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Commonwealth officer as Observer at NHFIC Board meetings

Established on 30 June 2018, the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (NHFIC) is a statutory authority that: makes loans, investments and grants for enabling infrastructure that supports new housing, particularly affordable housing; and provides cheaper and longer-term financing to registered community housing providers through Australia's first national Affordable Housing Bond Aggregator (AHBA). The National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation Act 2018 (NHFIC Act) includes a provision for a Commonwealth officer to be appointed as an Observer to attend NHFIC Board meetings. This Flagpost discusses the statutory Observer position in the context of the review of corp... Read more...

Treasury Laws Amendment (ASIC Governance Bill) 2018

The Treasury Laws Amendment (ASIC Governance Bill) 2018 (the Bill) amends the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (ASIC Act) to give the Governor-General the discretion to appoint a second Deputy Chairperson of ASIC. Read more...

A new way to set up a Commonwealth organisation
Parliamentary Library

A new way to set up a Commonwealth organisation

On 1 July 2016, two new corporate Commonwealth entities (CCEs) will be established: the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) and Old Parliament House (OPH). While their functions will differ greatly, they will be the first CCEs established using a mechanism that became available in July 2014 under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act). The new mechanism enables CCEs to be established (and abolished) by means of disallowable legislative instruments made by the Minister for Finance, rather than by Acts as has generally been the case previously.  Read more...

The Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013—consequential amendments

On 1 July 2014, the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (the PGPA Act) will implement a new financial management framework for the Commonwealth and Commonwealth entities. However, implementation of the PGPA framework requires the enactment of five Bills in June. The first of these was passed on 19 June 2014. The remaining four consequential and transitional Bills were introduced on 24 June and passed by the House of Representatives on 25 June. Read more...

Amendments to the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013

Since the report of the National Commission of Audit and the handing down of the government’s Budget 2014‒15, media coverage has highlighted measures that will reduce the number of government bodies and the number of public servants. Less well-known is that, from 1 July 2014, the financial and reporting framework applicable to government bodies will undergo its most comprehensive overhaul since 1998. The foundation of the new framework is the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (the PGPA Act), which must come into effect on 1 July 2014, replacing the the FMA Act and the the CAC Act. However, implementation of the PGPA framework from 1 July will require the... Read more...

Federal Circuit Court refuses to hear ‘union slush fund’ dispute

Union reserve funds are not illegal, but that has not stopped them from becoming controversial in the context of recently uncovered instances of serious misuse these funds. Sheehan v Australian Municipal Administrative, Clerical and Services Union & Ors [2013] FCCA 2137 is a Federal Circuit Court decision that sheds light on union members’ standing to bring actions for alleged misconduct by officials. It is cases such as this one which have attracted media attention and seen most union reserve funds pejoratively labelled ‘slush funds’.Union auxiliary monetary accountsMost, if not all unions have reserve funds, also known as auxiliary monetary accounts. These funds have been traditionally... Read more...

Parliamentary committee scrutiny of the Commonwealth Ombudsman—Private Member’s Bill

   A Private Member’s Bill introduced on 1 November 2011 in the Senate by Australian Greens Senator Bob Brown seeks to bring the operation, functions and resourcing of the Commonwealth Ombudsman under the scrutiny of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit. The Commonwealth Ombudsman is an independent statutory office established by the Ombudsman Act 1976 (Cth).The Public Accounts and Audit Committee Amendment (Ombudsman) Bill 2011 follows the resignation of the former Ombudsman, Allan Asher, in late October 2011 over his provision of suggested questions to Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young prior to the May 2011 Senate Budget Estimates hearings. In a ... Read more...

Radical new structure proposed for the ACT public service

A recently-released review of the ACT public service (ACTPS) has made an unusual recommendation: the abolition of the existing public service structure and the re-establishment of the ACTPS as a single agency. The proposed single agency would comprise a Chief Minister’s Department and several directorates covering portfolio responsibilities. The ACTPS employs around 20 000 staff and comprises nine departments and various agencies.The review found that the ACTPS is ‘not broken’ and in many respects ‘is at the forefront of leading practice’, but also concludes that a single agency structure would be a better model for government in the ACT. The review notes that current ACTPS structures are de... Read more...

Trade union membership standards for Not for Profit regulation

Recommendations adopted by the Australian Senate Economics Committee’s inquiry into the regulation of the Not for Profit (NFP) sector and developed by the Productivity Commission in its 2010 report on the NFP sector invite questions as to how governance arrangements applying to NFP entities might materialise under any forthcoming regulatory scheme. A recent Parliamentary Library research paper examines the governance aspect of the proposed NFP regulation, putting the case for entities, which comprise the NFP sector, to adopt constitutions, objects and rules for administration upon registration. Entities registered under the proposed scheme would meet standards for their governance. Trade uni... Read more...

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