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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3749 ..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

The position that has been discussed is that when the minister makes a declaration under the animal and plant diseases act that commences before it is notified notice of that declaration will now be required to be given to a daily newspaper circulating in the ACT, to both ABC radio and television, and to each commercial television and radio station broadcasting in the ACT. The proposed amendments use terminology that is taken from the Commonwealth Broadcasting Services Act 1992 and will give sufficient clarity and certainty for the smooth operation of these provisions.

It should also be noted that the relevant procedure manual requires the appointment of a liaison officer whose specific function is the dissemination of information. This officer is requested to contact affected individuals and advise them of the evolving situation in relation to any quarantine declaration.

I thank members for their participation in the discussions and for what I understand to be their agreement to the raft of amendments which are to be proposed. I believe that those amendments have been circulated.

Clause 1 agreed to.

Remainder of bill, by leave, taken as a whole.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs) (5.44): I seek leave to move together the 12 amendments circulated by me.

Leave granted.

MR STANHOPE: I move amendments 1 to 12 circulated in my name [see schedule 5 at page 3767].

MS TUCKER (5.45): The government's amendments have arisen from concerns my office raised when we began the debate on this bill in August. This bill, in essence, is designed to allow for prompt commencement of a quarantine declaration. Among other steps, one of the key triggers under this bill for an immediate declaration is to advise TV and radio stations.

Whilst one would imagine that, as the presentation speech said, more would need to be done by government to advise people of the quarantine declaration, whatever the legal procedure, it would seem to be inadequate to require government simply to notify a TV or radio station. Instances of people tuned to national radio or pay TV during the January fires and then being surprised by an emergency in their own backyard spring to mind.

In that context, in the August sitting I was exploring more comprehensive media notification requirements. When the view was put that I was being unrealistic by specifying media such as subscription broadcasting, my office contacted Foxtel and was assured that, despite their national reach, a crawler giving emergency information for the ACT would be quite simple to add to the signal.

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