Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (13 February) . . Page.. 16 ..
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill agreed to in principle
Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.
Bill agreed to.
Surveyors (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2000
Debate resumed from 29 June 2000, on motion by Mr Smyth:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
MS TUCKER (11.31): I want to put on record the Greens' position on this bill. It is something that we have thought about a fair bit as we have tried to work out the correct position on it. This legislation arose out of a review of the Surveyors Act, as required of all legislation, under the national competition policy. It seeks to remove from the existing legislation what the national competition policy regards as anti-competitive behaviour. However, I have to question the need for this legislation and whether the government, in its drive to deregulate, has removed significant controls over the surveying profession.
The result of the national competition policy review was released in December 1998, over two years ago, and this legislation was introduced over six months ago. I therefore have to wonder whether there is a real need for these reforms. The surveying profession does not seem to think so and is actually opposed to significant elements of it. It has to be remembered that the main reason for regulating surveyors is to ensure that the cadastre is accurately and reliably maintained. The cadastre is the system by which property boundaries, road boundaries and other administrative boundaries are defined. The cadastre forms the basis of our system of land titles, which for many people are the biggest assets they own.
If there were any loss of confidence in the integrity of the cadastre, there would be significant public concern. There would be no certainty that the boundaries of your property are where you think they are and there could be increased disputes between adjacent land owners about where the property boundaries are, which can be a significant issue in neighbourhood disputes.
There does not seem to be any disagreement with the need to regulate the people who undertake surveying work through requiring them to have certain qualifications and be registered and for the accuracy of survey plans to be monitored. The bill updates and streamlines these requirements, which is a good move. However, opinions appear to differ over the most appropriate administrative mechanism for applying these regulations. At present, the regulatory oversight is undertaken by the Surveyors Board, which consists of the Chief Surveyor and five other members, four of whom must be registered surveyors.