On Wednesday the House agreed to the Budget Estimates 2019-2020 timetable for initial hearings and considered the Ageing and Disability Commissioner Bill 2019 in committee of the whole. Ms Jackson also gave her first speech.
Inquiry into Budget Estimates 2019-2020
The House agreed to the timetable for this year’s Budget Estimates inquiry by the seven portfolio committees. The initial hearings will be held over twelve days from Thursday 29 August to Friday 13 September 2019. See Budget Estimates for further details of the initial hearings.
Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2019
Statute law miscellaneous provisions bills have featured in most sessions of Parliament since 1984 to make minor changes to various pieces of legislation that are too inconsequential to warrant the introduction of a number of individual amending bills.
This bill makes various minor and non-controversial amendments to 21 Acts including amendments to Local Land Services Act 2013, Health Services Act 1997 and the Health Practitioner Regulation (Adoption of National Law) Act 2009, Marine Safety Act 1998, and the Road Transport Act 2013.
The bill was received from the Assembly and read for a first time on Thursday 30 May. Debate on the second reading took place on Wednesday, see Hansard for a transcript of the debate.
The second and third readings were agreed to and the bill was returned to the Legislative Assembly without amendment.
Ageing and Disability Commissioner Bill 2019
Debate on the second reading of the bill resumed on Wednesday with the benefit of the Standing Committee on Social Issues’ report which was tabled on Tuesday (see Hansard for a transcript of the debate and Tuesdays House in Review post).
The second reading was agreed to. Before the bill was considered in the committee stage, the House agreed to an ‘instruction’ to the committee which would allow consideration of an amendment relating to the funding for disability advocacy. A point of order was taken that the amendment to which the instruction related was unconstitutional. The President noted that although the amendment recommended the allocation of funds, it did not appropriate or compel the appropriation of public revenue. The President ruled that it was not the role of the President to rule on matters of law and it was for the committee to determine the merits of the amendment.
In committee of the whole amendments were moved by the Opposition, The Greens, and Shooters, Fishers and Farmers.
The Greens successfully moved amendments designed to:
- clarify the functions of the Commissioner,
- facilitate cooperation and exchange of information between the Commissioner and other bodies,
- provide for the Commissioner to inquire into systemic issues relating to the protection and promotion of the rights of adults with disability and older adults or the abuse, neglect or exploitation of adults with disability or older adults,
- allow the Commissioner to monitor, assess and report on the New South Wales implementation of the National Disability Scheme,
- ensure that decision-making supports are provided to enable adults to give consent in circumstances in which they might otherwise be precluded from doing so,
- increase penalty rates for non-compliance with the Commissioner’s instructions,
- specify items to be covered in the Commissioner’s annual report, and
- increase the transparency and accountability of the Commissioner and reduce any potential for interference by the Minister.
The committee agreed to Opposition amendments which clarify the independence of the Commissioner, specify items to be covered in the Commissioner’s annual report, and ensure the Commissioner has the power to hold inquiries.
Other amendments moved by the Opposition to expand the jurisdiction of the Ageing and Disability Commissioner to all people with disability, not just adults, to include imprisonment for 12 months for non-compliance with the Commissioner’s instructions, and limit the powers of the Commissioner in terms of investigations, were not agreed to.
A thought provoking debate on an amendment moved by the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers regarding mandatory reporting was interrupted at 10 pm for the adjournment of the House. The bill will likely be further considered when the House next sits.
On Wednesday Ms Jackson gave her first speech. This is the last of the first speeches for new members elected to the Legislative Council at the recent election.
The following members spoke to the adjournment debate:
- Mr Veitch– Tribute to Sprent Dabwido
- Mr Mallard – Public Transport
- Mrs Houssos – Tribute to Robert James Lee Hawke, AC, A Former Prime Minister of Australia
- Ms Hurst – Dolphins in Captivity
- Mrs Ward – Community Legal Centres
- Mr Field – The People’s Republic of China