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In light of comments made today by Mr Alan Griffin MP, Shadow Minister for Consumer Protection and Consumer Health, the Department of the Environment and Heritage has decided to release the following text of an email to the Committee Secretary from the senior departmental officer who gave evidence to the Committee today:
Mr Michael McLean
Senate Environment, Communications, Information
Technology and the Arts Committee
Dear Mr McLean
I am writing to supplement evidence that I gave to the Committee this morning in relation to the Fuel Quality Standards Amendment Bill.
Senator O'Brien asked me several questions concerning a draft Regulatory Impact Statement that had been prepared by the Department of the Environment and Heritage. I have since had the opportunity to talk to other officers of the Department who provided briefing to the Minister's office, a Ministerial officer who received that advice, and to consult the Department's records concerning the draft RIS. I therefore wish to provide further information to supplement the evidence I gave to ensure that there is no misunderstanding.
The Department provided a draft RIS to the Minister in June 2003. The Minister was concerned that the length, complexity and relevance of the detailed material rendered the draft RIS unsatisfactory. The Minister was advised by departmental officers that there was insufficient time to redraft the RIS and to table the Bill before the Parliament rose for the winter recess. The Minister was also advised that a RIS was not a legal requirement. In the light of this advice the Minister agreed that the Bill should be introduced without an accompanying RIS.
Department of the Environment and Heritage
10 October 2003