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Transport Legislation Amendment Bill 2000
Date Introduced: 30 May 2000
House: House of Representatives
Portfolio: Transport and Regional Services
Commencement: Royal Assent, except Item 1 of
Schedule 2 (see below).
- postpone the commencement of provisions in the Transport
and Communications Legislation Amendment Act (No. 2) 1992
relating to dumping of sewage and disposal of garbage at sea in and
around the 'Antarctic Area'
- rectify incorrect cross references in the Australian
National Railways Commission Act 1983 and Australian
National Railways Commission Sale Act 1997, and
- amend the Australian National Railways Commission Sale Act
1997 to preserve certain provisions in the Australian
National Railways Commission Act 1983 relating to registration
of property transfers from the Commission.
This Bill contains two Schedules. The first
relates broadly to the 'Madrid Protocol' and the second relates to
the sale of Australian National Railways (AN). The amendments
relating to the 'Madrid Protocol' were contained in the Transport
and Territories Legislation Amendment Bill 1999.(1) The
amendments relating to the sale of AN were introduced late into the
Senate as Government amendments to that Bill.(2)
However, the Bill was delayed in Committee stage as a result of
opposition to its Schedules 2 and 3 (which sought to make changes
in relation to industrial disputes in Christmas Island and Cocos
The 'Madrid Protocol'
Transport and Territories
Legislation Amendment Bill 1999
The Transport and Territories Legislation
Amendment Bill 1999 proposed to amend 5 existing Acts and to
correct minor drafting errors in another 6 Acts.
The Bill sought to amend the Transport and
Communications Legislation Amendment Act (No.2) 1992. This Act
contains provisions(3) designed to enable Australia to
legally enforce its obligations under Annexe IV(4) of
the 1991 Madrid Protocol on Environmental Protection to the
Antarctic Treaty (the Madrid Protocol). These provisions were to
commence on a 'date to be fixed by proclamation, being the day on
which the Protocol...enters into force'.(5) However,
Japan 'unexpectedly' ratified the Protocol on 14 December 1997,
which triggered its entry into force on 14 January 1998. As there
were no meetings of the Executive Council in this time no
proclamation could be made on or before 14 January. The relevant
provisions of the 1992 Act have therefore remained inoperative.
Given that Australia ratified the Madrid Protocol in 1994, it could
be argued that Australia has been in technical breach of its
international obligations since 1998 by failing to ensure that it
could effectively enforce the terms of Annexe IV.
Transport and Communications
Legislation Amendment Act (No. 2) 1992
Section 2(6) of the Transport and
Communications Legislation Amendment Act (No. 2) 1992 (the
Amending Act) currently provides that amendments to the
Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act
1983 (the Pollution Act) relating to the Madrid Protocol will
commence on the day on which the Madrid Protocol 'enters into
force'. The relevant amendments are contained in the following
provisions of the Act:
- s 30(3) of the Amending Act amends the definitions provision (s
3) of the Pollution Act to incorporate definitions of 'Antarctic
Area' and 'Madrid Protocol';
- ss 36-42 insert 'Division 1-Discharge of sewage in the
Antarctic Area' into Part IIIB of the Pollution Act. These
provisions seek to implement Annex IV of the Madrid Protocol which
regulate the discharge of sewage and garbage within and beyond the
'Antarctic Area'. Section 36 provides that discharge of sewage in
the 'Antarctic Area' is lawful if it is done in an emergency or in
a controlled fashion.(6) Sections 37-41 incorporate
references to the 'Madrid Protocol' into provisions dealing with
sewage discharge outside the 'Antarctic Area'. Section 41 regulates
the disposal of garbage, allowing discharge of food waste if done
in a controlled fashion.(7)
- s 44(4) inserts the Madrid Protocol into the Schedule of the
Sale of Australian
Australian National Railways
Commission Act 1983
Part VA of the Australian National Railways
Commission Act 1983 (AN Act) provides for the winding down of
the operations of the Commission
prior to the Commission being
abolished by the repeal of the Act. Section 67AZR of that part
allows the Commonwealth Minister for Finance to enter into an
agreement with South Australia that terminates or varies agreements
contained in a number of Acts, including the 'Port Augusta to
Whyalla Railway Agreement Act 1970'. In the Port Augusta to Whyalla
Railway Agreement the Commonwealth undertook to build and maintain
a rail link and associated public works between Port Augusta and
Whyalla. The State agreed to provide certain raw materials.
The reference to the 'Port Augusta to Whyalla
Railway Agreement Act 1970' is an error - it should read the
Port Augusta to Whyalla Railway Act 1970.
Australian National Railways
Commission Sale Act 1997
Sections 67AE and 67AM of the Australian
National Railways Commission Sale Act 1997 (AN Sale Act)
provide for the transfer of assets from the Commission. These
sections allow the Minister for Finance to transfer, by
declaration, property interests (and restrictions) associated with
the Commission. Under section 67AZJ, interests transferred by
virtue of the declarations may be registered without any further
formal legal processes.(8)
In order for the sale to proceed, it is
desirable that these transfer provisions be preserved.
Schedule 1 amends the
Transport and Communications Legislation Amendment Act (No.2)
1992. The changes (originally proposed by the 1999 Bill) are
intended to correct the potential difficulties created by the
unexpected entry into force of the Madrid Protocol.
Item 1 omits from s 2(6) of
that Act reference to the day on which the 'Madrid Protocol' comes
into force, leaving the commencement of the Act to be fixed by
Proclamation. Item 2 adds a caveat to s 2(6) such
that ss 30(3), 36-42 and 44(4) will otherwise commence within 6
months of the commencement of the Transport Legislation
Amendment Act 2000.
Schedule 2 amends the AN Act
and the AN Sale Act.
Item 1 corrects references to
the Port Augusta to Whyalla Railway Act 1970 in the AN
Act. (It is taken to have commenced immediately after the
commencement of Schedule 1 of the AN Sale Act.) Item
3 corrects a similar inaccurate reference in Schedule 3 of
the AN Sale Act. Item 2 inserts a new
Clause 4A into the AN Sale Act which preserves the
operation of 67AZJ (67AE and 67AM).
- See Transport and Territories Legislation Amendment Bill 1999,
Bills Digest No 98, 1999-2000 at http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/bd/1999-2000/2000BD098.htm
- See Senator Sue Mackay, Senate, Debates, 9 May 2000,
p. 13616 at http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/dailys/ds090500.pdf
- See sections 36-44 Transport and Communications Legislation
Amendment Act (No.2) 1992.
- Annexe IV deals with the prevention of ship-based marine
pollution, especially sewage and garbage. A full text of the Annexe
can be found at http://www.antcrc.utas.edu.au/opor/Treaties/madprot2.html.
- Subsection 2(6) Transport and Communications Legislation
Amendment Act (No.2) 1992.
- That is, discharge at a prescribed rate, from a holding tank
beyond 12 nautical miles from land or ice shelf.
- That is, disposal of ground food waste beyond 12 nautical miles
from land or ice shelf.
- That is 'without any conveyance, transfer or assignment'.
23 June 2000
Bills Digest Service
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