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Friday, 15 June 1984
Page: 3112

Senator MACKLIN(11.05) —I move:

(3) Page 35, clause 19, after proposed section 10VZU, add the following new section:

Annual report

' ''107VZUA. (1) The Principal Member shall, as soon as practicable after each 30 June, prepare and furnish to the Minister a report of the operation of the Board during that year.

' ''(1) The Minister shall cause a copy of a report of the Board to be laid before each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after the report is received by him.'.

This amendment seeks to add new section 107VZUA and requires that there be an annual report from the Veterans' Review Board. The procedure here is identical to that which was required previously and had been of use to the veteran community. It seems to me that, regardless of whether the Board will be seen in much the same light as the Repatriation Review Tribunal, a report would be useful to the veteran community. An annual report of the Board's operations, particularly the statistical breakdown that could be provided, would go a long way towards giving the community confidence in the operation of the Veterans' Review Board.

It would be a useful operation if the Board were to report to Parliament and Parliament could review its operations by looking from year to year at the annual reports. I see no reason why this ought not to be so. I certainly understand that similar bodies do not necessarily have that obligation and I do not know what that has to do with it, but that has been one of the reasons given to me as to why the Board should not produce an annual report. It seems that in this area the provision of as much information as possible to the veteran community about the operation of the various levels of the reviewing system would be beneficial and could only add to its smooth operation. By not issuing an annual report one would certainly create difficulties. By issuing an annual report one would do nothing but add to the effective operation of the Board as well as allow Parliament to have the opportunity of commenting each year on the new procedures as they are put in place and as they start to operate. I have therefore moved the amendment circulated in my name, which is in identical terms to that provision which required a report from the RRT.