Resumed from 19 August.
Comments and speeches by various members
HON ALISON XAMON (North Metropolitan) [2.02 pm]: I rise as the lead speaker for the Greens on the COVID-19 Response and Economic Recovery Omnibus Bill 2020. I want to make some general observations about the time frame we have had to consider this quite lengthy bill. We received a consultation draft of this bill on 3 August, on the basis that it was expected to be introduced and debated in both houses sometime between 11 and 13 August. I note that all those documents were embargoed until the bill was introduced in the other place. This of course meant that we were not in a position to consult with stakeholders about the impact of this legislation. The bill was introduced into Parliament late in the evening on Tuesday, 11 August, and the introduced version is substantially different from the draft version, because it omits the highly problematic original part 7, which was also highly controversial and would have resulted in the Greens voting 100 per cent against what was extraordinary overreach. I am glad to see it is not in this legislation.
Nevertheless, we were briefed on the truncated bill on Wednesday, 12 August. Although this was not an easy briefing, given the number of briefers required to deal with the omnibus nature of the bill, the quality of the briefing was very high, and I thank the briefers for the good work that they did. During the same sitting week, last week from Tuesday, 11 August to Thursday, 13 August, we were notified that we would also be debating the urgent Public Health Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020, and the draft was provided on the Monday, with the briefing on the Tuesday and the final version introduced in the other place several hours later. We were also notified that we would be debating that same week the urgent Iron Ore Processing (Mineralogy Pty. Ltd.) Agreement Amendment Bill 2020. That bill was introduced without notice after 5.00 pm on the Tuesday, and we were briefed on the Wednesday and debated the bill on the Thursday. In the same sitting week, the Workers’ Compensation and Injury Management Amendment (COVID-19 Response) Bill 2020 was suddenly brought on for debate on the Tuesday and Wednesday, even though it had not even been listed on the weekly bulletin provided to us on the Friday before. The weekly bulletin also indicated that we would be debating eight other bills that week, and we commenced debate on two of them. That was all before the schedule was completely abandoned. Each day of that sitting week, this house had very little notice about which bills would be brought on for debate.
I remind members that all parliamentarians hold responsibility in our democracy for lawmaking, not just government, but our ability to scrutinise bills and consult with stakeholders who will be impacted by them is becoming increasingly constrained by the government’s scheduling of debates. I think members of the Western Australian community are getting less time than ever to ensure that bills that appear in front of us are being considered appropriately and to contact parliamentary representatives about their concerns. I for one am getting a little bit tired of people realising the full impact of legislation only long after it has been passed because their voices have been completely absent from our debates; for example, with this bill alone, we have not heard from defence lawyers about the reforms that this bill makes to our criminal justice system. The bill makes changes that we know will affect defendants in remote areas, yet we still have not heard from, for example, the Aboriginal Legal Service or Legal Aid, which work in those places. That causes me a great deal of disquiet.
I have to say that there is absolutely no argument that the COVID-19 bills the government is introducing are priority bills—of course they are a high priority—but they are not all such urgent bills that there is justification for depriving Parliament and the community of a proper opportunity to consider them before they are debated. Our community deserves better and it deserves us ensuring that our lawmaking is as high quality as it can be and that we do not engage in over-hasty debate, because that does not make for good, well-informed laws. The Parliament has done a good job in addressing COVID-19 so far, and we need to keep doing that, but we need to avoid continually speeding up debate so much that we risk tripping up and our communities suffering the consequences. I urge the government to be mindful of that in scheduling future debates on important legislation. I do not want a repeat of what happened last week. Remember that there is a difference between priority and urgency.
This bill addresses issues that have already arisen as a result of COVID-19, and it anticipates further issues that may arise if there is a significant outbreak in Western Australia. It is definitely a priority bill that merits being debated properly, but it is not so urgent as to merit being brought on in the way that it has, with the lack of scrutiny that I believe has been applied as a result.
Turning to the contents of the bill, part 1 introduces three key concepts. The first key concept is the bill’s primary purposes. They are referred to in several clauses, and there are three primary purposes that start out specific and get progressively broader. The first is to ameliorate problems in complying with statutory requirements and government processes because of the emergency response to COVID-19, the second is to ameliorate problems arising from either the emergency response to COVID-19 or the risk of an outbreak in Western Australia, and the third is to facilitate economic recovery from the emergency response to COVID-19. These are the three primary purposes of the COVID-19 Response and Economic Recovery Omnibus Bill 2020, but they are not the only purposes. For example, another important purpose is to retrospectively validate actions that have already been taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The other key concept in part 1 is that the bill has effect despite any other written law, and that its provisions have precedence over any safeguards that may have been very carefully included in any other act or regulation in Western Australia’s entire statute book. The third key concept—this is contained in a variety of clauses in the bill—is to do with the duration of the bill’s reforms. This concept gets quite complicated, noting that some of the proposed reforms are intended to be permanent. Some have a sunset clause, but exactly when the sunset falls varies depending upon the particular reform, and some of them are extendable. The process for how long the sunset can be extended again depends on the particular reform.
During the course of the briefing, I was given a series of undertakings, and I seek to put them on the public record. There has been a suggestion that, despite the extendable sunset, the general regulation-making power in part 7 of this bill allows regulations to be made to postpone the cessation of a division. Since the briefing, however, I have been given to understand that the general regulation-making power in part 7 cannot change any of the sunsets in the bill, which provided me with some degree of comfort. I ask the minister to confirm, for the record, that that is, indeed, the case.
I have another question for the minister. Upon a sunset occurring and a provision ceasing to have effect, it is provided in various places in the bill that section 37 of the Interpretation Act will apply if the provision has been repealed. It is my understanding that this means that things that were valid before the sunset will remain valid after the sunset, but that otherwise the previous version of the relevant legislation will effectively spring back into operation after the temporary changes made by this bill are gone. I ask the minister to please confirm, for the record, that that is the case as well.
The first bundle of reforms in the bill facilitate the reduction, waiver or refund of fees and charges. Notwithstanding concerns that have been raised by previous speakers, the Greens do not deem this to be particularly controversial. The bill gives agency CEOs the discretion to do two things: they can make an order that reduces, waives or refunds a fee or charge under any of a list of acts specified in the bill, plus any enactment that is prescribed subsequently; and they can make an order that extends the deadline for payment under the Environmental Protection Act—which already gives them this power anyway—or any enactment that is prescribed subsequently. An order is subsidiary legislation, which means, amongst other things, that it has to be published in the Government Gazette. It is not disallowable, however, because it is not a regulation, as defined. An order must also be published on a website, which will generally be the website of the relevant agency, and I note that, as with previous bills, failure to do so will not invalidate the order.
The sunset for this reform is 31 December 2021, but this is extendable by proclamation of the Governor for up to 12 months at a time, on the recommendation of the minister, if the minister considers it necessary or expedient for any of the three primary purposes that I mentioned earlier. The proclamation is disallowable. Consecutive proclamations can be made, but there is an absolute sunset of 30 June 2025, beyond which the reform cannot be extended. That is to say, if this bill is passed, consecutive proclamations can be made for the entire next term of government—the entire forty-first Parliament.
Since 1 April, the government has reduced, waived or refunded some fees and charges pursuant to the promise made by the Premier in late March. Reductions, waivers and refunds made under any of the acts specified in this bill will be retrospectively validated, together with any action taken in reliance upon them. In addition to those reforms, the bill also amends the Interpretation Act to make section 45 of that act applicable to subsidiary legislation made under any act—not only those enacted after the Interpretation Act was enacted in 1984. Section 45 provides that in circumstances in which an act allows regulations to be made in respect of fees and charges, it can include specific fees or charges; maximum or minimum fees or charges; maximum and minimum fees or charges; the payment of fees and charges, either generally or under specified conditions, or in specified circumstances; and, relevant to the bill before us, the reduction, waiver or refund, in whole or in part, of such fees and charges. I ask the minister to please confirm that this provision will not provide any extra power to impose fees or charges, but gives only the power to reduce, waive or refund them.
A large bundle of reforms in the bill facilitates the transition from doing things in person to doing them remotely, and from handling paper to using electronic communication. This is obviously deemed necessary in this strange new world of COVID-19 social distancing, isolation and quarantine. For the most part, the Greens are of the view that these are not particularly controversial reforms. Meetings of boards, committees or other bodies held pursuant to the list of acts specified in the bill, or any prescribed enactment, can now be held in whole or part by phone, audiovisual communication or any other means of instantaneous communication. Those who vote in such meetings will be taken to have voted in person. So, instead of having a meeting, decisions can be made by a prescribed board, committee or other body via a round robin wherein a written resolution is signed or assented to by members. I do not believe this to be controversial in or of itself.
However, clause 14 also provides that assent to a resolution by a majority of members of a prescribed board, committee or other body has the same effect as if it had been passed at a meeting of the prescribed body, and not all resolutions can be passed by majority. Under some legislation, a resolution can be passed only by absolute majority or unanimously or by some other specified proportion that is more than a majority. I understand from the briefing that this provision will not be prescribed to apply to any situation in which a majority would otherwise be insufficient to pass a resolution. The provision will be used only to provide for a round robin, not a different majority. I think that is really important, so I ask the minister to confirm for the record that that is the case.
A requirement under the Planning and Development Act or any prescribed enactment for a public meeting is satisfied if the public can observe it using audiovisual communication. The Greens are keen to ensure that this provision does not remove any right the public may have to participate in meetings and does not relegate the public to simply observing meetings. I received that assurance in the briefing. The provision makes no changes to anyone’s rights; I am assured that it simply provides an equivalent process, and I again ask the minister to confirm for the record that that is correct.
A requirement under the Planning and Development Act or any prescribed enactment to provide the location of a meeting is satisfied for public meetings by advising how a person can observe the meeting using audiovisual communication, and for other meetings by advising how participants can participate by phone or audiovisual communication, or other instantaneous communication. I received at the briefing a similar assurance about public meetings that no-one will lose any right they have to participate in the meeting, and that the provision simply provides an electronic equivalent for doing exactly the same thing. As with my previous question, I ask the minister to please confirm for the record that that is the case.
A requirement under the Planning and Development Act or any prescribed enactment to provide the venue of a meeting of a board, committee or other body is satisfied by making arrangements to hold the meeting by audiovisual communication. I note that since 16 March, some meetings have already purportedly been held and some decisions purportedly made. Decisions that were made under any of the acts specified in the bill are retrospectively validated, should this bill be passed, together with any action that was taken in reliance on them. I received an assurance at the briefing that, apart from being held by electronic means rather than in person, every other requirement for every one of those validated meetings and decisions has been met, including quorums, voting requirements and public participation. This is meant to be just about validating an e-equivalent. The provision is not intended to do anything more than that, so I ask the minister to please confirm for the record that that is indeed the case and that that is what has happened.
A requirement in the acts listed in the bill or any prescribed enactment to make documents available for public inspection at a physical location is satisfied by making them available for free on a website. Again, since 16 March, things that have been done despite noncompliance with the public availability requirements would be retrospectively validated. I received assurance at the briefing that what has been validated is merely the e-equivalency and that all the documents to which this provision relates have indeed been made available for public inspection in the way that is prescribed. Again, I ask the minister to please confirm that for the record.
A requirement in the acts listed in the bill or any prescribed enactment to do something in front of a witness like signing a document is satisfied if it is done by audiovisual communication. The sunset for this bundle of changes is the same as for the fees and charges reforms that I talked about earlier—that is, 31 December 2021, extendable in 12-month bursts until an absolute sunset of 30 June 2025.
The Bail Act will be modified in two ways. First, when it is impractical to go surety in person for any reason, it can be done electronically. Like the other reforms I have mentioned, this modification has a sunset of 31 December 2021 until, potentially, 30 June 2025. The second change to the Bail Act is permanent and provides that when the accused’s time and place for a court appearance is changed, the accused and the surety can be notified electronically.
Currently, electronic notification can happen only in urgent cases or with the accused’s consent. The bill will remove these conditions. It is my understanding—I want it confirmed that this is the case—that electronic notification will happen only if the accused or the surety is not present in court at the time and has provided an email address or textable phone number for communication on those matters. If no electronic address is provided, notification can be done only by a hard copy in the same way that it occurs now. The accused and the surety will have a choice about whether to use electronic communication. Again, I was assured at the briefing that this provision will most certainly not result in the accused or the surety not being notified at all, because that would be truly horrifying. I ask the minister to confirm that that is indeed the case.
There are some changes to the Mental Health Act. It will be modified so that mental health assessments and examinations can be done by audiovisual communication if the practitioner is satisfied that it is necessary or expedient to do so to comply with the “Mental Health Infection Control Directions” or their replacement. The “Mental Health Infection Control Directions” were made in April, and noncompliance, of course, is punishable by a fine of up to $20 000. They apply if the patient has COVID or within the last 14 days has arrived in WA, disembarked from a cruise ship or had contact with a person who has COVID or has a temperature of 38 degrees or more or has symptoms of acute respiratory infection or has been directed to self-isolate. In any of those circumstances, the practitioner needs to address issues of wearing personal protective equipment, appropriate social distancing, physical barriers and using various audiovisual communications. If the practitioner has been directed to self-isolate, they then have to use audiovisual communication. Assessments and examinations that have already happened by audiovisual communications since those directions came into effect and any referrals or orders made as a result of the assessments or examination will be retrospectively validated. The bill adds an extra method for performing examinations that is the same as that which already exists for assessments—that is, if it is not practicable for the patient and the practitioner to be in each other’s physical presence, the examination can be performed in a way that they can hear each other without using a communication device such as through a door. The sunset for all these modifications is for as long as the “Mental Health Infection Control Directions” or any replacement directions have effect. The availability of the provision to be used is extendable, again, in 12-month bursts, potentially until 30 June 2025.
The use of audiovisual communication examinations is not entirely new. It is contemplated and is in use under the Mental Health Act. However, it is recognised that that type of mechanism is not optimal. Those provisions are specifically within the Mental Health Act because we were facing unacceptable time frames for people waiting to get an assessment. The history of this was very bad until we had the new Mental Health Act. It potentially compromised assessment being undertaken because it was being done audiovisually; it has to be recognised that face to face will always be the optimal way to undertake these assessments.
My concern about this reform is the lack of an oversight mechanism. I was grappling with the various ways in which this potentially could be addressed that would be consistent with the way in which records are kept within the Department of Health in order to meet the provisions of the act. Although I recognise the necessity for such a process, we have to agree that it is not optimal. There should, therefore, be more transparency about when it has been used for a patient. I accept that there are very sound reasons why, for the protection of both clinicians and patients themselves, we may want to undertake these assessments in the way that has been prescribed. I think records should be kept of how many and which patients’ examinations and assessments have been conducted this way, and on each occasion, which method was used and why that method was chosen. I raised this concern at the briefing. I think that keeping that data is particularly important.
I am disappointed that the current “Mental Health Infection Control Directions” do not include any of those recording requirements, and I am unhappy that there is no statutory requirement that they do so. Having thought about the various ways that this could be resolved, I suspect that the defect can be cured relatively easily by issuing replacement directions that include those recording requirements. I ask the minister whether, and if so, how, the government will rectify that defect. This information also will be, I think, particularly helpful for the Mental Health Tribunal. In any event, to see how this has taken effect, it is quite important that we look at how we can record the number of times people have been subject to provisions under the Mental Health Act through this new process.
The Sentencing Act will be modified so that offenders can attend court for sentencing by phone—that is, by audio link. The act already provides for attendance by video link in certain circumstances—that is, provided the application has been made by the offender, the offender has been convicted following a guilty plea and the sentence is non-custodial, and the court is satisfied that an audio link is actually available or can be reasonably made available and that no video link is available or can be reasonably made available.
Again, the sunset for this reform is 31 December 2021 until, potentially, 30 June 2025. The Constitution Acts Amendment Act will be amended permanently to expand the ways in which the Executive Council can meet. Currently, it has to meet in person, and the bill adds an option of using remote communication or a mix of in-person and remote communication. Remote communication means any technology that enables all participants to communicate with each other at the same time in a reasonably continuous way. I have to say that I do not have the same sorts of problems with this as other members do. I note that even within our own parliamentary committees we are regularly using a mixture of either online committees or some members being online and some members being face to face in the room, or we are regularly holding face-to-face meetings. Of course, it will always be optimal in meetings that people are able to gather face to face. However, if the choice is between people not meeting at all, or people not meeting face to face, it is better that people have an opportunity to at least be able to meet. I also do not accept that electronic ways of communicating will always be poorer. This provision will allow for flexibility.
The Greens are quite comfortable with that, although I listened carefully to the contribution from other members who I recognise have a different view.
The Evidence Act is proposed to be modified permanently with regard to the manner of taking evidence from children. I would have liked to have had the opportunity to speak more widely with stakeholders about this provision. Currently, when a child gives evidence in a criminal case, the accused must not be in the same room, but must be able to watch by CCTV and at all times be able to communicate with their lawyer. The bill provides a further option of listening by audio link or watching by CCTV if the judge considers that it is not desirable for the accused to attend court due to the health of the accused, or for any other reason that the judge might think fit. If audio link is used, the accused must also be given a reasonable opportunity to view the visually recorded evidence before it is presented to the court. I note the proposed offences around copying, playing or supplying the audio link material.
There are a number of policy considerations here. Of course, one of the core factors is to ensure that we minimise trauma to child witnesses. It is also important to not delay justice unnecessarily, both for the accused, and because the quality of the witness’s recall may reduce with time. It is obviously essential for the proper administration of justice that both sides can properly present their case, including being able to contest the evidence of the other side in an appropriate manner. I note that this might not happen if the accused and their counsel could not match the witness’s words with their facial expressions and gestures. I was assured at the briefing I received that the accused’s lawyer would be able to be present with the accused, and that both the accused and their lawyer would have the opportunity to also see and hear the evidence of the witness simultaneously so that their words can be aligned with their facial expressions and gestures. I was also assured that there would be no change to the usual objection processes; they would be the same as when CCTV is used. I ask the minister to please confirm these things.
The bill also introduces a bundle of permanent amendments to facilitate the use of electronic processes as an alternative to paperwork. The application of the Courts and Tribunals (Electronic Processes Facilitation) Act will be extended to the Administration Act, the Coroners Act, the Criminal Investigation Act, the Criminal Investigation (Extra-territorial Offences) Act, the Criminal Investigation (Identifying People) Act, the Family Court Act, the Juries Act, and the Sentence Administration Act. The Criminal Procedure Act is also proposed to be amended to remove the requirement for verification and the signing of some prosecution notices by a second person, and to specify that prosecution commences when a correctly signed prosecution notice is lodged at court. This will remove the need for in-person signing by authorised investigators of other jurisdictions, including the commonwealth, which I note has been an impediment to electronic lodgement. A further bundle of acts will be amended so that their legislated methods for giving, sending and serving documents and the like will be able to be performed by electronic communication.
I do, of course, want to point out the bleeding obvious. That is that not everyone in this state has easily accessible, reliable and secure internet. This is the case even in the metropolitan area. As someone who lived in Bayswater for 18 years, I can confirm that. I ask the minister to please confirm that these provisions will merely provide an additional communication method and do not preclude existing communication methods, always subject, of course, to any pandemic-related directions that might need to be temporarily incorporated and that would preclude in-person communication methods.
Another reform is that the bill will allow regulations to be made to expand the list of people who can witness affidavits. I understand from the briefing that no final decision has yet been made, but the government is considering the Victorian version of this legislation, which includes high-level public servants and officers of various kinds. This is also one of those provisions that is sunsetted in the same way as a number of the other provisions.
A more controversial part of the bill than most of those that I have mentioned so far is part 3, “Provisions affecting obligations or authorisations under Acts”. The first bit of part 3 states that the expiry date for as yet unexpired authorisations, like permits and licences, of the kinds listed in the bill, or any further kind that is prescribed, can be ordered to be extended for up to 12 months if the decision-maker, who is generally the chief executive officer of the relevant department, is satisfied that the order is necessary or expedient for any of the three primary purposes of the bill. Like many of the other provisions that I have mentioned, the sunset for the making of an order is 31 December 2021, and potentially up to 30 June 2025. Also, like the other provisions, extensions are by Governor’s proclamation, on the minister’s recommendation, which the minister can make only if they are satisfied that it is necessary and expedient for one of the three primary purposes of the bill. Again, I note that that proclamation is disallowable. A consequence of extending the time for making orders in this way is that orders to extend the permit or licence expiry date themselves can be extended by the decision-maker in 12-month bursts. However, nothing in this provision will stop the authorisation from being able to be suspended or cancelled, or a person from being disqualified from holding the authorisation. The provision relates only to the expiry date for the authorisation.
Insofar as the provision will give back to the authorisation holder time that was lost as a result of COVID-related shutdowns, that is not particularly controversial. It will put the authorisation holder in the equivalent position as though the pandemic had not happened. However, my concern is that the orders have the potential to do more than that, and there is no ability to disallow them. This power is too broad. I would prefer this power to be exercisable for only the first two primary purposes. I think that to include the third primary purpose as a reason for overriding a time period that Parliament may have specifically intended, for very good policy reasons, when it passed the parent act, is too open-ended. I have an amendment on the supplementary notice paper pertaining to this, which I will discuss when we go into Committee of the Whole.
The next bit of part 3 will allow decision-makers to make an order modifying or removing conditions related to authorisation if they are satisfied that the order is necessary or expedient for any of the three primary purposes of the bill. Again, this is not disallowable. That power is exercisable in respect of any condition of a clearing licence under section 12C of the Country Areas Water Supply Act, any condition about meters in a licence under section 5C of the Rights in Water and Irrigation Act—in both of those, the decision-maker is the minister who holds the portfolio—and any prescribed class of conditions in any prescribed authorisation.
An order will cease to have effect after one year, or any earlier day specified in the order, but consecutive orders can be made, with the same sunset clauses as have been previously commented on. Again, I have concerns about the breadth of this power, particularly the inclusion of the third primary purpose, because it provides very little restriction or guidance on how the power should be exercised. It is a power that can, if so prescribed, be exercised in respect of any kind of authorisation that exists in this state. Therefore, it is capable of subverting very good policy reasons underlying a condition of authorisation. Again, I have an amendment on the supplementary notice paper, which we will discuss later, to try to ameliorate this. Both kinds of order can be, but do not have to be, revoked if the authorisation holder breaches any of the remaining conditions. In that event, a show cause notice will be issued. The authorisation holder will have 28 days in which to make written submissions and a decision will be made after any submissions received have been considered. If the decision is to revoke the order, reasons for the decision must be provided to the authorisation holder.
The last thing part 3 does is in relation to planning laws. In April, regulations were made allowing the minister to issue exemptions from planning requirements while we are in a state of emergency. These are called clause 78H notices. Lengthy clause 78H notices containing a variety of exemptions were gazetted on 17 April and 5 May this year. Clause 78H notices apply to local planning schemes but not to region planning schemes; therefore, things that are done or not done pursuant to a clause 78H notice are valid for local planning schemes but not for region planning schemes. The bill provides for them to be retrospectively validated for region planning schemes as well. One of the things the April clause 78H notice specifically did was to extend by two years the time for substantially commencing development pursuant to a development approval; however, as I said a moment ago, clause 78H notices apply only to planning schemes. Therefore, the bill is delivering a similar extension to improvement schemes and region planning schemes, so there is no change to the right to seek amendment to development approvals, including to vary and extend the time frame.
The proposed new part 7 contains provisions about orders and regulations made under the bill. Two kinds of orders can be made—that is, those relating to reducing, waiving and refunding of fees, and those relating to the expiry dates or conditions of authorisations. The bill provides that both kinds of orders are subsidiary legislation, so they have to be gazetted, with two exceptions. The first is that the provision in the Interpretation Act that says subsidiary legislation cannot be inconsistent with its parent act is ousted. The bill specifically allows for inconsistent orders, provided the order is not inconsistent with the bill, because the whole point of orders is to modify and override other laws. The other provision in the Interpretation Act that is ousted is section 43(6), which allows subsidiary legislation to make noncompliance an offence with a maximum penalty of $1 000. Orders under this bill cannot create new offences, and that is a good thing. The bill also requires that all orders be published on a website. However, if someone does not publish an order, it does not invalidate it, and even if orders are not published in that way, they still need to be gazetted.
I refer to the regulations. In addition to the regulation-making powers I have already mentioned, the bill includes the usual provision for making regulations that are required or permitted by it, or are necessary or convenient for giving effect to its purposes. That includes power for making regulations about savings and transitional matters. Its scope is limited to matters arising from the cessation of the effect of a provision in the act or an order made under the act. Those regulations may have effect despite any other written law and they can retrospectively deem a particular state of affairs to have existed or to have not existed. There is a safeguard that such deeming cannot prejudice a person or their rights or retrospectively impose liabilities on them, but I note that safeguard does not apply to the state or public authorities. There is also a sunset for regulations about savings and transitional matters. They are required to be made within a period that is reasonably and practically necessary, and, in any event, by 30 June 2025. Again, if the bill is passed, this power will be exercisable for the whole of the next term.
The Greens will allow this bill to pass. We are keen to get on the record a number of the issues that I have raised that I was given assurances about during briefings, and we will consider the amendments as indicated.
Comments and speeches by various members
Bill read a second time.
The Deputy Chair of Committees (Hon Matthew Swinbourn) in the chair; Hon Stephen Dawson (Minister for Environment) in charge of the bill.
Comments and speeches by various members
Committee interrupted, pursuant to standing orders.