Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Hairdressing Registration) Bill 2015

Written on the 5 May 2015


16 April 2015
COUNCIL  Second reading 

GEORGIE CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan)

I am pleased to rise this morning to speak on the Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Hairdressing Registration) Bill 2015. I am experiencing deja vu. I stood in this place last year and spoke on a similar bill introduced by the previous Minister for Health, Mr Davis, in relation to this very matter. I find it quite extraordinary, indeed hypocritical, to hear government members talk about the merits of reducing red tape and this bill being just one example of a large number of government initiatives that will reduce red tape. In fact we passed this piece of legislation in this chamber last year only to see it stalled and then blocked by the then opposition in the Legislative Assembly. That was a very unfortunate move by the then opposition. It constantly stalled the government process in the Assembly for political purposes. We understand how Labor operates. We are seeing it happen all over again in terms of getting good governance in this state.

Last year, when speaking on the similar bill, I talked about the enormous benefits it would provide to small businesses. As other speakers have rightly said, there are literally thousands of hairdressers in Victoria whose work contributes an enormous amount to the economy. As Ms Lovell pointed out, some of us spend more time in hairdressers than others. We are very good clients of various hairdressers. They represent small businesses participating in the larger economy of the state, and we need to support them in whatever capacity we can.

It was the previous government's view that this was one area that could benefit from the reduction of registration fees. It would streamline the process and make it far simpler for hairdressers to only have to pay a one-off fee, provided they are not undertaking procedures like tattooing or other invasive procedures that have potential health implications, such as transmitting hepatitis, HIV or other blood-borne viruses. Where it is just straight-out hairdressing and cosmetic make-up application, it is sensible that such businesses need only pay a one-off registration fee. Councils will continue to conduct inspections and administering registration, as they previously did.

I congratulate the former Minister for Health, Mr Davis, on initiating this sensible, common-sense initiative. In his contribution Mr Leane spoke about the common-sense approach taken by the previous government when it introduced legislation on this very issue last year, when those opposite supported this measure. As I said at the outset of my contribution, it was disappointing to see that legislation blocked in the Legislative Assembly by the then opposition. The then Leader of the Opposition, Daniel Andrews, blocked this common-sense legislation

Mrs Peulich That is because he does not have any.

Ms CROZIER That is quite right, Mrs Peulich. We are talking about benefits to the Victorian economy that will flow from a common-sense measure such as this. Yesterday we saw the government throw away hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayers money

Mrs Peulich Ideologically crazy.

Ms CROZIER Ideologically crazy. As I said in my statement earlier today, this is an ideologically driven government whose actions are going to have extensive ramifications for the Victorian economy for many years to come

Ms Mikakos interjected.

Ms CROZIER Ms Mikakos, your Labor government has a history of wasting taxpayers money, including on the northsouth pipeline. I will continue after lunch.

Business interrupted pursuant to standing orders.

 

. . . . . . . .

 

GEORGIE CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan)

Before question time I was speaking on the Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Hairdressing Registration) Bill 2015, which has been in effect reintroduced to the Parliament after a similar bill passed this house in June of last year.

I note the second-reading speech that has been incorporated in Hansard, contains similar words and sentiments to those contained in the Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Hairdressing Red Tape Reduction) Bill 2014, which was the bill introduced by the former coalition government and the former Minister for Health, Mr Davis. However, there are a couple of additional points I would like to make in concluding my contribution to this debate.

This bill is identical to the one introduced last year save for one amendment - which extends the time line. This delay puts an additional cost onto hairdressers. It is disappointing that the government has stalled in that respect.

I note there was much rhetoric in the second-reading speech about cutting red tape and supporting small business. I was recently doing some research and was alarmed to find an article in the Weekly Times indicating that there is great doubt over the future of Victoria's red tape commissioner. That is concerning for the Victorian community. The red tape commissioner was appointed by the former coalition government in January 2013. At that time the commissioner had a brief to find ways to make it easier for businesses to deal with the state's bureaucracy. I feel that this government is going to allow a ballooning of bureaucracy. With the doubt over the red tape commissioner's position, there is the potential for red tape to creep back into this government.

We know red tape costs small businesses time and money. When such effort is required to maintain the momentum and self-sufficiency of the economy, it would be a retrograde step for more bureaucracy and red tape to be introduced into our small business sector. The article I referred to stated that the reason the former coalition government appointed a red tape commissioner to look at state bureaucracy issues was that a report found that bureaucratic dealings cost 40 per cent of Australian businesses at least $10 000 a year. That is a huge impost on small business. It is a key figure for small business operators to be aware of so that they understand the potential for such costs.

The coalition government wanted to do as much possible to support small businesses, and it will continue to advocate on their behalf. I am pleased this bill has been introduced to the house. I commend the former health minister, Mr Davis, for introducing it in the first place. He identified that it was a common-sense approach. I am disappointed that there has been a delay which has incurred a cost to hairdressers and small businesses.

I would like some clarification about whether the government will be continuing with the red tape commissioner, noting the vital role of that position. I am sure that will come up in future debates. It is an important position and one we should look at. When the federal government came to power there were something like 19 000 pieces of red tape that had crept in during the time of the Rudd-Gillard governments. Labor governments certainly have form in tying businesses up in red tape. That is not the intention of any Liberal or coalition policy.

This bill is one move that will reduce red tape. I commend the former government for identifying the issue, dealing with it and bringing it to the fore. It was a pity that the bill did not pass the Legislative Assembly last year. At that time the then opposition was completely irresponsible in its dealings in that house. It could not let a simple bill like this go through. That demonstrates what the opposition of the time, led by Daniel Andrews, was up to. It had a clear motive to highlight a perception of chaos.

I note that in the 57th Parliament something like 336 pieces of legislation were passed by the coalition government and during the 56th Parliament around 340 pieces of legislation were passed. A similar amount of legislation was passed during the 57th Parliament despite the chaos caused on the floor of the house by the then opposition, led by Daniel Andrews, which led to a perception that nothing was being done. In fact it was quite the opposite case. A significant amount of legislation went through and significant reform was undertaken around the state.

This very simple bill was blocked by Labor, which says a huge amount. It is disingenuous for Labor to be taking credit for this bill in its second-reading speech. Nevertheless, the bill is now before the house, and I wish it a speedy passage.

 

 


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