Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3452 ..

MR BERRY (continuing):

Mr Speaker, I know that there are competing arguments: the minister wants an advisory council appointed by himself; Ms Tucker wants the OH&S Council to set up an advisory council and she specifies suitable expertise and so on.

I think the current arrangements for the OH&S Council have been working satisfactorily for a long time. There has never been any suggestion that they do not work. The fact of the matter is that the OH&S Council is, under its own legislation, empowered to set up committees-for example, the workers comp committee-and it decides on the relevant experience necessary to deal with an issue. I think that function ought to be left to the OH&S Council. I suppose I will just have to see how this proposal travels.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.40): Mr Speaker, the government will be opposing Mr Berry's amendment and supporting Ms Tucker's amendment, which we believe is a better and far more favourable model.

MR RUGENDYKE (10.40): In the interest of expediency, I, too, will be supporting Ms Tucker's amendment in relation to this issue.

Amendment negatived.

MS TUCKER (10.41): I move amendment No 1 on the pink sheet circulated in my name [see schedule 6, pink sheet, at page 3548].

This amendment ensures that the minister takes advice from the OH&S Council in regard to the development of regulations for the act. It makes clear that the council can invite people with appropriate expertise onto an advisory committee in order to formulate advice.

The argument has been put that a specific advisory body with appropriate expertise would be a better solution. However, one of the functions of the OH&S Council is to advise government on matters relating to workers compensation. It is a well established bipartite body, a subcommittee of which, in fact, forged most of the agreements which underwrite this bill. Rather than setting up another committee to advise the minister, we would rather consolidate the expertise in the oversight of the operation of the act.

The amendment proposes that the council may set up an advisory committee with appropriate expertise seconded onto it. Obviously the council would have the capacity to organise advice in this way, and chances are that it would. I guess I will be a little more reassured when I know that the legislation indicates that as a course of action.

MR BERRY (10.42): Mr Speaker, I know that the OH&S Council has employer and employee representation, but that will be missing from this subcommittee because the only examples of suitable expertise are legal or medical expertise. I am not quite sure how they will be able to set up a subcommittee without anything other than members with legal or medical expertise. Is that right?

Mr Smyth: You are free to appoint anybody. It is only an example. It is in the notes; it is not part of the act.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .