Senate debates

Monday, 10 September 2012

Bills

Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development) Bill 2012; In Committee

8:00 pm

Photo of Larissa WatersLarissa Waters (Queensland, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I move Australian Greens amendment (12) on sheet 7233:

(12)   Schedule 1, page 7 (after line 8), after item 5, insert:

5A Subsection 507(1)

Repeal the subsection, substitute:

(1)   A member of a Committee holds office for the period specified in the instrument of appointment. The period must not be less than 3 years and must not exceed 5 years.

Note 1:   For re-appointment, see section 33AA of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

Note 2:   Section 509 sets out the circumstances in which a member's appointment may be (or must be) terminated.

5B Application of item 5A

The amendment made by item 5A applies in relation to an appointment made on or after the commencement of this Schedule.

I have already spoken to the substance of amendment (12) on sheet 7233, it being the need for the committee members to have some tenure to ensure that they can be genuinely independent from both industry and government—really from any sort of bias that may or may not seek to influence their decisions.

The amendment I have moved establishes that the committee members should have at least three years tenure but for not more than five years. Again, I have already spoken to the need for this amendment, namely independence, and I certainly hope the government has had a change of heart in the last five minutes and will support this amendment. Sadly, it seems that many of these amendments are doomed to failure; however, I shall it move it nonetheless.

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