Page 4063 - Week 13 - Thursday, 31 October 2013

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to fulfil parliamentary roles, as well as allowing for a robust opposition and crossbench. More Assembly members would allow for greater diversity or specialisation, more manageable workloads, higher quality committee work and stronger, more responsive governance overall.

The current workload of ministers is significant. This has been recognised by the expert reference group and many of the public submissions that they received through the review. With 25 portfolios spread across five ministers, keeping abreast of day-to-day matters, being responsive to both community members and the media and prioritising emerging issues that need our immediate attention is a considerable task, but we embrace this challenge daily.

Scope to expand the ministry is in the best interests of the ACT. While this bill provides for up to nine ministers, this number is an upper threshold and appointment will be determined by the Chief Minister of the day. The precise drafting of the bill has been undertaken in accordance with the Solicitor-General’s advice and is technically more appropriate than a similar bill introduced by Mr Hanson. This bill accords with the permissive nature associated with the Chief Minister’s appointment powers. It also states the purpose for which it is made, hence clause 3(1).

Given the strong arguments from two recent and significant reports for an increase to the size of the ministry, and the opposition introducing its own legislation on this matter, I would expect that debate of this legislation will be straightforward and supportive when it is debated in the November sittings. I commend this bill to the Assembly.

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

Payroll Tax Amendment Bill 2013 (No 2)

Ms Gallagher, on behalf of Mr Barr, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Health and Minister for Higher Education) (10.21): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Payroll Tax Amendment Bill (No 2) implements the government’s election commitment to provide a payroll tax concession of up to $4,000 to businesses who hire a recent school leaver with a disability. This initiative will provide a greater opportunity for young people with disabilities to participate in employment by providing an incentive for large businesses to hire them. This concession is another way in which the government is delivering more to Canberrans with a disability, their families and their carers.

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