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Wednesday, 26 June 1996
Page: 2278


Senator HERRON (Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs)(4.59 p.m.) —The government does not accept that the eligibility and termination provisions of the act should be watered down. These aspects were part of the original legislation and no case for a change has been presented.

The provisions are designed to ensure that appropriate people are elected to the responsible positions of commissioner and regional councillor. This not only aids accountability but also protects the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who rely on ATSIC for the provision of services and programs.

ATSIC is a Commonwealth statutory authority and, as such, its office-bearers should be subject to stringent eligibility and termination requirements and, therefore, we will be opposing the amendment.

Amendments agreed to.

Schedule 1, item 14.