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Friday, 19 October 1984
Page: 2045

Senator MACKLIN(9.57) —I thank the Minister. I have no idea what his answer had to do with my question, but presumably it had something to do with it. The proposition was not to do with the right of an inquiry or a review afterwards. It was to do with what the public will get to do. We have accepted the principle of the Bill; that is, that the public get themselves involved in this biological control business. The Government has written that into the legislation. The Government wants the public involved. We support that totally. All that we are saying is that when there is an emergency, the public should still be involved. It would not hold up the release of those things, but it would allow the public to come forward and if people have some specialised knowledge and special concerns they would be able to put those in, and not have to go through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Is the Minister suggesting that people should go to the AAT? At what sort of expense would that be? What type of support would they get? Will the small business person be able to afford that? What type of operations would he have to go through to get it on? It puts an individual at a severe disadvantage. Instead of being invited to come in, he must fight through the bureaucracy. The Minister may be very au fait with how to fight through the bureaucracy. I suppose that he does it every day. But most citizens find it a fairly daunting operation, certainly going to that level, and they find it an expensive operation which they do not feel they could afford. The Government, quite rightly, in drawing up the Bill, did not seek to impose that on individuals in the normal course of events. It sought to invite them in, to get the involvement of the public in a very real and important matter. All we are saying is that running parallel with the decision to do that, instead of going through that other expensive operation , we go through the normal procedures that we would go through if an emergency had not occurred. That is all we are suggesting.