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Thursday, 26 November 1998
Page: 735


Dr WOOLDRIDGE (Health and Aged Care) (10:21 AM) —I move:

That the bill be now read a second time.

This bill amends the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992 to streamline the council's procedures so that it can more effectively maintain its role as a national leader in the field of medical and public health research and advice.

Mr Deputy Speaker, the bill before you today seeks to facilitate processes and administration to ensure that council continues to carry out its statutory functions in an effective and efficient manner. These amendments introduce a streamlined single-stage public consultation process that council will follow when seeking to issue guidelines. This process consists of advertisements notifying of council's intention, a summary or outline of the guideline and information on where interested parties can obtain a copy of the full draft guideline.

The bill makes it clear that council must take into account all submissions received for finalising and issuing a guideline. The bill also makes it possible for council to endorse and issue guidelines developed by other bodies. However, the bill ensures that council can demand of other bodies the very public consultation that it itself would have engaged in.

In addition, the amendments make some minor changes to a principal committee. The Medical Research Committee will be renamed the Research Committee, which will be concerned with some of the council's committee operations. Provisions have been added which enable principal committees to appoint a deputy chairperson and extend the council's power to appoint and delegate to a working committee and delegate to the chairpersons of council.

The amendments proposed in this bill will ensure that council retains its position as the leader in medical research and public health research and advice, and will assist the smooth running of council business. I commend the bill to the House. I present the explanatory memorandum to this bill.

Debate (on motion by Mr Swan) adjourned.