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Wednesday, 23 May 2001
Page: 24247

Senator HILL (Minister for the Environment and Heritage) (6:44 PM) —I think it is an interesting argument. It has been our intention that when we introduce the sewage—

Government senators interjecting

Senator HILL —I think I am getting some laughter behind me—that is not helpful.

Senator Forshaw —You have a couple of lawyers over there.

Senator HILL —We have plenty of lawyers, but they are all looking at each other at the moment. Our intention when we came to implement provisions in relation to sewage was to amend the legislation, not to do it by regulation. It could have been equally legitimately done by regulation. Doing it by amendment to the act does give some extra scope in relation to penalties, but it could be done by regulation if the act provided that regulatory power.

The issue that has been raised is whether we are providing an inconsistency by providing that the act does not cover sewage and then providing a regulatory power in relation to sewage. That comes down to the exact wording of the particular provision. I will give an interpretation of that.

Senator West —It was a good question, Senator Ludwig.

Senator HILL —A very constructive contribution.