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Thursday, 21 February 1980
Page: 260

Mr SPEAKER -On Tuesday 19 February the honourable member for Corio (Mr Scholes) raised the matter of the Parliament's difficulties in ensuring that statutory obligations of various bodies to report either regularly or annually to the Parliament were met. Specifically he asked whether there was any means by which the Parliament could ensure that these statutory provisions are complied with. I am pleased to be able to inform the House that a mechanism designed to achieve this end has been developed. Officers of the Parliament have compiled a register which indicates those Acts which impose a requirement on various bodies to report to the Parliament. This has involved a considerable amount of research from various sources, and the basic list of Acts has now been established.

Details of those bodies not meeting their requirements in relation to the financial year 1978-79 have been listed, and the Clerks will be forwarding this information to the Joint Committee on Publications in the near future. This reference to the Joint Committee is in Une with a recommendation of that Committee in its report on the purpose, scope and distribution of the parliamentary papers series, which recommended:

That the Clerks of the Parliament advise the Chairman on any occasion where an author body has failed to meet a statutory requirement to table its annual report, return or other document within the stated statutory period, or within a reasonable period of time following the completion of the period to which the report refers, and

That at the conclusion of each year's sitting, or as often as may be deemed necessary, the Committee table a return in Parliament recording the titles of those reports of author bodies which have not been tabled during the stated statutory period or within a reasonable period of time following the completion of the period to which the report refers.

I am confident that the arrangements which have been made will prove effective in drawing parliamentary and public attention to those authorities and bodies who fail to meet their statutory reporting requirements.

Mr Scholes -Mr Speaker,will a copy of the list of bodies not meeting their obligations relating to annual reports be made available to honourable members if they request it or will we have to wait until the report of the Publications Committee?

Mr SPEAKER -I will consider that matter. I would not like to interdict the passage between the Clerks and the Publications Committee. I will consult with both the Clerks and the Chairman of that Committee to see whether the information going to the Committee might be made available to honourable members at the same time.

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