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Monday, 11 November 1991
Page: 2855


Senator ALSTON (8.16 p.m.) —Fortunately, I have had the benefit of some advice from my colleague the shadow Minister. The position, as I now understand it, is that clause 77 spells out the requirement—this is the Government's proposal—for an interim committee to provide that advice on consultative community measures. That would enable the corporate plan to properly reflect an adequate consultation process. The concern that we have is that that ought to be an ongoing feature of future corporate plans so that the ethnic communities in particular are given an assurance on a permanent basis that they will be able to influence the corporate plan.

  The problem is that, if we are starting from scratch, there is no need for an interim committee and that the board, in carrying out its normal functions and using the commonsense that it undoubtedly has, will consult as a matter of course. If that were the case, we would not have needed an interim advisory committee. Having established an interim advisory committee, the view is that we ought to make it a permanent feature. It may not need to meet more than once every three years—it would be a very good thing if it did not—but the fact remains that if we have it for the first one we ought to have it for subsequent ones. Therefore, I indicate that the Opposition's view is that we should pursue the need for a permanent committee rather than an interim committee.