Monday, 10 September 2012
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development) Bill 2012; In Committee
I believe the minister's earlier answer, that the government had not yet finalised the criteria for appointment of the panel, might answer Senator Colbeck's question. I repeat my objection to him verballing me. Be that as it may, I would like to move to the substance of some amendments that I will move in due course, and that is how the government proposes to deal with actual or perceived conflicts of interest in appointing the final members of the committee. My understanding is that the combination of the act, the regulations and the policy so far has been that conflicts of interest of the interim committee members have been disclosed in meetings of that committee and such conflicts have been recorded in the minutes. The policy of government, although not reflected in statute anywhere, is for those minutes to be published online. I have two issues about that that I would like the minister's response to. Firstly, if it is indeed the policy of government that those minutes be published online so that all members of the public can see them, why is there not such a clause in the bill to enforce that policy stance?