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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (13 February) . . Page.. 18 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

surveyors were scarcely consulted on the matter. The Surveyors Board did not even know that such a review was being taken. They were not consulted and they were not informed. All they could do was pick up from time to time what was happening after the event.

Is that going to happen to all the other regulatory boards in the territory? Perhaps there are not very many surveyors, so there is not going to be too much of a hassle, but what is the government going to do when it gets to abolishing the Nurses Board, the Medical Practitioners Board or, for that matter, the Agents Board? I think that the minister has some explaining to do as to why he is doing away with this board. What is the government's objective? What do they seek to gain by it? Why have they disregarded the interests of the surveyors in this territory in proposing what is inherent in this legislation? Is this a harbinger of similar activity in connection with every other professional self-regulatory board in the territory?

Perhaps the minister will answer those questions as part of the debate. If he cannot answer them or if his answer is unsatisfactory, quite frankly, I am simply going to oppose the legislation. I acknowledge that there are some useful things in it. The act is a 1967 act. There is no doubt that it is a bit out-of-date, a bit obsolete, and needs updating to recognise modern technology, among other things. But the simple act of disestablishing the board without any apparent justification whatsoever and with little, if any, discussion with the industry that it purports to regulate is totally unacceptable.

This government is supposed to be an open, consultative government. In fact, they crow about it all the time. I do not think that the surveyors believe that the government has been very open and consultative on this matter. The indications are that the surveyors do not agree with this proposal, but they were not asked about it, they were not consulted. The minister has to convince me of the necessity for it. I am not convinced at this point. If he cannot and if he cannot signal the government's intention in connection with all of the other boards that exist, then I put him on notice that I intend to vote against his bill.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services) (11.40): Mr Speaker, I feel that I can be helpful to Mr Kaine because I have responsibility for a fair number of the boards that he cited. This process is applying to pretty well all boards in the ACT, certainly all the ones that are part of the health process.

Mr Kaine: When was that policy announced, Minister?

Mr MOORE: Mr Kaine asks when that policy was announced. In fact, just after I became a minister we began a very long process under the ACCC, under the competition policy, of examining each board. If my recollection serves me correctly, it was actually announced under Labor that the ACT would agree to this process. We are going through the process very thoroughly. There has been a very long process with regard to all the health boards. The health boards also include the veterinary board. In fact, last night the draft legislation went to cabinet, which will then go through a process. We hope to have it introduced in time to be passed before the Fourth Assembly retires towards the end of the year.

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