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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (4 June) . . Page.. 1876 ..

MRS CROSS (continuing):

The final point of difference I wish to raise, Mr Speaker, relates to the provision in the bill for a Territory Records Advisory Council. Provision for the council was included in early drafts of Mr Smyth's former bill, but it was excluded from the final version he tabled last year. The reason for this was that there was no proven need that could justify the cost of yet another advisory council.

Should the Director of Territory Records need advice, he or she is perfectly able to formally seek that advice on any matter, at any time he or she chooses, without having to set up a formal advisory body. Accordingly, this side of the chamber will oppose this provision.

Overall, this is a good piece of legislation. I think it is now fairly obvious that the minister has been less than generous in his comments on the former Liberal government's efforts to establish a new approach to managing territory records. We were, and still are, serious about ensuring good records are kept, and we developed legislation to achieve that. On this side of the house, we know that the new Labor government is just as serious, and we thank you for reintroducing our legislation.

We support this bill in principle, however, I foreshadow that, in the detail stage, the opposition will support the Greens' amendment to clause 7, the government's amendment and the 10 amendments that I have had circulated. Although there are 10 amendments listed in my name, they only cover two matters. Amendments 1 to 3 and 5 to 10 remove reference to the advisory council from the bill. Amendment 4 removes the provision for ministerial directions to the Director of Territory Records.

MR BERRY (5.28): I am pleased to be able to support the Territory Records Bill and see it debated today. This is an issue in which I have had an interest for some time. I was just looking through my copious drafting instructions from the last Assembly and my notes on the issues related to this matter, and was reminded of the significance of archives and record keeping during the term of the last Assembly.

However, for the purposes of this debate, I think we only have to read the Auditor-General's report on Bruce Stadium or the report on the coronial inquiry into the Royal Canberra Hospital implosion to realise that there was a problem with record keeping in the last term of government, and it had to be dealt with.

To its credit, the former government came forward with a territory records bill. However, it soon became clear to me, and to my staff, that there were concerns out there in the community among the professionals interested in archiving and record keeping. It was as a result of its consultation with those groups that Labor eventually committed itself to doing something about this particular issue in this term of government. I am pleased that Mr Wood has brought forward this legislation, because it deals with all of the concerns that the professionals out there in the community raised with me.

I hear what Mrs Cross has said in relation to the advisory council, and that it was in early drafts of Mr Smyth's legislation but was later ditched. I heard her say that this was because of cost and so on. I may be regarded as suspicious if I say this, but I will say it anyway: during the course of discussions about this matter, it may well have been that agreement was reached on the professionals' view that there ought to be an advisory

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