CLIMATE CHANGE, public transport, health and education are all on Victorian Premier John Brumby’s legislative priority list, according to the 2008 Annual Statement of Government Intentions presented to Victorian Parliament last week.
Brumby says this is the first time in Victorian parliamentary history that the state government has laid bare in advance its legislative and policy agenda for the coming year.
He said that the introduction of the statement is the latest step in the state government’s longer-term plan to improve openness and accountability in Victoria, and he is now calling for public comment on the statement.
“The introduction of an annual statement of government intentions will go a long way towards making our representative democracy more of the kind of participatory democracy it needs to be to thrive in the 21st century,” Brumby said.
Set out in the statement are outlines of more than 60 Bills intended to be presented to Parliament this year, also identifying the ministers responsible for each Bill. According to Brumby, those ministers will be required to report on public comments when presenting each Bill to Parliament.
Priorities outlined in the statement include legislation to support the forthcoming national emissions trading scheme, and a new integrated Transport Act to support the accelerated implementation of a number of public transport projects. It also proposes a complete rewrite of the Health Act, and developing a blueprint for school reform and associated legislation focused on improving underperforming schools.
Brumby explained that the statement isn’t intended to be exhaustive. “This is not the definitive list of all legislation to go before the house in 2008. New challenges may well emerge during the course of the year that demand immediate action,” he said. “Likewise, existing issues may be deferred or brought forward as a result of community consultation.”