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Monday, 4 July 2011
Page: 7291

Ms OWENS (Parramatta) (12:12): On behalf of the Standing Committee on Procedure I present the committee's report entitled Interim Report No. 2: Monitoring and review of procedural changes implemented in the 43rd Parliament - Referral of bills to committees by the House Selection Committee, together with the minutes of proceedings.

In accordance with standing order 39(f) the report was made a parliamentary paper.

Ms OWENS: by leave—This short report by the Procedure Committee is intended to highlight what the committee detects as an emerging issue: the referral of bills to committees by the House Selection of Bills Committee. At the time of preparing this report, already in the 43rd Parliament 26 bills had been referred to committees by the selection committee and 15 separate inquir­ies had been initiated. I note that, since this report was finalised, a further two bills have been referred to committees by the selection committee. The marked increase in the number of bills being referred for inquiry and report is welcome in many ways but, as part of its ongoing inquiry into the procedural reforms, the committee wished to collect information and comment as quickly as possible about the impact of these increased referrals. A more considered examination of the work of committees will be undertaken later in the year as part of the committee's ongoing inquiry.

Currently, one member of the selection committee is sufficient to refer a bill. The committee believes that the work of committees inquiring into bills and the referral process itself may be enhanced if a majority decision of the selection committee is required to refer a bill to a committee for an advisory report and if some indication were provided by the selection committee of the aspects of the bill that are expected to be the focus of the inquiring committee's attention.

This is intended to ensure that the selection committee's deliberations include appropriate consideration of:

the need for and the potential benefits of committee scrutiny of the bill, including opportunities for stakeholder particip­ation;

the workload and resources of the relevant House and joint committees that will undertake inquiries; and

the potential for duplication of stakeholder input.

I thank my colleagues on the Procedure Committee and the secretariat for their work on this matter and I commend the report to the House.