Page 3897 - Week 10 - Thursday, 20 September 2018

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mention a few matters that illustrate how the improvements to the statute book in this bill make a real difference for the community.

Schedule 1 of this bill contains reforms to the governance of nurse practitioners in the ACT. Legislation governing nurse practitioners was first introduced into this Assembly in 2006. Since then there have been two major changes affecting this governance: firstly, the introduction of the national registration and accreditation scheme for all health professionals, in 2010, implementing robust regulatory arrangements for all registered health practitioners, including nurse practitioners; and, secondly, acceptance by the ACT government of all six recommendations from a review of nurse practitioners conducted by ACT Health in 2017 entitled, “Nurse Practitioners in the Australian Capital Territory in 2017—A Review.”

One of the six recommendations in the nurse practitioners review included the repeal of the regulations specifically relating to the governance of nurse practitioners, noting community support to normalise governance arrangements in the ACT in accordance with other regulated health professionals that are the responsibility of employers.

This bill contains a range of changes, following on from the government’s work on national registration and accreditation for nurses. Amendments will replace the term “authorised nurse practitioner” with “nurse practitioners” in the following legislation: the Public Health Act 1997, the Road Transport (Alcohol and Drugs) Act 1977 and the Mental Health Act 2015, section 201.

The bill also includes a repeal of the Health Regulation 2004 which is now redundant with the national regulation of nurses. These changes are all part of the government’s action to introduce the new, nationally consistent scheme for registering and accrediting health professionals.

The bill also provides some improvements to the Ombudsman Act 1989. It includes amendments to allow the Ombudsman to enter into arrangements with the Head of Service to use the services of a public servant or territory facilities and to engage consultants and contractors. This bill will also allow the Ombudsman to delegate functions to a member of the Ombudsman’s staff, including to the deputy ombudsman and consultants and contractors.

Delegation powers across the public service will be improved by amendments to the Public Sector Management Act 1994, section 152. That section gives certain statutory office holders management powers of the Head of Service in relation to public servants on the office holder’s staff. This bill will allow a public sector employer to delegate functions more broadly, better reflecting the connections between statutory office holders and different parts of the public service.

The final set of amendments I will highlight are an example of the SLAB as a useful vehicle for correcting oversights in the drafting process. This bill amends the Workers Compensation Act 1951 to reinstate an entitlement to compensation in cases where a person is injured near retirement. That entitlement was inadvertently removed by a previous amendment.

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