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Wednesday, 4 December 2002
Page: 7182

Senator HARRADINE (5:08 PM) —I move amendment (11) on sheet 2696:

(11) Clause 26, page 18 (lines 27 to 31), omit the clause, substitute:

26 Suspension or revocation of licence

The NHMRC Licensing Committee may, by notice in writing given to the licence holder, suspend or revoke a licence if:

(a) the Committee believes on reasonable grounds that a condition of the licence has been breached; or

(b) the Committee has evidence that there has been insignificant or no advances in knowledge or improvement in technologies for treatment.

Clause 26 of the bill deals with the suspension or revocation of licences. I am proposing to omit the clause and to substitute a new clause 26. This amendment would allow the NHMRC Licensing Committee to require performance from the licence holder on a key requirement that the committee must consider when deciding whether to issue a licence. Clause 21(4) of the bill states:

In deciding whether to issue the licence, the NHMRC Licensing Committee must have regard to the following:

... ... ...

(b) the likelihood of significant advance in knowledge, or improvement in technologies for treatment ...

Quite simply, my amendment would ensure that licence holders who are not performing against this criterion could have their licence suspended or revoked. I would have thought that that is reasonable enough. It is not really adding to the legislation; it is reinforcing that requirement. This is consistent with Commonwealth legislation, and there are a number of examples of that. I refer to section 106 of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act, which states:

Suspension or revocation of licences at the instance of the Commission

(1) If the Commission considers it appropriate to do so, the Commission may, by written notice given to the licensee:

(a) suspend the licence for a specified period; or

(b) revoke the licence.

(2) Before taking action under subsection (1), the Commission must follow such procedures, if any, as are specified in the Minister's directions as procedures preliminary to the suspension or revocation of a licence at the instance of the Commission.

I am simply referring to that, and there are a number of other examples in legislation. Accordingly, the existing clause and the proposed amendment are certainly not controversial. I move the amendment accordingly.