerned. But you cannot just do what Mr Hargreaves is proposing - throw up an amendment, take it out of the Bill and just let it sit there in limbo. Mr Kaine and I have both said that we are prepared to look at separate ambulance legislation further down the track. Mr Hargreaves wants to try to play some silly politics on this issue. I would argue that if what he is proposing were to get up it would look ridiculous.

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