Executive Summary

This Report contains the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties’ review of the following four treaty actions:
International Monetary Fund’s Renewal of the New Arrangements to Borrow (4 November 2016);
Agreement relating to Scientific and Technical Cooperation between the Government of Australia and the Government of the United States of America (Washington D.C., 29 November 2016);
Agreement relating to Science, Research and Innovation Cooperation between the Government of Australia and the Government of New Zealand (Queenstown, 17 February 2017); and
Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the State of Israel on Bilateral Cooperation in Technological Innovation and Research and Development (Sydney, 23 February 2017).
The Renewal of the New Arrangements to Borrow for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is intended to help the IMF maintain resources to prevent or resolve crises in the balance of payments and reserve positions of IMF member states. The IMF derives its resources from funds obtained through quota based contributions from members. It then supplements the quota based funds with arrangements to temporarily borrow funds from some members. Australia is a founding member of the borrowing arrangements, providing the IMF with a signed instrument of adherence in 1997.
The renewal of the borrowing arrangements for a period of five years from November 2017 to 2022 will continue Australia’s commitment to the IMF under the borrowing arrangement of up to $A4.15 billion.
Apart from Australia’s obligations under the borrowing arrangements, the Committee noted three additional issues:
the treaty level status of the borrowing arrangements which have been previously overlooked by the Treasury;
the timeliness of the referral of this treaty action to the Committee which did not allow the Committee to make any useful recommendations regarding binding treaty action as it had already come into effect; and
the actual extent of Australia’s commitments to the IMF as the borrowing arrangements are in addition to Australia’s basic commitment to the organisation.
The three science agreements considered in the Report are with the United States of America (USA), New Zealand and Israel. These types of agreements are considered central to Australia’s economic policy in delivering economic growth, productivity and job creation as reflected in Australia’s National Innovation and Science Agenda. The treaty actions provide a formal legal framework to encourage cooperation and collaboration in scientific activities and are expected to boost Australia’s innovation system, attract investors and promote commercialisation in the global market.
The Committee recognises the benefits of such agreements and recommends that binding treaty action be taken for all three agreements.

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