Page 4897 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 27 November 2018

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The Canberra Liberals support the administrative improvements by streamlining the process of director-general appointments to the SEMSOG. We also support the inclusion of security as a main function of the SEMSOG as well as the changes being made to the function and process of emergency subplans and community communication plans.

We of course support the clarification that, as per the self-government act, the Deputy Chief Minister may appoint an emergency controller if the Chief Minister is unable to exercise their power or is otherwise unavailable. It would be interesting if a situation were to arise where neither the Chief Minister nor the Deputy Chief Minister was available to do this. However, I am sure that there are some sort of arrangements in the regs for this.

Finally, I turn to scrutiny report 24 which considered this bill. A concern they raised and on which I am not particularly satisfied with the government’s response is around the application of division 19.3.3 of the Legislation Act as it pertains to the appointment of an emergency controller.

The scrutiny committee recommended that the minister consider providing for the tabling of the instrument of appointment in the Assembly together with a statement of support of the appointment. The minister believes it to be unnecessary and/or impractical to provide an obligation for the tabling of a statement in support of the appointment of an emergency controller.

Given that the scrutiny committee found that this left the Assembly and potentially the person appointed less protected, I find it astounding that the minister considers it unnecessary and/or impractical. That does not tell us whether he thinks it is unnecessary or impractical or both, and it is a very strange statement to make in a report.

We spend half our lives listening to the government tabling statements in this place, and even if it is some weeks after an emergency controller has been appointed there is no reason why a statement cannot be made to the Assembly outlining why that person was appointed.

I understand the government does not want to change this part of their bill, but it seems over the top to not allow the Assembly some scrutiny of the decisions made in an emergency situation. I have been informed that it may leave the person appointed to this role in a less protected position if there were an inquiry afterwards. I leave it at that, and in general terms we support the bill.

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (6.06): It is a sensible bill and the Greens support it. It is designed to clarify certain matters and put policy and legislation into practice. It is common sense legislation that acts to both tidy up some existing vagaries, like the standing membership of the security and emergency management seniors official group, and take advantage of opportunities to enhance our city’s emergency planning.

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