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Monday, 14 October 1991
Page: 1874


Mr SMITH(9.36 p.m.) —-Clause 77 relates to the establishment of an interim community advisory committee, and in the proposed new clause that we just voted on, 51A, the Opposition wanted to insert a community advisory committee. The interim advisory committee was proposed to be set up for a short period of time to provide broad community consultation for the period of the establishment of the corporate plan. It is our view that there should be an ongoing commitment to the community advisory role with a broader community beyond the board. That is why we moved the earlier amendment and that is why, as a consequence, we moved to delete clause 77.

I might say that at the division stage it was hoped that some members of the Government who had been very vocal about the need for community consultation, particularly through the whole period of the change in the language arrangements for SBS radio, would have given support to the continuation of a community advisory role because so many of them said at public meetings in Sydney and in Melbourne that it was absolutely vital that SBS listen to the community.

The board rejected the views of the community. There was no advisory committee at all that could be consulted or have its views put to the board, and so members of the Labor Party were turning up around the country saying, `We believe in community consultation'. Tonight we gave them the opportunity to put in place a small community advisory committee and this amendment was voted down by the Government, and particularly by the honourable member for Calwell (Dr Theophanous), who was one of those leading the charge demanding greater community consultation. I think it is regrettable that it has been rejected.