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Tuesday, 25 November 2008
Page: 7276


Senator SIEWERT (10:42 PM) —by leave—I move Greens amendments (8) to (10) on sheet 5629 together:

(8)    Schedule 2, page 297 (after line 30), after item 62, insert:

62A  Paragraph 44(3)(b)

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

              (b)    must adopt, in writing, that version of the Basin Plan.

(9)    Schedule 2, page 297 (after line 30), after item 62, insert:

62B  Subparagraph 44(5)(b)(i)

Repeal the subparagraph, substitute:

                    (i)    items 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 9 or 10 of the table in subsection 22(1); or

(10)  Schedule 2, page 300 (after line 13), after item 65, insert:

65A  Paragraph 48(3)(b)

Repeal the paragraph, substitute:

              (b)    must adopt, in writing, that version of the amendment.

These relate to modifications to the Basin Plan and reduce the number of times the minister can send the Basin Plan back to the authority to only once. This issue has been a concern for a number of organisations, as I understand it, and the concept has been subject to much discussion. The Greens have indicated that we are concerned about the way that the Basin Plan can be modified and the influence of ministerial direction.

We are seeking to amend these provisions of the bill to restrict, as I said, the number of times that the minister can send the Basin Plan back to the authority. We are concerned about the level of independence of the authority. The minister, I know, has thought that we have been seeking to tie up the authority and to limit its independence. We do not believe that the amendments we have been dealing with previously seek to influence the authority in any political manner but instead provide guidelines to the way the authority can or should be putting in place and developing the Basin Plan. We believe that it is appropriate to give the authority as high a level of independence as possible and seek to move these amendments in order for that to happen.