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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 10 Hansard (30 August) . . Page.. 3851 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

listen to more. That is what we are elected to do. We also take an interest in the broader community, so that we see all sides. It is about participatory democracy-

Mr Corbell: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am loath to interrupt Ms Tucker, but we are debating amendments to the Environment Protection Bill at the detail stage.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Corbell, I have been waiting for about five minutes for a point of order on that very point. I uphold the point of order.

MR MOORE (Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services) (9.05): These amendments were circulated only a couple of days ago. I understand that they could not be circulated earlier because they had not come back from parliamentary counsel. So much for your consultation.

MR CORBELL (9.06): The Labor Party will be supporting the proposed new clause 7B, which provides for best practice in relation to environmental improvement plans. We think this is a worthy objective and worth including in the legislation.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (9.06): There are a number of amendments that could reasonably go through because they simply add nothing to the bill. In some ways they are fairy floss. This is one of them. This is an attempt to make the EPA prepare environmental protection policies in accordance with relevant best practice. Of course we do that.

In some ways this amendment is a slight on the staff of the authority. To assume that we would do less than follow relevant best practice is very unfair, given the work that has been done on environmental issues over the last six years. I am assuming that Ms Tucker will call for a vote on all her amendments. Rather than put the house through the tedium of a vote on this one, I am willing to let it go through.

Proposed new clause 7B agreed to.

Proposed new clauses 7C to 7F.

MS TUCKER (9.07): I move amendment No 5 circulated in my name, which inserts new clauses 7C to 7F [see schedule 8 at page 3914].

These new clauses make some minor procedural changes to the public consultation process contained in section 25 and make a consequential amendment to section 27. The key change is to count the period of public consultation from when the notice is placed in the newspaper, not from when the notice is gazetted.

Notices in the Gazette and in the newspaper usually occur on different days, and most members of the public are more likely to see the notice in the newspaper. While there is obviously a growing use of the Internet and the Gazette will be coming out in electronic form, we should not disadvantage the majority of people who still rely on newspapers by inadvertently reducing the time they have to put in comments.

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