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Thursday, 21 June 2007
Page: 72

Senator O’BRIEN (1:58 PM) —Schedule 1, item 2 is the specific provision that permits the commission or authority to request a report—sections 5DA and 5DB. As I said earlier, the amendments do not address long-held concerns that the regulator is toothless. Why didn’t the government give the regulator power to require rather than simply to request? What power will the regulator have if the corporation or person fails to comply? I say again that one of the problems with the Wheat Export Authority’s monitoring of AWB was that they had just such a problem—their power to require material information was constantly thwarted and they needed to negotiate a memorandum of understanding with AWB to get access to material on terms agreeable to AWB. Now we see a provision in the bill that, for the future, puts a similar problem directly in the path of the authority. Therefore it is inappropriate that this matter proceed in the way that has been proposed, which is why we seek to amend those provisions by including in them the word ‘require’ rather than ‘request’. In that regard we will be keen to press that document further.

Progress reported.