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Wednesday, 9 September 2009
Page: 6067


Senator XENOPHON (11:13 AM) —I hope it is a case of fourth time lucky. I move amendment (4) standing in my name:

(4)    Schedule 1, page 9 (after line 16), at the end of the Schedule, add:

14  At the end of Part 6-3

Add:

52EC  Review of scheduling regime

         (1)    The Minister must cause an independent review of the operation of this Part to be conducted, with particular reference to the amendments to this Part made by the Therapeutic Goods Amendment (2009 Measures No. 2) Act 2009 (the amendments).

         (2)    The review must:

              (a)    start not later than 1 July 2013; and

              (b)    be completed within 6 months.

         (3)    The review must report on:

              (a)    the system of access controls for goods containing scheduled substances established by this Part;

              (b)    the outcomes of the administration of scheduled substances by the Secretary and by the committees established by this Part;

              (c)    the effect of the amendments on the therapeutic goods industry and on individual parties within the industry;

              (d)    whether there are adequate avenues for review of decisions made by the Secretary and by the committees established by this Part;

                  and may make recommendations for further changes to the scheduling regime.

         (4)    The review must be conducted by a panel which must comprise not less than three, and not more than five, persons with relevant expertise, including a person with expertise in complementary medicines.

         (5)    As part of the review, the panel must invite and consider public submissions.

         (6)    The panel must give the Minister a written report of the review.

         (7)    The Minister must cause a copy of the report to be laid before each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after the day on which the Minister receives the report.

This amendment relates to a review of the scheduling regime. It provides for review in 2013, three years after the proposed legislation takes effect. This review must be completed within six months and must be conducted by a panel which comprises no fewer than three and no more than five persons with relevant expertise, including a person with expertise in complementary medicines. As Senator Siewert pointed out in relation to the previous amendment, it does not have to include an industry representative; it is just someone who has an expertise in complementary medicines. This will ensure a thorough, open and adequate review. The panel must invite and consider public submissions. The panel must report on the provision of access controls for goods containing scheduled substances, the outcome of administration of scheduled substances, the effect of the amendments on the therapeutic goods industry, and whether there are adequate avenues for review of decisions.

I have had some very useful discussions with both the government and the opposition. I did take on board the feedback from the government that there ought to be six months to complete the review rather than three months, as I initially indicated, and I think that is a good suggestion, and also that there be some flexibility in the number of people that should be part of the committee—between three and five. I think it gives enough flexibility. But it is also important that there ought to be someone with some expertise in complementary medicines to be part of this review. That could be one of three or one of four or five. It is important that that be raised given the concerns of the complementary medicines industry, which is a significant industry that millions of Australians access each year.