A photo taken on an expedition to Antarctica, Homeward Bound, from a zodiac in Curtiss Bay. Gentoo penguins are on an iceberg.
A photo taken on an expedition to Antarctica, Homeward Bound, from a zodiac in Curtiss Bay. Gentoo penguins are on an iceberg. supplied

Hinkler MP warms up for new Canberra role

HINKLER MP Keith Pitt has become the chairman of the Australian Antarctic Territory but he is yet uncertain what direction his role will take during the parliamentary term.

Last Friday Mr Pitt was announced as chairman of the Joint Standing Committee of the Capital and External Territories which includes Canberra, Norfolk Island, and Christmas Island.

But by far the largest area he chairs over is the 5.9 million square kilometres of the Australian Antarctic Territory, which is about 42 per cent of the landmass.

As a chairman of a parliamentary committee Mr Pitt is entitled to an additional $23,237 on top of his annual salary of $211,250.

As of yet there was no inquiry for the committee.

"The priorities and issues for inquiry for the Joint Standing Committee of the Capital and External Territories will be discussed at its next meeting," Mr Pitt said.

Mr Pitt said that committees were important because it allowed the public, interested groups and experts to make submissions on an issue that would then reach the relevant committee.

The concerns would then be placed on the public record.

The last week has been a good one for Mr Pitt, with an inquiry into nuclear power being approved by Energy Minister Angus Taylor.

Mr Pitt was a keen advocate for an inquiry since the election.

A spokeswoman for Pitt said there was no connection between the nuclear power inquiry and Mr Pitt's new role as a chairman in a different committee.

It was a matter of procedure for committees to be formed during each term of parliament.

A chairman did not need experience or knowledge about the subject they were chair of, the spokeswoman said.

There were currently 64 committees in the federal parliament and the chairman's role was to run the proceedings.


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