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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (21 February) . . Page.. 456 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

I do not want to underscore the significance of the Legislation Act amendment processes, which have been a feature of the last Assembly and will be of this one, but some of these provisions will be quite significant in their effect if this bill is accepted by the Assembly. I think it is a very important piece of legislation. It is a bit dry, and some of the concepts are quite difficult, but I commend the bill to the Assembly.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Stanhope. I know that members will be keen to debate that bill right now. Unfortunately, standing order 171 prevents them from doing so.

Mr Stefaniak: Mr Speaker, I think it would be incredibly stupid if we attempted to debate this most detailed bill now. I am only up to page 30. Accordingly, Mr Speaker, I move:

That the debate be adjourned.

Question resolved in the affirmative; debate adjourned to the next sitting.

Gene Technology Bill 2002

Mr Stanhope , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory memorandum.

Title read by clerk.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Health, Minister for Community Affairs and Minister for Women) (10.48): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, the bill reflects a national framework for overseeing gene technology activities. Its objective is to protect the health and safety of the community and environment by identifying potential risks posed by gene technology. It ensures scrutiny of gene technology applications and the monitoring of such activities.

The ACT is party to the Intergovernmental Agreement on Gene Technology. The agreement commits states and territories to co-operate in the national framework of gene technology regulation. This bill honours the ACT's commitment to introduce nationally consistent gene technology legislation. The Commonwealth has enacted the Gene Technology Act 2000. This act applies in states and territories while similar legislation is being prepared. The application of the Commonwealth act to the ACT will cease when consistent legislation commences in the ACT.

The bill is based on a national model bill that was developed with input from all jurisdictions. The Commonwealth act is also based on that model. There are some small differences between the bill and the Commonwealth act; however, they are not significant. Consultation on the proposed legislation took place in all jurisdictions. The consultations were coordinated by the Interim Office of the Gene Technology Regulator.

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