Issues raised in evidence
This chapter considers the main issues raised in evidence during the
committee's inquiry into the provisions of the Veterans' Affairs Amendment
(Digital Readiness) Bill 2016 (the bill). It summarises arguments opposed to
the bill as well as those in favour of the amendments. The chapter concludes
with the committee's view and recommendation.
Computerised decision making
The first of the bill's proposed amendments will enable the Secretary of
the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) to authorise the use of computer
programs to make determinations related to veteran entitlements under the
following legislations: Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA), Military
Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) and Safety,
Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA). The
amendments will ensure DVA is legally permitted to move some of its decision
making to an automated system.
Expected potential benefits
Implementation of computerised decision making at DVA is expected to
deliver a number of potential benefits. Automation is expected to streamline
services, free up resources and prepare DVA for future ICT upgrades. The
department argued that computerised decision making will leverage existing
technology; provide enhanced services; reduce the length of time for some
reimbursement transactions; and allow younger veterans to engage with DVA
DVA's submission argued that it is one of the few client-focused departments
that does not have capacity for computerised decision making. It provided
examples of Commonwealth agencies which currently use computer programs to make
decisions. It cited automated systems at the Department of Immigration and
Border Protection and the Therapeutic Goods Administration as examples of
successful computerised decision making. DVA argued that it must continue to
explore and leverage new technologies to improve its standard of service and be
recognised as a modern service provider.
The department acknowledged that delays in reimbursement transactions
for clients are high priorities. It argued that computerisation of some
decision making will not only improve accuracy of decisions but also enable
routine reimbursements to be processed faster. DVA argued that automated
systems will 'free up resources and result in benefits such as short wait times
and fast payments and services for DVA clients'.
According to the department, automation of some decisions will not only
improve wait times in the short term, but prepare it for additional ICT
upgrades in the future.
Which decisions will be automated?
The department's submission emphasised that the only decisions which
will be suitable for computerised decision making are those that can be
converted into an algorithm and generated based on information that is not
subject to interpretation or discretion. It provided assurance that
computerised decision making will not be used where fact finding or weighing of
evidence is required and matters that require interpretation or evaluation of
evidence will continue to be determined by a human decision maker.
Examples of the types of computerised decisions identified as suitable
for automation were provided by the department. It argued that computerisation
will benefit clients by streamlining the process:
...a person could submit a travel reimbursement claim late at
night for a medical appointment that occurred earlier in the day. Under
computerised decision-making, the computer program could make the decision,
send an automatically generated email advising the person of the outcome and
deposit the reimbursement in the person’s bank account – all outside of normal
business hours and at the person’s convenience.
It argued that in some circumstances, computerised decision making can
also remove the need for clients to supply additional information to the
There is evidence at the moment that some SoP factors can be
met simply because an ADF member has performed their regular duties in the ADF.
For example, lower back strain caused by carrying a heavy pack during training.
Currently, if a person submits a claim for lower back strain injury, SoP
factors are fully examined. However, where a SoP factor can be satisfied on the
basis of a person’s ADF training, this process could be automated and
streamlined for the person, as long as there is a medical diagnosis of the
condition. As noted above, a veteran could always provide additional
information to support their claim if they choose to, they need not rely only
on information provided by the Department of Defence.
In light of concerns raised by the implementation of the Centrelink debt
recovery scheme, the department expressly stated that it does not intend to use
computerised decision making for debt collection purposes. It noted that while
debt calculations are already made with the assistance of computers, 'debt
management and collection will remain a matter where the specific circumstances
of the individual and the value of the debt are considered in what action is
taken and how it is communicated'.
The submission from DVA also provided assurance that following upgrades
to its business and ICT systems, veterans would not require a computer to
access DVA's services or be left to deal only with machines. It emphasised that
although some aspects of the department's services will be automated, '[w]here
veterans would prefer, they will always be able to speak to a DVA staff
According to DVA, the provision has been broadly worded intentionally.
It argued that as technology continues to improve, it is difficult to predict
which decisions may become suitable for computerised decision making. It argued
that using unspecific language in the bill will prevent the need for legislation
to be continuously amended as new decisions become suitable to add to the list.
Evidence from DVA discussed safeguards that will accompany the
computerised decision making provision of the bill. It argued there are
controls around authorisation, options to correct decisions, and review pathways
available to clients.
In terms of implementation, the bill includes safeguards that limit the
power to authorise which computerised decisions can be implemented. The bill
ensures that computerisation can only be implemented with the direct approval
of the Secretary and that power cannot be delegated to any other person.
Under the VEA, the Secretary is specifically prevented from delegating the
decision to authorise the use of a computer program to make decisions. This is
not necessary for the MRCA or the DRCA as the Secretary does not have the power
to delegate under those Acts.
The department also discussed its options to correct an incorrect
decision in the event of a computer malfunction. It argued that the
Repatriation Committee and the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation
Committee (MRCC) will have the power to substitute a decision or determination
on its own motion, without the need to receive a formal request for review by a
However, the department did not provide information on how the commissions intend
to identify which decisions require review without having clients draw it to
their attention first.
With regards to review and appeal pathways, the department advised that
the bill's proposed changes will not affect clients' existing review rights or
appeal pathways. It asserted that clients will continue to have the right to
request reviews of decisions they are dissatisfied with and all normal appeals
process will remain in operation.
Arguments against the changes
Due to the complexity of entitlement claims and the need for human
interpretation across many cases, submitters to the inquiry were sceptical that
computerised decision making would improve claims processing times. Indeed,
submitters were concerned that transferring decision making to computers could
potentially cause negative consequences for clients. A number of concerns with
the bill's proposed provision were raised in evidence, including that:
computerised decisions will not be assessed by human delegates
before they are finalised;
a system that is able to make a decision as well as notify the
client of the decision may cause distress if the decision is found to be
computerised decisions may cause a backlog of work in the event
of computer error or malfunction;
computerised decision making may lead to an increased number of
errors in entitlement assessments; and
there is ambiguity around the Repatriation Committee's and MRCC's
'own motion' powers.
The Veterans Advice & Social Centre Hervey Bay (VASC) submission
sought clarification as to how the department's computerised decision making
will be carried out in practice. It highlighted that the department's client
base is particularly vulnerable and urged caution around computerisation of
It must again be stressed many veterans have special needs,
such as those with psychiatric disorders and personality difficulties that are
often enhanced by the claims process and their interaction with DVA.
The VASC expressed its concern that human oversight of some decisions would
be removed and argued that any electronic decision making should still be
subject to a delegate's review before it is finalised.
It also argued that using a system which is able to make a decision and provide
notification of the decision may cause further distress to already vulnerable clients
if the decision is incorrect. The VASC submission indicated that human
evaluation of decisions should occur prior to client notification.
It should be noted that the department's submission did not provide
information on whether automatic notifications will indicate if a decision is
the result of a computer or human delegate.
The VASC also argued that in the event of computer error or malfunction,
computerised decisions have the potential to cause a backlog of work, as seen
at Centrelink, where clients experienced significant delays in having their
The Victims of Abuse in the Australia Defence Force Association (VAADFA)
expressed concern DVA may be proposing to use a system akin to Centrelink's
automated debt recovery system.
The Department of Human Services was recently criticised for removing human
oversight of Centrelink's debt processing, with media reporting that the
controversial automated debt recovery program had caused thousands of
Australians to be incorrectly identified as owing debts. The issues prompted
the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman to launch an independent investigation
into the scheme.
According to VAADFA, computerisation of decisions could also potentially
lead to an increase in errors and place greater pressure on the Veterans'
VAADFA noted that many of DVA's decisions and determinations are complex and rely
on human assessment. It argued that computerised systems may overlook, for
example, the nuances of Federal Court decisions if they are given
responsibility for assessing veterans' eligibility for entitlements.
The VASC also sought clarification regarding the 'own motion' power of
the Repatriation Commission and the MRCC to review decisions. It questioned why
the commissions should have power to substitute a decision if the client had
not requested review of a decision, and requested information on when the
mechanism would be triggered.
Support for the changes
Other submitters to the inquiry supported the changes, arguing that
improvements in technology have greatly improved public administration.
Submitters argued that DVA currently lacks the resources and computer systems
it needs to function effectively, and that veterans, families and staff alike
would benefit from ICT upgrades.
The Commonwealth Ombudsman's submission was in favour of an increased
use of automated decision making technology. It drew attention to comments
delivered by the Ombudsman's office at the 2007 launch of the Better Practice
Guide on Automated Assistance in Administrative Decision Making, which were
made in relation to DVA's Compensation Claims Processing System at the time.
The submission argued that system change had resulted in reducing the number of
decision making officers, delivered an increase in finalising claims in a
reduced timeframe, and improved the consistency of DVA's decision making.
The Ombudsman argued that overall, automated decision technology has
'significantly improved the quality, efficiency and accountability of public
administration and will continue to do so as long as agencies are prepared to
design an agile and user centred process and invest ongoing financial and human
The Ombudsman confirmed that it is undertaking an investigation into the
Centrelink debt recovery scheme and that the findings of the investigation will
be published in 2017. It offered suggestions to DVA on the implementation of
automated decision making which discussed better practice principles regarding
accuracy, system errors, legality, usability, integration, staff training and
The Ombudsman's submission also noted that DVA's systems will be
integrated with a number of other agency systems, including the Department of
Defence, and emphasised that any automated system will require flexibility to
allow for changes to legislation, policy or business rules.
The War Widows' Guild of Australia was supportive of the intention of
the bill and argued that DVA requires a comprehensive upgrade of its ICT
systems. It stressed that veterans and families should be afforded the most up
to date systems, and that streamlining claims processing would ultimately be of
benefit to veterans. Furthermore, it argued that digitalisation of DVA's
systems could potentially lead to a less stressful environment for staff,
veterans and families.
The Vietnam Veterans Association agreed that delays in decision making
by DVA delegates could be improved by the use of automated computer systems. It
argued the department's current ICT systems are unable to manage the complexity
of multiple legislations, and noted that the 'good intent of management is
hampered by lack of resources'.
The VASC also highlighted that electronic processes could potentially be
used to clarify complex decisions, explain the methodology used for
compensation, and clear some of the confusion around offset provisions which
can be difficult for both applicants and decision makers.
At the committee's hearing, the Privacy Commissioner recommended that
the department consider conducting a privacy impact assessment to identify and
minimise the privacy impacts of the bill:
The [Office of the Information Commissioner] OAIC
acknowledges that automated decision making is likely to provide a number of
advantages for DVA and for Australians accessing those services, particularly
in regard to efficiencies. However, I would encourage consideration to be given
at an early stage to ensuring that any privacy impacts are identified and
minimised to the extent possible and that an integrated approach to privacy
management is taken.
If it has not already done so, the Department of Veterans'
Affairs could conduct a privacy impact assessment of the amendments proposed by
the bill that have privacy implications, to identify and assess the privacy
risks associated with the amendments. A privacy impact assessment is a written
assessment which may assist in identifying the privacy impacts of the proposal
and provides an opportunity to set out any recommendations for managing,
minimising or eliminating those impacts.
Public interest disclosure
The handling and disclosure of an individual's personal information is
regulated under the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act). The Privacy Act
includes thirteen Australian Privacy Principles which outline how Australian
Government agencies must handle, use, and manage private personal information.
One of the purposes of the Privacy Act is to maintain Australia’s
obligations to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR). Of particular relevance here is article 17 which restricts arbitrary
interference with a person's right to privacy.
Schedule 2 of the bill raises human rights issues as it engages with article 17
of the ICCPR.
Schedule 2 contains two types of information sharing provisions which
will enable the Secretary of DVA to share information under certain limited
circumstances. The first of the two proposed provisions relates to public
interest disclosures and will enable the Secretary to 'disclose information
about a case or class of cases to such persons and for purposes the Secretary
determines, if he or she certifies it is necessary in the public interest to do
so'. This power is accompanied by a number of safeguards, including:
the Secretary must act in accordance with rules that the Minister
makes about how the power is to be exercised;
the powers of the Minister and the Secretary cannot be delegated
before disclosing personal information about a person, the
Secretary must notify the person in writing about his or her intention to
disclose the information, give the person reasonable opportunity to make
written comments on the proposed disclosure and consider any written comments
made by the person; and
unless the Secretary complies with these requirements before
disclosing personal information, he or she commits an offence, punishable by 60
Examples of appropriate public
Legislative constraints on the release of information can potentially
hinder a department's duty of care to its clients. In its submission, the
department provided five examples to assist the committee understand the
circumstances in which it might be necessary to release information about a
threat to life;
threat to health or welfare;
provide inappropriate practices;
misinformation in the community; and
APS Code of Conduct investigations.
For example in the second scenario, if a client has chosen not to share
significant health information with an external agency and withholding this
information will place the client at risk of not receiving appropriate
treatment, the department will be able to provide information about the client with
the external agency. Or in the third scenario, if the department becomes aware
that a contracted service provider is charging clients higher rates for
treatment than the negotiated price, it will be able to advise clients of the
inappropriate practices of the provider.
Arguments against the changes
During the inquiry concerns were raised regarding the bill's proposed
public interest disclosure provision. These include that every individual has a
right to privacy; no adequate reasons have been provided as to why it may be
necessary for DVA to release personal details of veterans; the provision may
deter personnel from providing complete medical information; and the existing safeguards
contained in the bill are weak.
The VASC argued that the examples of the circumstances in which it might
be appropriate for the Secretary to disclose information appear to be an
'open-ended statement' subject to interpretation. It argued that clinical
information collected on its own clients are only released with the veteran's
consent and the department's public interest disclosures should be subject to
the same arrangement.
VAADFA argued that the proposed provision could potentially deter
personnel from disclosing medical information to health care providers if they
are apprehensive about future disclosures of their personal information.
It also expressed dissatisfaction with the safeguards incorporated in
the bill which stipulate requirements the Secretary must meet in order to
exercise the public interest disclosure power, and argued that:
the Secretary is not adequately bound to respect objections
received from the person about whom the disclosure is being made;
the penalty prescribed in the bill is not an adequate deterrent; and
there is ambiguity regarding who is required to pay the penalty.
Support for the changes
The department raised a number of issues in support of the bill,
including that similar provisions are in operation at the Department of Human
Services; it will enable DVA to fulfil duty of care obligations to clients; it
is important to correct misinformation in the community; and there are adequate
safeguards in place to prevent abuse of this power.
The department also highlighted that public interest disclosure
provisions have been in successful operation in the Department of Human
Services for the past 17 years. It argued that DVA's proposed public interest
disclosure provisions are modelled on those contained in the Social Security
Administration Act 1999, and that those provisions have never been
the subject of concern for the Privacy Commissioner.
According to the department, the public interest disclosure provision
will enable DVA to fulfil its duty of care to clients. By allowing it to
provide information to relevant authorities under appropriate circumstances,
the department will be able to more effectively prevent harm or disadvantage to
The department acknowledged community concerns regarding the proposed power
to correct misinformation but asserted that it is important to correct
misconceptions about the department's services. It argued that misinformation
about the department's services can cause clients unnecessary concern and
potentially dissuade veterans from accessing the services they require. It pointed
out that following the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights inquiry
into the Social Security (Public Interest Certificate Guidelines) (DSS)
Determination 2015, the committee concluded that 'public interest
certificate determinations are likely to be compatible with the right to
During the hearing, the Privacy Commissioner noted that the protection
of an individual's privacy through the protection of personal information is
not an absolute right but must be balanced with the broader interests of the
community and allow government agencies to carry out their activities:
Our approach in that context is generally to advise agencies
to ensure that any changes that authorise a disclosure of personal information
by invoking an exception in the Privacy Act are reasonable, necessary and
proportionate to the expected benefits.
The department's submission argued that the bill contains adequate
safeguards which control how the public interest disclosure power will be
exercised. In addition to the bill's specific safeguards, it pointed out that the
Privacy Act and the Australian Public Service Code of Conduct provide
additional protections. It argued that client information is handled in compliance
with both the Privacy Act and the Code of Conduct and that staff may face
sanctions and the department fined penalties if a client's information is
Persons concerned about disclosures also have the option to lodge a complaint with
the Privacy Commissioner or apply for judicial review under the Administrative Decisions
(Judicial Review) Act 1977.
With regards to the Minister's rules on the exercise of the Secretary's
power, the department advised that the final rules were not able to be provided
to the committee within the inquiry's timeframe but that Parliament will have
an opportunity to consider them once they are drafted as a disallowable
However, during the committee's hearing, DVA indicated that it could provide a
draft copy of the rules to the committee to consider in camera.
During the hearing, the Privacy Commissioner suggested that the
department consult with the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Office of the
Australian Information Commissioner on the content of the Minister’s rules
before they are finalised and introduced in the Parliament:
...my office, should the bill proceed as it currently is, would
like the opportunity to be consulted on the draft rules to be made by the
minister under the public interest disclosure provision. Those draft rules will
go to many of the areas where the privacy principles currently apply, and if
the bill proceeds and then the APP 6 does not apply to those disclosures then I
think we could provide some useful guidance in tightening up those particular
The second of the two proposed provisions in Schedule 2 will enable information
sharing between DVA and the Department of Defence.
The proposed provision will enable the Military Rehabilitation and
Compensation Commission (MRCC) to share information with the Secretary of
Defence and Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) under limited circumstances.
Currently, the MRCC is able to provide information about serving members
to the Secretary of Defence and the CDF under the Military Rehabilitation
and Compensation Act 1988 (MRCA) and the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986
(VEA) but not under the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRCA).
The SRCA was re-enacted as the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation
(Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA) and modified to only apply to
members of the Defence Force and their dependents.
This bill will enable the MRCC to provide claims information to the Secretary
of Defence and the CDF irrespective of which legislation the member's claim
Under the changes, the MRCC will only be able to provide information to
the Secretary of Defence if it is related to litigation involving an injury,
disease or death in relation to which a claim has been made under the DRCA;
monitoring, or reporting on, the performance of the Defence Force in relation
to occupational health and safety; or monitoring the cost to the Commonwealth of
injuries, diseases or deaths of employees, in relation to which claims have
been made under the DRCA.
Where a determination relates to liability or an injury, disease, death,
or the impairment of a person, the MRCC will be required to provide a copy of
the determination to the CDF. Currently the MRCC must provide a copy of a defence-related
claim to the relevant service chief of the claimant; however there is no
provision that enables the MRCC to provide a copy of the determination.
Arguments against the changes
A number of concerns were raised in opposition to the bill's proposed
information sharing provision. In particular, that allowing DVA to provide
personal information of current members to Defence may adversely affect a
claimant's career, dissuade members from sharing medical information with
health professionals, and potentially delay valid claims from being made to
The VASC argued that information sharing between the departments should
be restricted and contained to protect the claimants' military careers. It
argued that information sharing should be carried out in such a way that the
claimant's opportunities for training courses, promotion or deployment would
not be adversely affected, and suggested that data sharing should not stipulate
the degree of impairment, or any amount of compensation paid to the claimant,
but should only reflect whether liability is accepted or not accepted under the
VAADFA argued that the bill's proposed information sharing provision has
the potential to prevent personnel from sharing medical information with health
professionals. It argued that allowing the MRCC to share personal medical
information of serving members with the CDF places increased pressure on
members to withhold information from their health care provider in order to demonstrate
VAADFA argued that members can potentially face repercussions in their
careers due to the continuing stigma around mental health in the Australian
Defence Force. As a consequence, members may not receive appropriate treatment
or be discouraged from making claims with DVA until after they discharge. VAADFA
highlighted that due to the Statement of Principles, which requires that an
injury be reported within a specified time, a valid claim could be rendered invalid
if a member chooses to deliberately delay their claim.
Support for the changes
The DVA submission argued that the provision will apply consistency
across the various Acts; enhance the CDF's duty of care to members in
deployment operations; promote healthier work practices and reduce compensation
claims; and ensure health treatments outside of Defence arrangements are
According to DVA, the bill will apply consistency across the Acts by
aligning the information sharing provisions in the DRCA with the existing
provisions in the MRCA. It argued that the MRCC already uses this power in
relation to claimants under the MRCA and argued that '[i]t is anomalous that
crucial work health and safety information can only be provided on the basis of
DVA pointed out that the CDF has a duty of care to members, especially
those deployed in an operational context. It argued that the proposed
information sharing provision will enhance the CDF's ability to exercise
appropriate duty of care, and explained that:
...it is important that the Chief of the Defence Force knows
whether deployed members on overseas missions have any mental health
conditions, such as PTSD. If these conditions are unknown, they could imperil
the member and their unit. This could also provide information or a flag as to
the mental health education, tools and support the individual and their family
In his second reading speech, the Minister for Veterans' Affairs noted
that '[i]t is important that the Secretary of the Department of Defence and the
Chief of the Defence Force are able to receive the same sort of information
about all serving members, particularly in the context of monitoring
occupational health and safety or for monitoring the cost to the Commonwealth
of a service injury or a service disease'.
DVA pointed out the bill's information sharing provision will help to
reduce injuries by promoting healthier work practices. It argued that allowing
the department to provide information to Defence will ensure that occupational
health and safety is monitored, unsafe work practices are identified and
corrective action taken if required. DVA argued that the information will help determine
whether adjustments to equipment or training are required and in turn reduce future
claims for compensation.
Information sharing will ensure that health treatments outside of
Defence arrangements are also monitored. DVA argued that access to certain
treatments may be limited for personnel on seagoing vessels and that providing
information to Defence on treatments sought can lead to improved outcomes for
both the individual and the ADF more broadly.
The department also argued that the proposed provisions in the DRCA achieve
the same objective as the existing provisions in the MRCA. It noted there are
pathways available to individuals who are concerned that information has been
inappropriately shared such as lodging a free complaint with the Office of the
Australian Information Commissioner or applying to the Federal Court of
Australia or the Federal Circuit Court for review if the response from the
commissioner is unsatisfactory.
The committee is of the view that the benefits of the bill's amendments
to veterans and ADF personnel far outweigh the concerns raised in some
The committee acknowledges concerns regarding computerisation of
decision making, in particular that similar issues from the Centrelink debt
recovery program may arise. However, the committee notes the assurances
provided by the department that the computerised system will not be used for
debt recovery-related purposes. The committee is also satisfied that the
department is aware of the limitations of technology and will undertake
appropriate test and evaluation before launching ICT upgrades.
The committee anticipates that computerising some decisions will improve
efficiency and free up considerable resources. The committee expects that the
changes will benefit veterans and their families as well as reduce pressure on
DVA staff. The committee supports the department's intention to improve
services to veterans by incorporating modern technology and practices.
The committee supports the intent of the proposed public interest
disclosure provision and notes that a similar power has been in operation at
DHS for some time without cause for concern. The committee is assured that this
amendment will help DVA fulfil its duty of care obligations to clients and
ultimately prevent harm or disadvantage in the community.
The committee is reassured that the power of the Secretary will be
exercised in accordance with appropriate safeguards, and that the Minister's
rules will augment these protections. The committee anticipates that the
Minister's rules will sufficiently limit the circumstances under which a public
interest disclosure can be made but withholds further comment until a final instrument
is available for consideration.
The committee notes Minister Tehan's correspondence informing the
Scrutiny of Bills Committee of his proposal to move government amendments to
revise the wording of the duty on the Minister to make rules regarding
the exercise of the Secretary's public interest disclosures, as suggested by
The committee agrees with the Privacy Commissioner's suggestion that DVA
consult with the OAIC and the Commonwealth Ombudsman to seek guidance on the drafting
of the Minister's regulations before they are introduced into Parliament.
The committee recommends that the Department of Veterans' Affairs
consult with the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Office of the Australian
Information Commissioner on the content of the Minister’s regulations before
they are finalised and introduced in the Parliament.
The committee agrees with the Privacy Commissioner's suggestion that DVA
undertake a privacy impact assessment to identify and manage privacy risks
associated with the bill, and that the completed assessment be published so the
public can view potential impacts arising from the proposal.
The committee recommends that the Department of Veterans' Affairs
undertake a privacy impact assessment of the regulations and that the completed
assessment be made public.
The committee also accepts that, given the sensitivities around the
public interest disclosure provisions included in the bill, the Minister
consider amending the bill to include a mandatory review of the implementation
of the legislation after two years.
The committee recommends that the bill be amended to include a
mandatory review of the implementation of the legislation and accompanying
regulations two years from the commencement date.
The committee acknowledges concerns regarding the bill's information
sharing provisions; however, it is satisfied that the amendment will not have
the unintended negative consequences raised in evidence. In particular, the
committee notes that personal information has been shared between departments
under the MRCA arrangements for some time with no cause for concern. The
committee is supportive of improvements to work health and safety and expects
the bill will assist the departments promote healthier work practices.
The committee commends the bill to the Senate.
The committee recommends that the bill be passed.
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