I rise to speak to the ANZAC Day Commemoration (Veterans' Advisory Council) Amendment Bill currently before the council. On behalf of the opposition, I indicate that we will be supporting the bill.
The bill seeks to amend the ANZAC Day Commemoration Act 2005 to transfer the functions of the ANZAC Day Commemoration Council to the Veterans Advisory Council and the Minister for Veterans' Affairs. This was necessitated by the Premier's review into boards and committees, where the ADCC was slated for abolition. This makes sense as we approach the end of the centenary of the Great War and therefore a return to more regular levels of commemoration, which presumably cost less and require less attention and planning.
According to the government, the Crown Solicitor advised of the best course of action upon the dissolution of the ADCC. The ADCC had the power to appropriate funds from the ANZAC Day Commemoration Fund. This power will now be transferred to the minister acting on the advice of the Veterans Advisory Council. Once the bill is enacted, the minister will amend the terms of reference of the Veterans Advisory Council to include advice on the spending of fund moneys. All this seems quite straightforward. I have received a briefing from Rob Manton, the Director of Veterans SA, on the bill and I am satisfied this this new structure is fit for purpose.
My only concern is the ability of the current minister to properly administer the duties and responsibilities that the bill places on him. My concern is somewhat relieved by the fact that the Veterans Advisory Council will be providing advice, and I just hope their recommendations are followed closely without any autocratic or unilateral actions, which are customary with this minister. I commend the bill to the council.