Page 197 - Week 01 - Thursday, 16 February 2006

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grounds to believe that the person was a driver of a motor vehicle involved in an accident.

On the face of the section, the obligation appears to be invoked, notwithstanding that the accident may have occurred many hours, or even days before. The ACT Supreme Court has sought to read down the section. However, the open-ended nature of this provision is undesirable and remains a source of some concern amongst health professionals who feel potentially exposed by its open-ended nature. The requirement to take a blood sample is underpinned by a criminal sanction should a doctor or nurse fail to take a sample in accordance with section 15AA.

The bill amends the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Act to make it clear that doctors and nurses are only obliged to take a blood sample under section 15AA if they attend to a person who they believe has been the driver of a vehicle in an accident if the accident happened less than six hours before the person arrived at hospital. The bill also amends the act to update the procedures for analysing blood and other body samples taken under the act.

Under the act, part of the sample taken by a doctor or nurse must be placed in a one-way box for collection and analysis by an approved analyst. The requirement that analysts be approved ensures that persons entrusted with the important task of analysing samples in relation to drink-driving matters hold the technical skills and knowledge to be entrusted with this task.

Analytical technology has come a long way since the act commenced almost 30 years ago and the approved analyst no longer personally carries out each step of the analysis. I am advised that an approved analyst generally removes the sample from the one-way box and passes it to another person who prepares the sample and places it in an instrument known as a gas liquid chromatograph. This instrument analyses the sample and provides the results in graph form, which are interpreted by the approved analyst and certified.

The bill updates the act to remove the requirement that the analysis be personally conducted by the approved analyst and replaces it with a requirement that the approved analyst arrange for the analysis to occur at an approved laboratory. The requirement that the laboratory be approved will ensure that the laboratory meets the technical standards required for it to be entrusted with analysing samples. The approved analyst will still check the results and certify them. I commend this bill to the Assembly.

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

Planning and Environment—Standing Committee

Report 18—government response

Debate resumed from 24 November 2005, on motion by Mr Gentleman:

That the report be noted.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (11.07): It has been a fair while since the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment’s report on the draft variation to the territory plan No 165 was tabled, so people may need to cast their minds back to have any idea of what I am

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