Bills Digest No. 216  1997-98 Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (Consequential Amendments) Bill 1998


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

Passage History
Purpose
Background
Main Provisions
Endnotes
Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Passage History

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (Consequential Amendments) Bill 1998

Date Introduced: 8 April 1998

House: House of Representatives

Portfolio: Health and Family Services

Commencement: The Act will commence on the same day as the A facility licence will be issued under proposed section 20 of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 except for the amendments to that Act which commence either when the Act itself commences or when the Public Service Act 1998 commences, whichever is the later.

Purpose

To repeal those parts of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation Act 1987 which established the Nuclear Safety Bureau and the Safety Review Committee and enact transitional arrangements to effect the move to a single regulatory authority (the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency).

Background

This Bill is one of a package of three bills: the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Bill 1998, the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (Licence Charges) Bill 1998 and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (Consequential Amendments) Bill 1998. For a more thorough background on this Bill please refer to the Bills Digest on the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Bill 1998.

The Honourable Trish Worth MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Family Services made the announcement that the Government intended to enact legislation establishing the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) by 1 July 1998. ARPANSA will take over the monitoring of all Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation's nuclear and radiation facilities. The Nuclear Safety Bureau's Annual Report notes that the agency will 'be formed by combining the expertise and resources of the Nuclear Safety Bureau and the Australian Radiation Laboratory'(1) to:

  • 'Regulate activities within the Commonwealth which involve radiation and nuclear safety, most of which are not presently regulated;
  • Develop, jointly with the States and Territories, uniform radiation protection and nuclear safety controls throughout Australia, to protect workers and the public, including for research reactors, uranium mining and the management of radioactive waste;
  • Provide advice on radiation protection and nuclear safety to the Government and public[; and]
  • Undertake research and provide services of a high standard to ensure radiation protection and nuclear safety'.(2)

The Nuclear Safety Bureau was established in 1992 by amendments to the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation Act 1987. Its functions will now be taken over by ARPANSA.

Main Provisions

Schedule 1 - Amendments and transitional provisions

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation Act 1987

Item 1 repeals Part VI of the Act which deals with the Safety Review Committee. As a result the Safety Review Committee is abolished.

Existing section 31 of the Act prevents ANSTO from entering any contracts which exceed $1,000,000 without the approval of the Minister. Item 2 will increase this threshold to allow ANSTO to enter into contracts involving the payment or receipt by ANSTO of $5,000,000 without Ministerial approval.

Item 3 repeals Part VIIA of the Act which establishes the Nuclear Safety Bureau. As a result the Nuclear Safety Bureau is abolished.

Item 4 makes consequential amendments to paragraph 42(1)(b) to reflect the fact that Part VIIA will no longer exist.

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998

Items 5-6 make minor amendments to this proposed Act so as to allow the CEO of ARPANSA to delegate certain functions to employees of the Senior Executive Service (SES), acting SES or equivalent rank.

Part 2 - Transitional Provisions

As the Nuclear Safety Bureau (NSB) is being abolished and its functions being performed by the new body ARPANSA it is necessary to have in place transitional arrangements. Item 7 makes the Commonwealth the successor in law of the NSB and transfers the assets and liabilities of the NSB to the Commonwealth when this Bill commences.

Item 8 transfers the powers and functions that the Director of the NSB had to the new CEO of ARPANSA.

Item 9 provides that in the first six months of the operation of the proposed Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 applications for either a source licence or a facility licence are not accompanied by the usual prohibitions that the proposed Act will apply. For example, for a facility licence, an applicant who applies for a facility licence within that first six months is not barred from constructing, operating, owning or de-commissioning nuclear installations or radiation facilities without a facility licence until such time as their application is accepted or rejected.

With respect to a source licence an applicant who applies for a source licence is not restricted from dealing with either a controlled apparatus or controlled material or both until such time as their application for a source licence is accepted or rejected.

Endnotes

  1. Nuclear Safety Bureau, Annual Report 1996-97, 25.
  2. Ibid.

Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Susan Downing
15 May 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 1998

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, 1998.



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