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Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Page: 11383

Mr CLARE (Parliamentary Secretary for Employment) (10:25 AM) —I am pleased to have the opportunity to sum up debate on the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Amendment Bill 2009. The Rudd government is committed to ensuring that sport continues to be played in a domain which is safe and equitable for all Australian athletes and their support personnel and to ensuring that performance-enhancing drugs are detected, dealt with and deterred at every opportunity. These reforms will enable the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority to continue to deliver its prescribed functions efficiently and effectively and to be well placed to handle the ever-changing challenges within the fight against drugs into the future. These reforms will provide greater clarity and transparency to the structural and governance arrangements of ASADA and provide an effective framework for the delivery of the Australian government’s antidoping priorities to ensure Australia remains a world leader in the fight against drugs in sport.

This bill brings into alignment ASADA’s governance arrangements with those of a traditional model for a Financial Management and Accountability Act, or FMA, agency. ASADA will remain an FMA agency but will cease to be a corporate entity with a separate legal identity from the Commonwealth. In addition, these changes will further deliver on recommendations of the independent review of ASADA which sees ASADA being headed up by a CEO who will be responsible for operational and strategic matters. In line with the recommendations of the independent review, an advisory group will be established to assist the CEO in the development, implementation and delivery of core business matters. The establishment of this advisory group will give the CEO access to individuals with specialist skills and knowledge to assist him or her on matters such as education, testing and investigation. The targeting of members’ skills and knowledge ensures that the advice and support that the advisory group provides are not only of the highest quality but are appropriate.

Under the bill, the newly established Anti-Doping Rules Violation Panel will be responsible for making decisions on antidoping rule violations, recommendations about follow-up actions and sanctions. They will also be responsible for maintaining the register of findings. The Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel will consist of members with specialist knowledge and experience in sports law, ethics, medicine and pharmacology. Australian athletes and support personnel can be confident that the decisions regarding an antidoping rule violation will be at arm’s length not only from the government but also from ASADA, which is responsible for testing, investigation of possible rule violations and prosecution of such violations.

The bill also gives effect to a number of other changes to ensure that the ASADA Act maintains consistency with the revision of the World Anti-Doping Code which came into effect on 1 January 2009. With those comments, I commend the bill to the House.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Ordered that the bill be reported to the House without amendment.