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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 7 Hansard (4 June) . . Page.. 1881 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

The definition of prescribed authority in section 4 of the FOI Act includes a territory-owned corporation or a subsidiary. The Labor bill, however, has modified the original section 7 (f) to specifically exclude TOCs. I do not agree with this exclusion, and I see no reason why TOCs should not be required to have good record-keeping systems in line with other government agencies.

I know we have had many debates in this place about the role of TOCs in our system of governance, and how much independence they should have. My view on TOCs is that the emphasis should be on the territory-owned aspect. These corporations are ultimately accountable to this Assembly and much public money is tied up in their operations. Their business activities should therefore be subordinate to their responsibility to act in the public interest. I was surprised that the Labor government favoured the corporate side of TOCs, although I am glad to see they are supporting this amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 7, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 8.

MS TUCKER (5.47): I move amendment No 2 circulated in my name [see schedule 3 at page 1896].

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 8, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 9 to 15, by leave, taken together and agreed to.

Clause 16.

MRS CROSS (5.48): I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name [see schedule 4 at page 1896].

This amendment is the first of a series of amendments to remove the advisory council and references to it from the bill. We believe that this council is unnecessary, and that the case for its establishment and to justify the cost entailed has not been convincingly made. The act would still operate effectively without a formalised advisory council, as the Director of Territory Records would be free to seek advice from appropriate experts should the need arise.

The bill in its current form seeks to impose a requirement and a cost where no real need has been proven. This is not prudent governance: it is unnecessary and I ask members to oppose those clauses. If this amendment is not successful, there is no need to proceed with my amendments 2 to 3, and 5 to 10, as they are all consequential.

MR WOOD (Minister for Urban Services and Minister for the Arts) (5.49): The government opposes this amendment, certainly in principle, in respect of the council. It is interesting to note that this particular clause relates to records of Aborigines and Islanders. It was necessary to refer to the council here. No council, no reference.

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