Bills Digest No. 15 2002-03
Australian Heritage Council (Consequential and
Transitional Provisions) Bill 2002
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
Contact Officer & Copyright Details
Australian Heritage Council
(Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill
27 June 2002
House: House of Representatives
Portfolio: Environment and Heritage
operational aspects of the Bill commence at the same time as
schedule 1 to the Environment and Heritage Legislation Amendment
Bill (No.1) 2002.
To repeal the Australian Heritage Commission
Act 1975 and establish transitional arrangements in relation
to the proposed new Commonwealth heritage regime.
The Australian Heritage Council (Consequential
and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2002 (the Bill) is part of a
package of three Bills (the Heritage Bills) designed to replace the
Australian Heritage Commission Act 1975.
Further background is contained in the Bills
Digest to the main Bill of the three, Environment and Heritage
Legislation Amendment Bill (No.1) 2002.
Item 1 repeals the
Australian Heritage Commission Act 1975.
Item 2 repeals existing
subsection 9(3) of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999 (EPBCA). Subsection 9(3) provides that a
decision or a granting of an approval under the EPBCA does not
constitute an action under section 30 of the Australian
Heritage Commission Act 1975.(1) Item
1 makes subsection 9(3) redundant.
Item 7 removes reference to the
Australian Heritage Commission Act 1975 in subsection 6(3)
of the Regional Forests Agreements Act 2002. Again,
item 1 makes the subsection 6(3) reference
Item 8 amends paragraph 14(b)
of the Resource Assessment Commission Act 1989. Paragraph
14(b) currently requires certain persons - namely the presiding
members of the Australian Heritage Commission (the Commission) the
Australian Science, Technology and Engineering Council and the
Industries Assistance Commission - to be consulted about who should
be appointed as a Special Commissioner for Resource Assessment
Commission (RAC) inquiries. Item 8 deletes the
reference to the Commission, since this body will be effectively be
abolished by item 1. Interestingly, the body that
is to replace the Commission - the similarly sounding Australian
Heritage Council - is not substituted. Rather, it is proposed that
it will be the Secretary of the Commonwealth Department
administering the EPBCA that will have to be consulted. The
question may however be somewhat moot as there has been no RAC
inquiry for ten years.
Item 11 substitutes a new
version of existing section 31 Resource Assessment Commission
Act 1989. Section 31 currently requires the (Australian
Heritage) Commission to give evidence to any Resource Assessment
Commission inquiry on a matter relating to the Register of the
National Estate. The effect of item 11 is that it
will be the Secretary of the Department administering the EPBCA, or
a Departmental employee authorised by the Secretary, that is
required to give evidence on heritage values. As for item
8, it is notable that Australian Heritage Council, is
given no statutory role.
Item 3 provides that any
rights, properties, assets, debts, liabilities or obligations of
the Australian Heritage Commission become vested in the
Commonwealth upon the Bill coming into force.
Item 4 allows for the
registration by the relevant State or Territory's land titles
office of the Commonwealth's right, title or interest in any land
vested in it as a result of item 3. The Minister
must provide written certification of the vesting in order for
Commonwealth's right, title or interest to be registered.
Item 5 is similar to
item 4 but deals with assets other than land. In
this case, registration would be by an 'assets official'. An
'assets official' is defined in item 5 as the
'person or authority who, under a law of the Commonwealth, a State
or a Territory, under a trust instrument or otherwise, has
responsibility for keeping a register in relation to assets of the
Item 6 provides that the
Lands Acquisition Act 1989 does not apply to anything done
under Schedule 2. Such a provision commonly
appears in legislation dealing with the sale of Commonwealth assets
or the winding up of Commonwealth statutory
Item 7 exempts the Commonwealth
from having to pay any State or Territory stamp duty or other tax
as a result of the vesting or transfer of an asset or liability
under Schedule 2.
Item 8 relates to any Court
proceedings involving the Australian Heritage Commission at the
time the Commission is abolished by item 1. In
such cases, the Commonwealth is substituted as the relevant party
in place of the Australian Heritage Commission.
Section 516 of the Environment Protection
and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 requires the
Environment Secretary to prepare an annual report on the operation
of that Act. Item 9 provides that this report must
include a report on the Australian Heritage Commission for the
period from the last July 1 before the Bill commences to the date
the Bill commences.
Item 10 is a standard item
allowing regulations to be made, including to provide for
arrangements to deal 'with any issues of a transitional nature
arising as a result of the repeal of the Australian Heritage
Commission Act 1975'.
- The effect of subsection 9(3) is that a decision or a granting
of an approval under the EPBCA would not trigger the
Commonwealth's obligation under the Australian Heritage
Commission Act 1975 to avoid adversely affecting a place on
the Register of the National Estate unless there is 'no reasonable
or prudent alternative'.
- For example, the Airports (Transitional) Act 1996
which deals in part with the transfer of assets from the old
Federal Airports Corporation to the Commonwealth.
23 September 2002
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.
© Commonwealth of Australia 2002
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
Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library,
Back to top