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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 3855 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

The fact is that review of legislation is entirely a policy issue. It is not some arbitrary, dispassionate assessment. It is driven by policy needs and requirements. Who conducts the review is irrelevant, because review of the legislation means nothing unless it is accepted by members on the floor of this place as to whether amendments arising out of a review are implemented. First of all, I see no reason to argue this course of action. It makes no difference, because the only way that any change to an act such as the land act can occur is if a majority of the members of this place support such change. Secondly, the Planning and Land Authority will be itself a statutory authority which will have responsibility in terms of the expertise it has to assist with the review of legislation.

I do not think it is appropriate to put into this motion a requirement that there be an independent review. There will be a review. The government will conduct that review with the assistance of experts in the new authority, in Justice and Community Safety and in the Parliamentary Counsel's Office, but the outcomes of that review would be a matter for policy debate in this place. Members should not be concerned that there will be some agenda, because it will be the members of this place who will determine whether any of the outcomes of the review are accepted.

Furthermore, as I indicated in my initial speech, the government is proposing that there be an exposure draft as a result of the review of the land act, and that would be made available for public comment as well as for comment by the relevant standing committee of the Assembly. There will be a very public and transparent process. I just do not believe that the argument has been made as to why this review, compared with reviews of all other pieces of legislation, must be undertaken by an independent agency. The argument simply has not been made.

MS TUCKER (5.09): The Greens will not be supporting Mrs Dunne's amendment. I think that it is really thinking far too far ahead at this point in time and the process is not one that we have seen in any other area. At the time we get to the point that we have this review, whenever that will be, there will be concerns to do with the transparency of the process, the consultation that occurs and so on, which I will certainly be taking an interest in.

For example, if you look at the reviews that have occurred through the competition policy, you will see that we have had to consult sometimes and we have had departmental reviews at other times. Basically, those reviews belong to the government. I think that that is right and the Liberals thought that it was right when they were in government. I think that this amendment is not a reasonable amendment, but I do support the notion that we would want the review to be transparent and that there be consultation occurring as well at the time.

Mrs Dunne's amendment to Mr Corbell's proposed amendment negatived.

Question put:

That Mr Corbell's amendment be agreed to.

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