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Health Miscellaneous Amendments Bill 2019 - Second Reading

2 May 2019
Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin) - Mr Deputy Speaker, the Greens will support this amendment to the Health Miscellaneous Amendments Bill. We were grateful for the comprehensive briefing from the department staff responsible for the carriage of different parts of this legislation. I do not need to go into Committee. I feel my questions have been well answered in the briefing process, where we had questions of the changes made.

Clause 84(8) amends section 86 of the Food Act 2003 to reflect the different classes of food local councils have responsibility for registration of. 

As it was explained to me, and perhaps the minister could confirm that my understanding is correct, what this will do is to update a 20-year or so old regulatory system. It requires food to be put into three different risk categories. It does not properly reflect the current scientific understanding about where food risks arise. It is the level and type of processing that a particular product has had and where it is kept that will now be used to determine its risk category rather than simply whether it is an xyz product. If that is the case, then my understanding from the briefing was that would make it simpler for councils to implement. It will also probably mean less paperwork and less need to be unnecessarily bureaucratic about things that do not represent a real risk. If the minister could confirm that my understanding is correct it would be helpful.

In relation to the Mental Health Act 2013, Part 1, clause 1, 240 Effect of certain transfers, I am pleased to see that there is this jurisdictional agreement that has been established. That is important. The minister would be aware that I had been in discussions over a number of years with the previous Attorney-General, Vanessa Goodwin, and now with the current Attorney-General, Elise Archer, about inter-jurisdictional arrangements for people who are subject to mental health tribunal orders. I had understood that this would also include that category of person but it is simply restricted to people under forensic orders. It does not capture civil orders. My understanding is that the work with COAG is proceeding and that Ms Archer, on behalf of the Government, is doing work with other states to look at an agreement to facilitate people who are under a mental health tribunal order and who travel interstate so that they can receive medication, receive care, be observed under the same conditions that they have in Tasmania, without any gaps, so there is no risk to the patient or to other people in the community, which is what has been happening.

If the minister has any more information on where that process is and when that process might be completed, would appreciate it.

Mr Ferguson - Yes, totally.

Dr WOODRUFF - Thanks. Schedule 1, page 7, clause 2, section 36 of the Food Act 2003 will be amended to change the manner of making orders. It is now providing an option:

… that it be published in a newspaper that will, in the opinion of the relevant authority who made the order, will be most likely to bring the order to the attention of the persons intended to be bound by it; or

(b) It can be served on each of those persons.

This updates us to give more flexibility meaning that advertisements in newspapers are not required. That seems to be sensible. It still gives the option of putting an ad in the newspaper if the person cannot be identified. It is ticking a box but getting rid of the unnecessary expense and time of using newspaper ads if that is not required and they can go directly to the source. 

We are happy to support the bill.