Parliamentary Committees and Inquiries Acts Amendment Bill 2015 | Second Reading

Ms  SULEYMAN  (St Albans) — Thank you, Acting Speaker, and I congratulate you on your role today. I rise to follow my colleagues in also speaking in support of this bill and to echo the same sentiments. This bill amends the Parliamentary Committees Act 2003 and the Inquiries Act 2014. It will reduce the number of joint investigatory committees from 12 to 9 by merging committees. This will enable Parliament to work effectively, allow members to express their views and provide an opportunity for stakeholders, in particular our communities, to have a say. I repeat that there will be no loss of the functions of previous committees.

One matter that is important to me is that the existing Law Reform, Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee and Road Safety Committee will merge to become the Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee. A matter that is extremely important to the electorate of St Albans is clearly safety on our roads — safety for motorists and safety for pedestrians. I know the previous committee did a good job in finding some solutions, but with the new committee there will be an opportunity to find better solutions in relation to safety.

Another matter that is close to me is law reform. A particular issue that is close to my heart is family adoption in this state. At the moment there seems to be a gap where there are adopters who may be discriminated against because of their religion. There will be an opportunity for the Law Reform, Road and Community Safety Committee to address this concern.

There are other important matters, such as crime statistics. In the west, and particularly in the area of St Albans, we can see that crime statistics went up under the previous government. With the joint committee there will be an opportunity for openness and transparency and for there to be a real sense of engagement with stakeholders to look at some real solutions in that area. I reiterate that there will not be a loss of function; this is a change. This government is committed to making sure that there is an honest, transparent and effective way of working within the committee structures. Yes, the names will change but the functions will not change. I commend the bill to the house. In conclusion, as I have made clear, there will be more scrutiny, better consultation and an opportunity for all members of the house to contribute to the committee process.

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