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Wednesday, 4 December 2002
Page: 7124


Senator PATTERSON (Minister for Health and Ageing) (12:27 PM) — With reference to Senator Harradine's amendment (9) on sheet 2696, as I indicated in relation to his amendment (8) on sheet 2696, the list of conditions outlined is intentionally an indicative list rather than a mandatory or exhaustive list. This recognises that the NHMRC Licensing Committee will receive a range of applications—I think I said this when I was speaking about the previous amendment—which will present a range of issues. The NHMRC Licensing Committee must have the discretion to impose conditions as it sees appropriate on a case by case basis.

In amendment (9), Senator Harradine suggests that the NHMRC Licensing Committee be able to impose conditions relating to monitoring, including `measures taken to comply with licence conditions'. I believe this amendment is not necessary. The NHMRC Licensing Committee may impose any conditions it thinks fit. As such, it is entirely unnecessary to amend the reference to specifically mention measures taken to comply with licence conditions. Amendment (12) on sheet 2696 seeks to make the following a condition of licence:

... any significant changes to the circumstances of the licence holder occurring after the issue of the licence are to be notified in writing to the NHMRC Licensing Committee.

As I indicated before on Senator Harradine's other amendments to clause 24, the list of conditions to be specified in the licence is intentionally an indicative list rather than a mandatory or exhaustive list. I have no objections to the licensing committee applying conditions relating to the notification of significant changes that may impact on the licence or affect the licence holder's capacity to comply with conditions of the licence. The legislation already provides that the NHMRC Licensing Committee may set any conditions that it sees fit and are covered by `reporting'. This may well be an issue on which conditions are made.

However, this is not quite what Senator Harradine's amendment does. His amendment would require licence holders to notify `any significant changes to the circumstances of the licence holder'—not changes in circumstances that relate to the licence or the licence holder's capacity to comply with conditions of the licence but any significant changes in circumstances. This may be well beyond the concern of the licensing committee and have absolutely nothing to do with the licensed activity. For these reasons, I will not be supporting Senator Harradine's amendments.