This speech indicates the Liberal Party's support for the Occupational Therapy Practice Bill which repeals the current Occupational Therapy Practice Act.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: It gives me great honour to speak on behalf of the Liberal opposition and indicate that we do not have any amendments and that we will be happy to pass this bill forthwith. The bill repeals the current Occupational Therapy Practice Act and, as we have said quite repetitively in relation to a number of the health practitioner bills, follows the obligations under the national competition guidelines and the agreement and is based on the Medical Practice Act. It follows the design of bills which have already been through this place, including the Physiotherapy Bill, the Medical Practice Bill, the Nurses Bill and so forth. Therefore, a number of the provisions contained within it are very similar although, being a health professional, I place on the record that parliaments and government departments ought to be aware that each profession is unique in the way in which it operates with its philosophical backgrounds and so forth, and that we ought to be wary that one size does not fit for all the professions.
When professions raise particular issues, they ought to be well heeded. My understanding is that there are no unresolved issues in this bill as there were in previous bills when we have had to move amendments. Broadly speaking, the bill ensures that only qualified persons carry out the practice of occupational therapy, and with the changes to ownership laws that anyone who owns an occupational therapy practice has an accountability mechanism for the persons within that practice. This bill contains identical provisions to the other bills. If anyone is interested in these provisions, I would urge them to look at the Medical Practice Bill in particular and such prior health profession bills. I do note with some pleasure that the government has finally conceded in terms of ensuring that the balance of the OT board resides with the profession itself so that it has a majority on the board and therefore we do not need to have another battle. That has been included in the original bill and therefore we have not had to argue with the Minister for Health on that one this time. I conclude my remarks because I do not think any further comment is necessary.