Coorong Environmental Trust Bill

Bills, In Parliament, Speeches

Committee Stage 

In committee. 

(Continued from 31 July 2019.) 

Clause 1. 

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: This is an unusual situation, and just to bring other members of the Council who have not been involved in the select committee into this bill up to speed, the select committee has now reported back. We have reinstated the bill onto the Notice Paper, so while we have already completed second reading speeches, at clause 1 I would like to do what would be the equivalent of a third reading speech to guide council members in their understanding rather than wait until the third reading to do so. 

I would like to thank my colleagues who joined me as members of the aforementioned select committee: the Hon. Terry Stephens, the Hon. Irene Pnevmatikos, and the Hon. Connie Bonaros. The committee held two sessions of hearings and received a number of submissions, with almost all of them being in firm favour of establishing the Coorong environmental trust. As such, I would also like to thank everyone who took the time to send in a submission, including: the Conservation Council of South Australia, the Coorong District Council, Coorong Wild Seafood, Geoff Gallasch, the Coorong Trust Proponents Association, Professor Luke Mosley, Alexandrina Council, the Southern Fishermen’s Association, and the River Lakes and Coorong Action Group. 

For many involved in that process, this is an exciting moment. I think one of the clearest things to come through the select committee hearings and from those submissions was the magnitude of what the trust will be able to achieve and contribute for and towards the community of the Coorong and Lower Lakes. It was incredibly heartening to see the outpouring of community support and the eagerness of a wide range of stakeholders to see the trust established. 

This is a relatively new way of doing things for us in South Australia, but it is abundantly clear that the Coorong and Lower Lakes are in dire straits right now. This is the time to try new things, to be bold and to finally listen to the communities that have been crying out for support for such a long time. As Faith Coleman said during her evidence before the select committee: 

What the diversity of supporters of the trust know is that, if we want a different outcome from what we have now, we are going to have to try doing something different. While there have been some wins, the tireless efforts of our Public Service seem to be doing nothing more than keeping the status quo or slowing the decline. The frustration within the community, particularly the traditional owners and fisher folk, is extremely high. 

Before I continue much further, I want to clarify something I said during my second reading speech when talking about the community ‘managing’ the Coorong in the way that they know best. The trust will not be taking over any legislation functions of the department or of the government when it comes to their management of the Coorong. To reassure the department, I direct them to the words of Faith Coleman, one of the proponents of this trust, during those select committee hearings: 

We see the trust as a strategic body of all stakeholders, the community being an important subset of this, looking at the bigger, longer-term picture and fleshing out our vision for that future. We don’t see it in any way as replacing the project-based and operational governance structures that the state government currently has in place or is in the process of forming. 

It is worth remembering what the proponents of the trust and the bill have clearly stated will not be within the remit of the trust. The trust will not write policy. The trust will not actively participate in political lobbying. The trust will not manage the barrages. The trust will not manage or implement existing programs. The trust will not undertake on-ground works, although the trust may assist with the funding of those works. The trust will also not deal with non-environmental matters such as development or water allocation. 

I am painfully aware that I am making this speech not even two days after yet another apparent mass fish kill event at Lake Pamamaroo near Menindee. It is barely spring, yet we are already being told to brace for more fish kills as summer intensifies the drought. 

Meanwhile, the federal government has pledged a laughable $300,000 for states to help manage these fish kill deaths, these mass deaths. As I have said, ‘apparent’ with regard to this latest fish kill because, despite the abundant footage, the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries is yet to confirm that new kill. They said in their statement that the remote location would make verifying the mass kill extremely difficult, and that is precisely the problem. 

We all know the saying, if the tree falls in the forest but nobody heard or saw it, did it really happen? Well, if the fish die in our dried-up rivers but nobody saw it and no department was there to witness it, then they say it may not have happened. This is actually the difficult and frustrating reality for many communities along the river, and the Coorong community is no different. Departments and their staff are often geographically removed from where the significant ecological events occur, and it takes them a long time to get on site to record and take data, if they are able to do so at all. I want us to keep that in mind, and I will touch more on that later. 

As Ms Brooks, a member of the River Lakes and Coorong Action Group said during the select committee hearings, ‘We actually need to know how things work before we can fix them.’ What has been made abundantly clear to us through the submissions and the evidence we have received during the select committee process is just how much the community relies upon and how desperately they are seeking high-quality research and monitoring. 

Current monitoring is also demonstrably flawed, and this was made very clear to us by scientists and members of the community during that process of the select committee. We have heard examples of monitoring stations being in inappropriate locations, of limited data being collected and of monitoring stations being retrofitted with equipment for monitoring additional indicators of water quality in areas that are inappropriate and ineffective. 

Due to the limited scope of existing monitoring, coupled with the fact that departmental staff are not always on site and are often quite a distance away, important events in the Coorong can and, importantly, have been missed. One such example was provided by Ms Coleman, ecologist, during her evidence before the committee. Again, I quote from her evidence: 

The fishermen kept saying to me that the water colour looked weird, so my response was, ‘Well, get me a sample then.’ We ran them through a series of analysis using microscopes, and what we discovered was that the southern lagoon has a current cyanobacterial load of 1.2 million cells per millilitre. You close beaches at 80,000, so it’s very, very high. That is driving an event further up—or down, as the fishermen call it—downstream in the northern lagoon where we have sea sparkle events, which are bioluminescent events, so the southern part of the northern lagoon glows in the dark for two or three months a year. 

Of course, the nutrients from all of this drive something called a red tide or an Alexandrium minutum bloom. It’s highly toxic and causes paralytic shellfish poisoning, and there is about 30 kilometres for several months of the year, it turns out, of this bloom in the Coorong. All of these things were undetected using the current monitoring, so there was no understanding that there was Alexandrium minutum in the system. There were plenty of species lists created by Flinders University and Adelaide University, which were great, but they somehow missed this species. It is an Egyptian introduced species and it is highly toxic. 

It is there and it has been there for a very long time. That is a worry to us, that it got missed. Also the cyanobacterial bloom in the southern lagoon was missed. The sea sparkle event is stunningly beautiful but also a bit of a worry. That has actually been missed by a lot of the local community members as well because no-one is out there in the middle of the night. Really, the only people who knew about that were the fishermen. There are a lot of those sorts of gaps that we are missing. 

Both these events were undetected by current monitoring regimes and only became known because of the fishers in the Coorong. This sort of monitoring and information collection can be well facilitated by the trust, with members based locally and with lived experienced of the ecological events that regularly occur on the river, particularly those that are either poorly monitored, poorly recorded or not recorded at all. 

Further, the department is not always able to provide or send staff when events occur, as shown by the following exchange during the committee hearings, with the Chair asking the witness: 

Would any of that monitoring, even when it was present, have picked up what I’m going to call— 

and this is quoting myself now— 

(because I am not a scientist) dead blood worms, stinky black sludge and [dead] crabs—what was it?—corroded crabs in their masses? 

To which ecologist, Faith Coleman, replied: 

It didn’t, no. The CLLMM project was still in existence when the first observation was made. We have made seven similar observations of similar things in the three years since, but, no, it didn’t and it wouldn’t. Department staff can’t go out on a hot day. If it’s a high fire danger, they don’t go out. If it’s too cold and windy they don’t go out. If it’s too far from Adelaide and it takes them a while to get there, they have to stay overnight. They are just not there at the right time. You need to be there pre-dawn on a very, very hot day to see it. 

The committee was also made aware of the fact that the government has been withdrawing monitoring over time, particularly once the CLLMM (Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth) funding ran out. The community at the time offered to provide funding to maintain some of the monitoring points, but were unable to do so, as we heard from the witness, Mr Ken Sawers: 

I think the other point to add, too, is that the federal agencies are the ones that are essentially requesting more accurate monitoring. There have been a lot of problems with algal growth on what limited monitors are there. The fishermen have been cleaning them and whatever, but it is just not a viable monitoring system that’s there at the moment. The community has offered to take over that monitoring, but it has been politely declined. This organisation will give us some basis on which those people who are regularly out on the Coorong and Lakes can help in those observations. 

On the topic of monitoring, we also know that the trust’s work will be invaluable to expanding the monitoring regime in the Coorong and improving our understanding of this unique wetland. This has the potential to be over and above what the department will be able to achieve, particularly when funding cycles and futures are ever uncertain. I understand the magnitude of the work being undertaken as part of Project Coorong, but currently, as far as we know, that is only certain for the next five years. I believe that the following excerpt from Ms Coleman’s written submission illustrates the potential value and importance of the work that the trust wishes to undertake and support: 

One of the greatest challenges facing landscape management worldwide is the increasingly short political, publicity and funding cycles. While university academics, SA Department for Environment and Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder staff individually have all the best intentions, their organisations are increasingly driven by these cycles. The Lakes and Coorong have been extensively studied, researched, monitored, managed and measured in various ways since the late 1800s, with a particular emphasis on environmental assessment from the 1960s through to 1990s. 

Unfortunately, these activities have become extensively cyclic and project driven since the mid-1990s. The loss of the Department for Environment librarians and ongoing depreciation of funding for long-term monitoring of the system since the mid-1990s means that most project staff and, therefore, technical reports on the system only reference papers that go back to 2006. 

Where longer term references are made, they are often self references (where an author cites their own work) or more recent secondary interpretations of earlier work. These issues, along with poor synthesis of historical condition references, have led to Coorong ecological understandings appearing to suffer a phenomena known as ‘shifting baseline syndrome’, where ongoing environmental degradation results in people’s accepted thresholds for environmental conditions being continually lowered. 

Whilst the trust has not yet been formally established, its proponents have been working hard over an extended period of time for the betterment of the Coorong. Some of their work, as outlined in their submissions to the committee, already demonstrate what they can achieve, and again I quote from one such submission: 

Over the last three years the proponents of the Coorong Environmental Trust have worked together to identify what unknown unknowns and missed opportunities for better environmental outcomes exist across the estuary. During this period, the combination of resources, field experience and scientific understandings of the trust proponents has resulted in this group reporting several ecological events that would have otherwise missed the attention of department staff. These include (but are not limited to): 

seven significant benthic macroinvertebrate kills in Seven Mile Lagoon; 

a semi-permanent cyanobacterial bloom throughout the South Lagoon, using fishermen’s ad hoc phytoplankton counts, which we correlated to the high chlorophyll-a index spatial data produced by Australian GeoScience (a data set formerly unknown by DEW staff); 

the presence of a toxic red tide dinoflagellate bloom along 20 km of the North Lagoon (confirmed by the University of Tasmania) previously known by fishermen for a decade or more, but unknown to the SA Government; 

the presence of Sea Sparkle blooms in Seven Mile Lagoon during autumn months each year from 2017-19, along with fishermen’s observations of bioluminescence in the Coorong, over more than forty years. 

The Department for Environment and Water and Primary Industry and Resources SA’s recent success in creating conditions conducive for Black Bream breeding was a positive outcome of concerted stakeholder efforts to promote the history of the Coorong as a salt wedge estuary and the biological knowledge of the fishermen to ensure the best timing of the implementation of measures. As a collective, we believe the estuary does not currently have adequate nursery habitat for the juvenile Black Bream that are being bred. Given that there has been no appetite to do this work using government resources, the fishery (with support from other Trust proponents) is now funding the Federation University to supervise a PhD project to examine the environmental history of the South Lagoon to determine what might be needed to restore the Bream nursery habitat in that area. 

All this is not a criticism of departmental staff. I certainly understand resource constraints and the short-term and uncertain nature of wave after wave of project-based funding. It is great to see, however, in the department’s submission that the University of Adelaide’s review recommendations concerning monitoring are being used to inform Project Coorong and that there is scope for the expansion of existing monitoring programs. The best decisions are made when we have the best information available. 

In their submission, DEW has stated that they already provide a number of existing and forthcoming platforms that act as a repository for environmental data and research. While this is technically true, the data is often limited, out of date or only partial. Throughout meetings with people in the Coorong and the Lower Lakes, the quality of the data and the amount, or lack thereof, of data has been consistently raised as an issue. Further, this does not take into account community observations and records. This is one of the benefits of the trust: the willingness and ability to collect, collate and synthesise decades of community observations and citizen science. 

We know from members of the community that such things are not always taken on board by the department, despite long-running data collection and collections of observations being incredibly significant. Furthermore, what is currently available data wise is mostly just water levels and salinity. This is not comprehensive. Furthermore, this is not live data. Most other information is not made public. 

Similarly, the Coorong and Lakes Ramsar portal has not been updated since the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth project ceased operation, and it only contains reports funded by that program. The level of scientific and academic knowledge and engagement among members of the community around the Coorong and Lower Lakes is staggering. It was made abundantly clear to us, as members of the committee, that they are looking for ways to collate the information available—or currently largely unavailable—into a centrally accessible location. 

Everyone is aware that lots of bits of work get done, but they do not necessarily get put together. As Liz Tregenza of the River Lakes and Coorong Action Group put it: 

The Coorong environmental trust will provide a vehicle for a number of stakeholder groups currently working in this space to collaborate. It will provide a one-stop shop for government to obtain information. Perhaps most importantly, it provides a vehicle to consolidate the science on the Coorong and provide for independent monitoring and research ongoing. It creates an avenue for new and international funding not necessarily available to state governments. 

In its submission, the department is predominantly concerned with the duplication of work, particularly when it comes to research and monitoring programs. It is rather clear in the bill and in the second reading explanation that there is no intention to duplicate or take over work that is already being done. However, doing similar types of work, such as research and monitoring, is not duplication. If anything, it is difficult to see how this could be anything but useful to the department, with independent and separate funding for additional monitoring, data collection and research, all of which are aimed to be publicly available and therefore available for the department’s use as well. 

It is difficult to understand why the department would be unhappy with the trust undertaking more research or pointing researchers—and potentially funding them—towards areas that need more work to improve our understanding of this complex ecosystem. We know that there is excellent science and data collection already being done by members of the community, as we heard about during the select committee process: 

Probably some of the best science I have seen proffered by a member of the community is actually from one of the leading fishermen who managed to bowl over a couple of professors who said they had PhD students who didn’t do stuff as good as that. There is a wealth of well-trained knowledge there in the community. 

The Coorong and Lower Lakes are indeed a very special community. It would be a shame not to capitalise on the excellent work already being done there. This work so far has failed to gain that proper recognition. The trust is therefore a perfect solution as a body with an interest and a capacity to properly collate and analyse this data and ensure that it is accessible to all who need it. 

Furthermore, the large benefit of the trust will be its willingness to engage and encourage citizen science and allow for community observations of the Coorong and Lower Lakes to be recorded and added to our understanding of this ecosystem. This is currently not happening, as evidenced by the following statement from Tracy Hill during her appearance before the select committee. She said: 

But there’s a disconnect between what people observe and the ability to have it recorded somewhere. There is really not a mechanism at the moment. Glen— 

that is, Tracy’s husband, Glen Hill— 

has resorted to having to do citizen science and find someone who can actually analyse the samples, and then hopefully that can get passed on through some chain or channel to the department for reporting. We don’t even know if that’s been happening. It seems just recently to have been acknowledged, but there was no mechanism for this to actually happen. 

All of this highlights how much of a value-add the Coorong Environmental Trust is and the potential that it has. 

Another benefit of the trust that became very clear throughout the committee hearings was the fact that it has such a strong focus on listening to the community, something that has been distinctly lacking in the community’s experience of decision-making around the Coorong and the Lower Lakes. There is a distinct lack of trust of government consultations and community forums, a persevering symptom arising from past experience and from the community being let down far too many times. Community members and stakeholders are not shy about making this known. 

There are repeated examples of the inadequacy of the department’s consultation and engagement forums, which are a never-ending source of frustration for the community. Even as just the most recent example, there was a series of community consultation meetings held on the Coorong Project. Initially, the meetings were only going to be in Meningie and Goolwa. That in and of itself was rather laughable when you consider that neither Goolwa or Meningie are on the Coorong, let alone on the South Lagoon, which is where this project is meant to focus on. 

Meningie is on Lake Albert and Goolwa is on Lake Alexandrina. Additional sessions were added in Robe and Salt Creek after the issue was raised by members of the community. However, even with this in mind there was still the significant issue of all of these sessions clashing with a biennial national seafood directions conference in Melbourne, which included the National Seafood Industry Awards presentation at lunchtime the very day of the Meningie session, which three key Meningie fishing identities were all finalists in various categories for. 

Furthermore, the department did not know that many fishers as well as a large number of larger fishing licence holders would not be able to attend the Meningie forum as a result of the date, despite very much wanting to be a part of the consultation. This issue was ignored, despite being raised ahead several times by members of the community. Perhaps this is not entirely surprising. After all, in the government’s document outlining Project Coorong and the Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin Action Plan, the ‘About the Coorong’ section does not even mention fishing as one of the uses of the Coorong, despite the strong community and industry that depends on the Coorong and Lower Lakes. 

All questions, I am advised, that were asked about the $70 million were brushed off during that session at Meningie. Even questions asked in advance regarding the lack of a literature review and if it was too early for them to be discussing solutions, and if they could not articulate the cause of the issues, were supposedly answered by referring to reports the community did not have access to or that were available through yet another website that none of the community knew about. In the words of one of the participants: 

Once the $70m has been spent and the remaining four years of the five year project are over, those ‘community members’ in that room get to live with whatever mess or non-result that is left at the end of this, with its resulting impacts on their lifestyle, culture and livelihoods, while the department staff get to go home to Adelaide, pat each other on the back and nominate each other for awards. 

The trust is embedded in and supported by the community. It is a way to guarantee that their voices, frustrations, concerns and ideas will be heard where they have been ignored in the past. The community wants self-determination and participation in studying, monitoring and looking after the Coorong, and they believe in the trust and its ability to do so. 

I have said before that this is a significant move for South Australia. Something that further highlights this is the fact that the concept of the trust has already gained international interest. I am delighted to inform the council that, in November this year, one of its proponents and someone I have obviously had the pleasure of working with very closely with regard to this bill, ecologist Faith Coleman, will be the only solo presenter at the CHEERS conference in France. 

CHEERS stands for ‘Global changes in estuarine and coastal systems functioning: innovative approaches and assessment tools’—it takes a letter from each of those words but not the first letter. The CHEERS conference aims to gather competencies and expertise on topnotch research highlighting global and long-term trends in estuarine and coastal ecosystem dynamics, using a wide variety of analytical tools and approaches. It is incredibly exciting that the trust we debate today will be presented and discussed there on such a distinguished international stage. It highlights what an incredible opportunity we have for South Australian science as well. 

It has been a privilege to bring this bill before the parliament. I thank my researcher, Malwina Wyra, for her incredible, staunch work. She is what I would call a ‘water nerd’. It has also been a privilege to advocate for the wishes and attest to the hard work of members of the community throughout the Coorong and Lower Lakes. I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to speak to myself and members of the committee on our visits and during our hearings and to make submissions. 

I thank them for the hospitality and forthrightness that we have had the pleasure to experience when we have undertaken that work. This is truly a community united and passionate about restoring the wetlands and the Coorong and ensuring their long-term study and survival. I hope for and look forward to the speedy passage of this bill through the other place, should it pass this place, where it will have the carriage of one of the local members, Nick McBride, the member for MacKillop. 

We have a long, hot summer ahead of us. We are going to need all the information and support we can get. As I said, with those mass fish kills and ecological events, it is those who are there and see it who can attest that they do occur. That citizen science and support for the community in its diversity is something that this trust will enable. With that, while this is not a second or third reading contribution, I look forward to the continuation of the committee stage of the bill. 

The Hon. I. PNEVMATIKOS: The Coorong is South Australia’s only wave-dominated estuary and the largest in Australia. It is located at the end of our most heavily modified river system, the Murray-Darling, and has been facing a steady decline in its health over recent decades. In addition to the impact the health of the estuary has on fish species and the habitat for a range of unique aquatic life, it is also indissolubly linked to the economic wellbeing of the local community. I thank the Hon. Tammy Franks for initiating the next step of what can be done to restore the health of the Coorong and Lower Lakes by initiating the establishment of a Coorong environmental trust. 

It is a method tried and tested in other wetlands and estuaries across the country, many of which have demonstrated that this approach improves financial, physical and human resource use efficiency, enabling far greater outcomes for the estuary for equal or less overall resource input from each of the engaged stakeholder organisations. 

The trust is delighted to drive the restoration of flows and ecological stability within the Lakes and the Coorong with a strong focus on the Ramsar principle of sustainable use. It will connect science, local community and stakeholders and empower them to take charge of the management of the Coorong. To quote Coorong Wild Seafood, there will be better science, better governance and better collaboration. It will be independent and will allow everyone to have equal input to ensure there is a democratic process in place that will facilitate the wellbeing of the estuary and be its primary focus. 

It is important to note that it will still afford the state government the opportunity to use information and reports from the trust to inform its decision-making. It will also assist in attracting additional sources of private funding for the preservation and restoration of the wetland that the government is unable to access. It is important that we take into account the needs of the community who live there and experience the environment on a day-in, day-out basis. They are the on-the-ground experts and scientists when it comes to the condition of the Coorong. Their voices and research need to be heard. 

As put by the Alexandrina council: 

[The trust will improve] the technical literacy of, and communication and collaboration between, the various stakeholder groups with an interest in the ecological health of the Coorong, including via the publication of annual State of the Estuary reports… [And will ensure] local knowledge and experience is captured and communicated to inform and add value to management activities being planned and delivered by government agencies. 

Through the committee’s deliberations we heard overwhelming support for the establishment of such a trust, with utmost confidence that its establishment was the best option to address the health and wellbeing of the whole system. I thank all who have participated in the inquiry, particularly those from the local area, for your insightful, passionate and well researched submissions. I stand to reiterate my beliefs that this bill is an appropriate measure and will go far in assisting the development of protections to preserve all elements of the Coorong. 

The Hon. C. BONAROS: I, too, rise to speak to the report and the bill and to echo the sentiments expressed by the Hon. Tammy Franks and the Hon. Irene Pnevmatikos. 

Such was the overwhelming support for this important piece of legislation, not only amongst stakeholder groups but also across the political spectrum in this place, that it really is a no-brainer. If only all bills referred to committees were as easy to deal with as this one, perhaps we would enjoy that process a little more. At the risk of repeating what has already been said and already highlighted, the Coorong Environmental Trust Bill 2019 establishes the Coorong Environmental Trust with the objective of driving the restoration of flows and ecological stability of the Lower Lakes and the Coorong. 

Amongst other things it will serve as a vehicle to create and maintain a repository for all environmental data and research outcomes relating to the Coorong, something for which locals and stakeholders have been pleading for a very long time. It will provide independent, impartial scientific advice on the state of the Coorong to all stakeholders, including government; provide guidance for future environmental research within the Coorong; clearly monitor and document environmental flow outcomes; coordinate and implement water quality monitoring programs; and independently assess proposed solutions to ecological challenges faced by the Coorong. 

Most importantly, it will do all these things independently of government, with direct input from individuals representing organisations with professional, financial, physical or legal commitment to the ecological wellbeing of the Coorong, including, of course, the invaluable citizen science from locals who know the Coorong better than I think we ever will. 

The science has been painstakingly gathered but all too often ignored, undermined and, especially, undervalued. It will create uniformity in terms of the collation of data, modelling and research, which as we know is not only often disjointed or fragmented but also very dispersed and ad hoc in nature. Perhaps most importantly, it is not always publicly accessible, as the Hon. Tammy Franks has highlighted, a criticism that we heard over and over in evidence. 

It will ensure, again as has been highlighted, a democratic system for listening to those most impacted by the activities in the Coorong and create a sense of ownership that they deserve and thereby reduce the risk of single interest groups dominating the works of the trust at the expense of others. It will enable stakeholders to work together towards those meaningful and transformative changes that they have pleaded for for so long, which are aimed at driving the restoration of flows and ecological stability within the lakes and the Coorong, based on science and not politics. Indeed, I think we all agree that putting science back at the centre at the heart of the decision-making process is an integral aspect of this bill. 

The Coorong is a national treasure recognised under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance. As the evidence presented to the committee highlighted overwhelmingly, it is one that deserves the utmost respect, preservation and protection. Of course, that level of respect, preservation and protection has been left wanting for a very long time—to its dire detriment. Indeed, the protection and preservation of the Murray-Darling, a national river system not just important to South Australia but to the nation as a whole, has been left wanting for a very long time. 

We know the Murray is an integral part of the nation’s food bowl, responsible for a $22 billion hub of economic activity and, as such, it must be government properly. However, despite the billions of dollars we have spent on the Murray so far, the Coorong has suffered and continues to suffer as do the communities that rely so heavily on it. It is hoped that this bill will go some way towards ensuring our world-renowned and internationally significant Coorong gets the lifeline that it so desperately needs before it is too late. 

In closing, I, too, would like to thank all those who have worked tirelessly to see this bill become a reality. Thanks of course to all those stakeholder groups and individuals who took the time to provide submissions and give evidence to the committee, especially for their impassioned pleas of support for this most important piece of legislation. In addition to thanking the other honourable members who served on the committee, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Hon. Tammy Franks in particular for her most valuable and hard work in this area. 

Clause passed. 

Clauses 2 to 17 passed. 

Clause 18. 

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I move: 

Amendment No 1 [Franks–1]— 

Page 9, line 24—Delete ‘4 directors’ and substitute ‘5 directors’ 

This amendment deletes four directors and substitutes five directors with regard to proceedings, and a quorum of the board would now consist of five directors instead of four directors. 

Amendment carried; clause as amended passed. 

Remaining clauses (19 to 25) and title passed. 

Bill reported with amendment. 

Third Reading 

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (17:46): I move: 

That this bill be now read a third time. 

Bill read a third time and passed.