Bills Digest no. 127 2007–08
Wheat Export Marketing (Repeal and Consequential
Amendments) Bill 2008
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
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Wheat Export Marketing (Repeal and
Consequential Amendments) Bill 2008
introduced: 29 May
House: House of Representatives
Portfolio: Agriculture, Fisheries and
Schedules 1 and 2, and
items 2-6 and 9-11 of Schedule 3 at the same time as section 4 of
the Wheat Export Marketing Act 2008 commences; items 1, 7
and 8 of Schedule 3 at the same time as section 1 of the Wheat
Export Marketing Act 2008 commences; all other provisions on
the date on which the Royal Assent is given.
relevant links to the Bill, Explanatory Memorandum and second
reading speech can be accessed via BillsNet, which is at http://www.aph.gov.au/bills/.
When Bills have been passed they can be found at ComLaw, which is
The purpose of the Bill is to
deal with consequential matters arising from the enactment of the
Wheat Export Marketing Bill 2008 and repeal the Wheat Marketing
The agricultural policy landscape at both State and Federal
level was once well populated by statutory trading monopolies and
other legislated arrangements for the marketing of farm products.
However, reforms in both agricultural policy and the broader
economic agenda over the last couple of decades have transformed
agricultural marketing in Australia to the point where the monopoly
over wheat exports is the only remaining such arrangement effective
at the national level.
Currently the Australian domestic and export wheat markets
operate very differently. The Australian domestic
wheat market was completely deregulated in 1989, and has operated
free of specific government regulation since that time. Growers are
able to directly sell their wheat to domestic traders and
consumers, or to deliver their wheat into pools .
The Australian export wheat market is directed
through a single exporter of bulk wheat Australian Wheat Board
International Limited (AWB International). This is known as the
single desk . The statutory regulator, the Export Wheat Commission,
manages the export of non-bulk wheat (that is, bagged or container
This Bills Digest should be read in conjunction with the
Bills Digest for the Wheat Export Marketing Bill 2008.
There are no financial implications.
Item 1 of Schedule 1 repeals
the whole of the Wheat Marketing Act 1989.
Items 1 to 5 of Schedule 2 amend the
Criminal Code Act 1995 to include a reference to an
application for accreditation under the wheat export accreditation
scheme. The effect of the amendment is that section 136.1 will
provide that a person is guilty of an offence if they make a
statement (either orally or in writing) in relation to an
application for accreditation under the wheat export accreditation
scheme, knowing that the statement is false or misleading. The
maximum penalty for such an offence is 12 months imprisonment.
Items 6 to 8 of Schedule 2 amend the
Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958 (the Customs
(Prohibited Exports) Regulations).
Item 6 repeals existing subregulation 5(4)
which permits the export of wheat by AWB (International) under the
Wheat Marketing Act 1989. Item 7 inserts
proposed regulation 9AAA which provides that
exportation of bulk wheat from Australia is prohibited unless the
wheat is exported by an accredited wheat exporter. Proposed
subregulation 9AAA(3) provides an exception for AWB
(International) which will be permitted to export wheat up to and
including 30 September 2008.
In line with the terms of clause 7 of the Wheat Export Marketing
Bill, the proposed amendments to the Customs (Prohibited Exports)
Regulations reflect that wheat which is exported in a bag or
container that is capable of holding not more than 50 tonnes of
wheat is not affected by the legislative scheme.
Item 8 repeals the reference to wheat (other
than wheat in bags or containers) from existing Schedule 3 of the
Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations. Schedule 3 lists those
goods which cannot be exported without the approval of the
Items 9 and 10 of Schedule 2 amend the
Financial Management and Accountability Regulations 1997
(the Financial Management and Accountability Regulations).
Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Financial Management and
Accountability Regulations contains a table listing prescribed
agencies that do not handle money other than public money.
Item 9 repeals existing table item 122C which
contains a reference to the Export Wheat Commission. Item
10 inserts proposed table item 145A which, instead,
contains a reference to Wheat Exports Australia.
Item 11 of Schedule 2 amends the Freedom of
Information Act 1982 (FOI Act) to omit the reference to
Wheat Marketing Act 1989 from Part III of Schedule 2 of
the FOI Act. Part III lists the legislation relating to agencies
exempt in respect of documents in relation to their commercial
activities. No replacement reference to the Wheat Export
Marketing Act 2008 is proposed in this Bill. This means that
Wheat Exports Australia will be subject to the provisions of the
Items 12 to 14 of Schedule 2 amend the
Primary Industries and Energy Research and Development Act
1989 by inserting the word repealed before each existing
reference to the Wheat Marketing Act 1989.
Item 15 of Schedule 2 amends the Primary
Industries Levies and Charges Collection Act 1991 by inserting
the word repealed before the existing reference to the Wheat
Marketing Act 1989.
Schedule 3 of the Bill contains transitional
Item 1 of Schedule 3 contains relevant
- EWC means Export Wheat Commission
- transition time means the commencement of
section 4 of the Wheat Export Marketing Act 2008
- WEA means Wheat Export Australia.
Item 2 of Schedule 3 provides that for the
purposes of any Act appropriating money for expenditure out of the
Consolidated Revenue Fund, after the transition time, all
references to EWC are to be read as WEA. This is in accordance with
clause 35 of the Wheat Export Marketing Bill 2008.
Item 3 of Schedule 3 provides that a person who
is a member of the EWC at the transition time will cease to be a
member of EWC. There is no provision of this Bill or the Wheat
Export Marketing Bill 2008 which would prevent a member of EWC of
becoming a member of WEA.
Under item 4 of Schedule 3 the Export Wheat
Commission Special Account is abolished and the balance transferred
to the Wheat Exports Australia Special Account which is set up in
accordance with clause 58 of the Wheat Export Marketing Bill
Item 5 of Schedule 3 requires EWC to provide a
report to the Minister about its operations in the nine month
period from 1 October 2007. The Minister is to table the report in
each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of the day on
which the Minister receives the report.
Item 6 of Schedule 3 preserves the
confidentiality of information provided to EWC despite the repeal
of the Wheat Marketing Act 1989. According to the
Explanatory Memorandum, the information referred to was provided by
AWB (International) to EWC on the basis that it was commercial in
confidence and any release could reasonably be expected to cause
financial loss or detriment to AWB (International).
Item 7 of Schedule 3 empowers EWC to formulate
the terms of the wheat export accreditation scheme before the
transition time. Any instrument made by EWC has effect, after the
transition time, as if it were made by WEA. If the wheat export
accreditation scheme is formulated before the transition time, then
item 8 of Schedule 3 further empowers EWC to
approve forms under the wheat export accreditation scheme. Where
that occurs, any form approved by EWC before the transition time is
taken to have been approved by WEA.
Item 9 of Schedule 3 allows AWB (International)
to export bulk wheat up to 1 October 2008 without being an
accredited exporter. According to the Explanatory Memorandum, this
is to ensure that there are no delays in finalising the 2007-08
National Pool, or executing export consents, while the companies
are having their accreditation applications assessed by
Item 10 of Schedule 3 imposes strict reporting
requirements on WEA. In particular it must report to the Minister
about AWB (International) s performance within six months of the
final distribution of payments to participants in the 2007-08
Item 11 of Schedule 3 provides that where EWC
has commenced an investigation prior to I July 2008, WEA must
complete the investigation and relevant report.
10 June 2008
Bills Digest Service
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