Page 1511 - Week 05 - Thursday, 7 April 2005

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Mr Speaker, this bill contains the necessary consequential amendments to allow the Human Rights Commission that will be established by the Human Rights Commission Bill to operate. It makes necessary changes to the Discrimination Act, the Health Professionals Act, the Human Rights Act, the Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act and the Community and Health Services Complaints Act. Minor changes to other legislation are made in order to include references to the new Human Rights Commission and to change references to the Community and Health Services Complaints Commissioner to the Health Services Commissioner.

The bill does not alter rights created by the Discrimination Act, the Human Rights Act or the Health Records (Privacy and Access) Act; neither does it change the way in which the health professions boards that help to regulate certain health professions under the Health Professionals Act work together with the Health Services Commissioner. Although the Health Services Commissioner will be working as part of a new Human Rights Commission, the collaborative approach to concerns about service standards will continue. The bill also provides transitional provisions to ensure that complaints already being considered are able to be taken over by the new commission and that existing rights to make complaints are not lost.

The bill amends the Ombudsman Act 1989 to make administrative processes of the Human Rights Commission open to scrutiny by the Ombudsman. This amendment is consistent with the government’s agreement to implement the FEMAG recommendation for Ombudsman’s scrutiny. Mr Speaker, I commend this bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stefaniak) adjourned to the next sitting.

Health Legislation Amendment Bill 2005

Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (12.05): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Health Legislation Amendment Bill has been developed to achieve a number of outcomes: firstly, to relocate the current abortion provisions of the Medical Practitioners Act 1930 to the Health Act 1993; secondly, to repeal the Medical Services (Fees) Act 1984; and, thirdly, to put in place a series of amendments of the Health Professionals Act 2004 and Health Professionals Regulations 2004 which will allow for the establishment of midwifery as a separate health profession to nursing; extend the commencement date of the act from 8 July 2005 to 8 July 2006; remove subsection 22 (4) and subsection 37 (7) to facilitate better access to the profession-specific schedules made under the act; make permanent in legislation changes originally made via the Health Professionals Amendment Regulation 2004 (No1); and allow veterinary surgeons to be included under the Health Professionals Act 2004.

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