Queensland Law Society

President's Update

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Last Wednesday I attended a meeting of the Queensland Government’s Better Regulation Taskforce, the object of which is to look at regulatory issues that are burdensome or inhibit small business. The group is tasked with reporting on the ‘red, green and blue’ tape areas across at least three industry sectors each year.

Obviously this is a significant and ongoing task, and there is much work to be done on the regulations and ‘red tape’ that impact the bottom line of our members’ firms.

On Tuesday next week, I will be in Cairns to participate in a Small Business Champion roundtable on this issue, in particular how it can be made easier for small businesses to employ staff. Unfortunately this means that I will not be able to participate in the LawRight Queensland Legal Walk in Brisbane as Law Week gets under way.

On Thursday I attended the Downs & South West Law Association annual cocktail event in Toowoomba which, as always, was a delightful opportunity to mix with my colleagues.

On Friday I joined guests at the Environmental Defenders Office Queensland inaugural fundraising debate and art auction. This was a lot of fun, and the debate topic – ‘The End is Nigh’ – provided some spirited debate, particularly in light of the negative team’s assertion that, ‘with The Donald at the helm, we can all sleep easy!’

The debate was moderated by the Honourable Margaret McMurdo AC, and featured debaters Benedict Coyne, Murrawah Johnson and Sean Ryan (affirmative) against Justice Glenn Martin AM, Peta Stilgoe OAM, and Alan Wilson QC.

The event included the auction of 25 oil paintings from the Pumicestone Passage Collection by artist Lyn Graham and provided much-needed funds for EDO Qld.

On Monday I attended the Community Legal Centres Queensland Conference dinner at Surfers Paradise. While last month’s reversal of the proposed federal funding cuts was welcomed at the time, as yet there is still significant uncertainty on how and when funding will flow to the CLCs. We hope that the CLCs will have the resilience to continue their important work and that other significant programs are supported by the Government rather than diminished, as access to justice remains a critical right for all members of our community.

Last night’s Budget may have provided some of the answers, but at this stage we are still awaiting full details. I certainly welcome this afternoon’s announcement by the Queensland Attorney-General that the State Government will provide interim funding for CLCs while the Federal Government determines how funds will be allocated. Also see our media release.

We will have more to say on this soon.

Finally, I am looking forward to meeting local members in Cairns this Saturday at the Far North Queensland Law Association’s Carbolic Smoke Ball.

Christine Smyth

QLS president