Bills Digest No. 143   1997-98 Primary Industries and Energy Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 3) 1997


Numerical Index | Alphabetical Index

WARNING:
This Digest was prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments. This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the Bill.

CONTENTS

Purpose
Background
Main Provisions
Amendments to the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Administration) Act 1992
Amendments to the Australian Horticultural Corporation Act 1987
Amendments to the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation Act 1980
Amendments to the Australian Wool Research and Promotion Organisation Act 1993
Amendments to the Dairy Produce Act 1986
Amendments to the Farm Household Support Act 1992
Amendments to the Fisheries Administration Act 1991
Amendments to the Horticultural Research and Development Corporation Act 1987
Amendments to the Pig Industry Act 1986
Amendments to the Primary Industries and Energy Research and Development Act 1989
Amendments to the Wheat Marketing Act 1989

Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Date Introduced: 3 December 1997

House: House of Representatives

Portfolio: Primary Industries and Energy

Commencement: Royal Assent

Purpose

The major amendment proposed by the Bill is to convert Farm Household Support loans to grants. The Bill also makes a number of amendments relating to the administration of statutory marketing authorities and research and development corporations. The major amendment removes the requirement for the Minister to approve the terms and conditions of employment of the managing director.

Background

As there is no central theme to the amendments proposed by the Bill, a brief background to each major amendment is outlined in the 'Main Provisions' sections of this Digest.

Main Provisions

Amendments to the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Administration) Act 1992

Item 1 of Schedule 1 of the Bill increases the number of directors which must be appointed to the National Registration Authority for Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals from 7 to 8.

Item 2 of Schedule 1 of the Bill repeals paragraph 14(2)(e) of the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Administration) Act 1992, which requires that one of the directors of the National Registration Authority for Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals have experience in occupational health and safety as on officer or employee of an organisation of employees, with a requirement that:

  • one director have experience in occupational health and safety; and
  • one director have experience in the development or administration of Commonwealth policy, or operation or management, as an officer or employee, of a statutory authority established under Commonwealth law.

Note: The rationale given by the Government in the Explanatory Memorandum for the proposed amendment to section 14 of the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Administration) Act 1992 is that it will provide a wider scope from which applicants with relevant experience can be considered for appointment as a director with experience in occupation health and safety.

It should be recognised that experience in occupational health and safety as an officer or employee of an organisation of employees generally means experience in occupational health and safety as an officer or employee of a union.

Amendments to the Australian Horticultural Corporation Act 1987

Item 3 of Schedule 1 of the Bill repeals section 10 of the Australian Horticultural Corporation Act 1987 which provides the Australian Horticultural Corporation (AHC) with export trading powers.

Note: The rationale given by the Government in the Explanatory Memorandum for the repeal of the AHC's export trading powers is that it gives effect to the recommendations of a 1993 Industry Commission review of the horticultural industry, 1994 Horticultural Task Force review, and exporter organisation views.

Item 4-6 of Schedule 1 of the Bill removes the requirement that the Minister:

  • approve the terms and conditions of appointment of the Managing Director of the AHC;
  • approve a grant of leave of absence of the Managing Director of the AHC; and
  • approve the terms and conditions of employment of a person appointed to act as Managing Director of the AHC.

Note: Neither the Explanatory Memorandum or Second Reading Speech indicate what positive outcome will eventuate from the proposed amendments. However, it may logically be assumed that the proposed amendments will result in less work for the Minister and administrative savings for the AHC.

Item 7 of Schedule 1 of the Bill prevents the AHC from delegating its power to determine the terms and conditions of appointment and grant a leave of absence of the Managing Director of the AHC.

Item 8 of Schedule 1 of the Bill reduces the number of 'other members' on the AHC Selection Committee from 7 to 3, 4 or 5.

Note: The function of the Corporation Selection Committee is to nominate, at the request of the Minister, persons to the Minister for appointment as nominated members of the Corporation. The rationale given by the Government in the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill for the proposed amendment is that '[I]n view of earlier amendments to the AHC Act to reduce the size of the AHC Board from nine to seven and the need to minimise costs, the industries participating in the AHC have requested the number of "other members" on the AHC Selection Committee be reduced. ... This would provide flexibility in the future in relation to the numbers on the AHC Selection Committee.'

The effect of the amendment proposed by item 10 of Schedule 1 is that a General Manager of a Product Board will not be able to be able to be employed by the AHC on terms and conditions more favourable than those applying to the Managing Director of the AHC.

Note: The subsection being amended currently provides that the AHC may not employ a General Manager of a Product Board on terms and conditions more favourable than those applying to the Managing Director of the AHC without Ministerial approval.

Item 11 of Schedule 1 prevents a Product Board from delegating its power to determine the terms and conditions of appointment and grant a leave of absence of a Managing Director.

Amendments to the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation Act 1980

Item 12 of Schedule 1 of the Bill removes the requirement that the Minister approve the terms and conditions of appointment of the principal employee (eg. the Managing Director) of the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation (AWBC).

Sections 40D and 40F of the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation Act 1980 specify when the description and presentation of wine is false or misleading. The effect of items 13 and 14 of the Bill is to allow the making of regulations relating to when the description and presentation of wine is false or misleading.

Item 16 of Schedule 1 prevents the AWBC from delegating its power to determine the terms and conditions of appointment of the principal employee.

Amendments to the Australian Wool Research and Promotion Organisation Act 1993

Item 17 of Schedule 1 of the Bill removes the requirement that the Minister approve the terms and conditions of appointment of the Managing Director of the Australian Wool Research and Promotion Organisation (AWRPO).

Items 18 and 19 remove the requirement that the Minister approve the terms and conditions of appointment of the Managing Director of AWRPO and that persons not be employed on terms and conditions more favourable than those applying to the Managing Director.

Item 20 of Schedule 1 prevents AWRPO from delegating its power to determine the terms and conditions of appointment of the Managing Director.

Amendments to the Dairy Produce Act 1986

Item 21 of Schedule 1 will allow persons aged sixty-five and over to be appointed as a member or a government member of the Board of the Australian Dairy Corporation (ADC).

Item 22 of Schedule 1 removes the requirement that the Minister approve the terms and conditions of appointment of the Managing Director of the ADC.

The repeal of subsection 50(4) of the Dairy Produce Act 1986 proposed by item 24 of Schedule 1, allows the ADC to determine the terms and conditions of employment of ADC staff without the current restriction that terms and conditions not be more favourable than those applicable to the Managing Director without Ministerial approval.

Amendments to the Farm Household Support Act 1992

The Farm Household Support Scheme came into operation in March 1993. It was intended to support those farm families who were unable to access commercial finance by providing income support for day-to-day living expenses. Since October 1993 demand for Farm Household Support (FHS) fell so that, by the end of 1995-96, the number of families being supported was less than fifty. In 1995-96 a total of $959, 000 was spent on FHS. The FHS was terminated in May 1997 by the Farm Household Support Amendment Act 1997.

As part of the Agriculture - Advancing Australia package of September 1997, the Government announced that it would not be seeking repayment of loans incurred under the FHS, that all outstanding loans would be converted to grants, and those farmers who have repaid their debts will be reimbursed.

The Government states in the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill that:

There is approximately $5.1 million in outstanding FHS debts. Annulling these debts will be a loss to Budget. Two FHS recipients had repaid their FHS debts and these people will be reimbursed.

Neither the Second Reading Speech to the Bill or the Explanatory Memorandum provide a rationale for the annulment of debts to the Commonwealth under the former FHS.

A new section 26 is substituted in the Farm Household Support Act 1992 by item 27 of Schedule 1 which provides that FHS is to be paid by way of grant. The previous section 26 provided that payment of FHS was to be made by way of loan.

The principal effect of new section 54, which is inserted in the Farm Household Support Act 1992 of item 32 of Schedule 1 of the Bill, is to provide for the conversion of FHS loans to grants.

Amendments to the Fisheries Administration Act 1991

Item 33 of Schedule 1 of the Bill removes the requirement that the Minister approve the terms and conditions of appointment of the Managing Director of Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA)

The effect of item 34 of Schedule 1 of the Bill is to allow, without the Ministers approval, the Chairperson of the AFMA to grant leave of absence to the Managing Director on such terms and conditions as determined by the AFMA.

Item 35 of Schedule 1 prevents the AFMA from delegating its power to determine the terms and conditions of appointment of the Managing Director.

Amendments to the Horticultural Research and Development Corporation Act 1987

Item 36 of Schedule 1 of the Bill removes the requirement that the Minister approve the terms and conditions of appointment of the Executive Director of the Horticultural Research and Development Corporation (HRDC).

Item 37 of Schedule 1 of the Bill allows, without ministerial approval, the Chairperson of the HRDC to grant leave of absence to the Executive Director of the HRDC on such terms and conditions as determined by the HRDC.

Item 38 of Schedule 1 of the Bill removes the requirement that the Minister approve the terms of appointment of persons appointed to act as Executive Director of the HRDC.

Item 39 of Schedule 1 of the Bill prevents the HRDC from delegating its power to determine the terms and conditions of appointment of the Executive Director.

Amendments to the Pig Industry Act 1986

Item 42 of Schedule 1 of the Bill removes the requirement that the Minister approve the terms and conditions of appointment of the principal employee of the Australian Pork Corporation (APC).

The effect of item 43 of Schedule 1 of the Bill is to prevent the APC from delegating its power to determine the terms and conditions of appointment of the principal employee.

Amendments to the Primary Industries and Energy Research and Development Act 1989

A new subsection 30A(2A) is inserted in the Primary Industries and Energy Research and Development Act 1989 by item 45 of Schedule 1 which reduces by $3.612 million the Commonwealth's research and development contribution to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation for the 1997-98 financial year. The rationale given by the Government in the Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill for the reduction is that:

[T]he saving is made possible because the Corporation's sound financial management has left it with substantial reserves. It is also considered that the saving will leave the Corporation with sufficient funds to continue operations and will not affect research priorities in the long term.

Item 46 of Schedule 1 of the Bill removes the requirement that the Minister approve the terms and conditions of appointment of Executive Directors appointed to the various research and development corporations established under the Primary Industries and Energy Research and Development Act 1989.

Item 47 of Schedule 1 of the Bill removes the requirement that the Minister approve the terms of appointment of persons appointed to act as Executive Directors of the various research and development corporations established under the Primary Industries and Energy Research and Development Act 1989.

The principal effect of item 48 of Schedule 1 of the Bill is to prevent the various research and development corporations from delegating there power to determine the terms and conditions of appointment of Executive Directors.

Amendments to the Wheat Marketing Act 1989

The principal effect of item 50 of Schedule 1 of the Bill is to prevent the Australian Wheat Board (AWB) from delegating its power to determine the terms and conditions of appointment of the Managing Director of the AWB.

The repeal of subsection 44(4) of the Wheat Marketing Act 1989, proposed by item 52 of Schedule 1 of the Bill, allows the AWB to determine the terms and conditions of employment of AWB staff without the current restriction that terms and conditions not be more favourable than those applicable to the Managing Director without Ministerial approval.

Item 53 of Schedule 1 of the Bill removes the requirement that the Minister approve the terms and conditions of appointment of the Managing Director of the AWB.

Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Ian Ireland
9 March 1998
Bills Digest Service
Information and Research Services

This paper has been prepared for general distribution to Senators and Members of the Australian Parliament. While great care is taken to ensure that the paper is accurate and balanced, the paper is written using information publicly available at the time of production. The views expressed are those of the author and should not be attributed to the Information and Research Services (IRS). Advice on legislation or legal policy issues contained in this paper is provided for use in parliamentary debate and for related parliamentary purposes. This paper is not professional legal opinion. Readers are reminded that the paper is not an official parliamentary or Australian government document.

IRS staff are available to discuss the paper's contents with Senators and Members
and their staff but not with members of the public.

ISSN 1328-8091
© Commonwealth of Australia 1997

Except to the extent of the uses permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without the prior written consent of the Parliamentary Library, other than by Members of the Australian Parliament in the course of their official duties.

Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1997.



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