Joint Standing Committee on National Capital and External Territories
Inquiry into the Territories Law Reform Bill 2010
On 18 March 2010, the Senate referred the Territories Law Reform Bill 2010 to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories for inquiry and report by 11 May 2010.
The Territories Law Reform Bill 2010 amends the Norfolk Island Act 1979 to implement significant reforms aimed at improving governance structures and strengthening accountability mechanisms for Norfolk Island. In relation to Norfolk Island, the Bill proposes the following key governance, financial and administrative reforms including:
- prescribing a process for selecting and dismissing a Chief Minister and Ministers, as well as determining their roles and responsibilities;
- establishing a no-confidence motion process for the Chief Minister;
- allowing the Norfolk Island Administrator to access a greater range of advice when presented with Bills for assent under schedule 2 of the Norfolk Island Act;
- allowing the Governor-General and the Minister responsible for Territories to take a more active role in the introduction and passage of Norfolk Island legislation;
- establishment of a customised and proportionate financial framework which provides for the responsible management of public money and public property, preparation of budgets, financial reporting, annual reports and procurement;
- the appointment by the Commonwealth of a Commonwealth Financial Officer for Norfolk Island should this be required;
- the appointment of the Commonwealth Auditor-General to conduct audits of the Norfolk Island Administration’s financial statement;
- amendments to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act which will confer on the AAT merits review jurisdiction for specified decisions under Norfolk Island legislation;
- amendments to the Freedom of Information Act to apply that Act to Norfolk Island;
- the Commonwealth Ombudsman will assume the function of the Norfolk Island Ombudsman under Norfolk Island legislation; and
- Norfolk Island public sector agencies will be required to adhere to the Information Privacy Principles in the same manner as Australian government public sector agencies.
The Bill also amends the Christmas Island Act 1958 and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Act 1955 to provide a vesting mechanism for powers and functions under Western Australian laws applied in the Indian Ocean Territories.
A copy of the Bill and its Explanatory Memorandum are available online.
The Committee invites interested persons and organisations to make submissions addressing the terms of reference by Wednesday 7 April 2010. Please refer to our brochure called preparing a submission for more information.
In order to facilitate electronic publishing of submissions, the Committee would prefer them to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent on disk or CD-ROM to the Committee Secretariat in Microsoft Word® or Portable Document Format (PDF).
Terms of reference
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