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Thursday, 31 May 1973
Page: 2943

Dr CASS (Maribyrnong) (Minister for the Environment and Conservation) - I move:

(1)   That a Standing Committee be appointed to inquire into and report on -

(a)   environmental aspects of legislative and administrative measures which ought to be taken in order lo ensure the wise and effective management of the Australian environment and of Australia's natural resources; and

(b)   such other matters relating to the environment and conservation and the management of Australia's natural resources as are referred to it by-

(i)   the Minister for the Environment and Conservation, or

(ii)   resolution of the House.

(2)   That the committee recognise the responsibility of the States in these matters and seek their cooperation in all relevant aspects.

(3)   That the committee consist of seven members, four to be nominated by the Prime Minister, two to be nominated by the Leader of the Opposition and one to be nominated by the Leader of the Australian Country Party.

(4)   That every nomination of a member of the committee be forthwith notified in writing to the Speaker.

(5)   That the members of the committee hold office as a committee until the House of Representatives expires by dissolution or effluxion of time.

(6)   That the committee elect as Chairman of the committee one of the members nominated by the Prime Minister.

(7)   That the Chairman of the committee may, from time to time, appoint another member of the committee to be the Deputy Chairman of the committee, and that the member so appointed act as Chairman of the committee at any time when the Chairman ls not present at a meeting of the committee.

(8)   That the committee have power to appoint subcommittees consisting of three or more of its members, and refer to any such sub-committee any matter which the committee is empowered to examine.

(9)   That three members of the committee constitute a quorum of the committee, and a majority of a sub-committee constitute a quorum of that subcommittee.

(10)   That the committee or any sub-committed have power te send for persons, papers and records, to move from place to place, and to sit during any recess or adjournment.

(11)   That the committee have power to authorise publication of any evidence given before it and any document presented to it.

(12)   That the committee be provided with all necessary staff, facilities and resources and have power, with the approval of the Speaker, to appoint persons with specialist knowledge for the purposes of the committee.

(13)   That the committee have leave to report from time to time and that any member of the committee have power to add a protest or dissent to any report.

(14)   That the committee be empowered to confer with a similar committee of the Senate.

(15)   That the foregoing provisions of this resolution, so far as they are inconsistent with the standing orders, have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the standing orders.

This matter has already been discussed in the context of the establishment of a joint committee of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Because of the difficulties the Senate would have in providing members for the committee, due to the requirements of its own committees, we propose that this committee should become a standing committee of the House of Representatives. Appropriate changes have been made to the number of members of the committee. We are suggesting the same number of House of Representatives members on the committee as was proposed initially. That number will be the total complement of the committee. Hence the quorum requirement will have to be reduced from 5 to 3 members. Finally, provision has been inserted that the committee be empowered to confer with a similar committee of the Senate. This motion, in essence, is exactly the same as the one to which honourable members have already agreed.

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