Page 1183 - Week 04 - Thursday, 17 March 2005

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Mr Speaker presented the following paper:

Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory—Register of Members' Interests—Statement of Registrable Interests—Revised form, dated 17 March 2005, pursuant to the resolution of the Assembly agreed to this day.

Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act—regulations

Paper and statement by minister

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment and Minister for Arts, Heritage and Indigenous Affairs): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present the following paper:

Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act, pursuant to section 7—Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition (Commonwealth Regulations) Endorsement 2005 (No 1)—Notifiable Instrument NI2005-117, dated 16 March 2005.

I ask for leave to make a statement in relation to the paper.

Leave granted.

MR STANHOPE: As the designated person under section 6A of the ACT’s Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997, I have endorsed the proposed regulations of the commonwealth regarding the special exemptions that apply to the commonwealth’s trans-Tasman mutual recognition arrangement 1997. The trans-Tasman mutual recognition arrangement is an agreement between the commonwealth, state and territory governments of Australia and the government of New Zealand. The TTMRA allows goods to be traded freely and enhances the freedom of individuals to work in both countries.

When the trans-Tasman mutual recognition arrangement was signed in 1997, exemptions were made in six industry areas where it was thought that mutual recognition had the potential to generate net benefits, but where there were issues outstanding that needed resolution before mutual recognition could apply. The special exemptions are for hazardous goods, therapeutic goods, road vehicles, gas appliances, electromagnetic compatibility and radio communications equipment, and consumer product safety standards and bans. While some progress has been made in resolving the issues, many remain unsolved.

As required by the text of the TTMRA, the Productivity Commission undertook a joint study of the arrangement and the Australian mutual recognition agreement in 2003. As required by the Council of Australian Governments, officers have prepared a report on the Productivity Commission’s study, recommending acceptance of 25 of the study’s findings and suggesting that further work be undertaken on the 49 remaining findings.

In order for the report to be completed and considered, the Prime Minister wrote to me on 13 February 2005 asking for my agreement to the rolling over of current special

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