Legislative Council: Thursday, October 19, 2023


Legislative Review Committee

The PRESIDENT (15:25): Time having expired for asking questions without notice. On 13 September, the Hon. Ms Bonaros directed a series of questions to me during question time concerning resourcing of the Legislative Review Committee, which I took on notice. I now provide a reply.

The member asked about my awareness of continued requests for appropriate funding for suitably qualified staff by successive members. I am aware that some members of the committee, and the committee itself in a report, have raised concerns over its workload and the resources available to undertake its work.

The Clerk has discussed with me the concerns surrounding the resourcing of the committee, and indeed other committees administered by the council. I understand the Clerk has met with the committee to discuss its workload and the resourcing of the committee, and he has worked with the committee secretariat and the Clerk Assistant Committees to provide additional resources to the Legislative Review Committee.

The committee is currently served by its substantive secretariat of the secretary and the research officer, both of whom are legally qualified. Since late 2021, additional administrative support has been provided to the committee through the allocation of a council messenger, with time dedicated to providing administrative assistance to the committee secretariat.

Further, the Clerk has now made available the services of the Clerk Assistant Committees and an additional research officer to assist the secretariat in providing assessment scrutiny of the legislative instruments that are referred to it. Both of these officers are also legally qualified.

Therefore, at present, the Legislative Review Committee is being serviced by four legally qualified officers assisting its scrutiny functions, as well as a dedicated part-time administrative support to complement the standard resources of a parliamentary committee secretariat. The Legislative Review Committee is therefore served by easily the greatest level of staffing of any committee in the parliament.

The Hon. Ms Bonaros asked whether I was aware of a decision to cease providing members with advice other than administrative matters. I am advised that no such decision has been made. Consideration is continuing to be given to the resources required by this committee within the constraints of the exiting council budget and broader resources and requirements of all committee administered by the council.

Having been a former Presiding Member of the Legislative Review Committee, I am aware of the importance of the committee's role and function and am confident that the measures I have identified will go some way to assisting it with carrying out its functions.