Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 30 April 1987
Page: 2245


Mr BARRY JONES (Minister for Science)(10.47) —I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of the Australian Meat and Live-stock Industry Legislation Amendment Bill 1987 is to make a number of amendments to legislation affecting Australia's meat and livestock industry, namely, the Australian Meat and Livestock Corporation Act 1977, the Australian Meat and Livestock Research and Development Corporation Act 1985, the Australian Meat and Livestock Industry Policy Council Act 1984 and the Australian Meat and Livestock Industry Selection Committee Act 1984. This Bill is associated with the Livestock Slaughter Levy Amendment Bill 1987 and the Livestock Export Charge Amendment Bill 1987.

In regard to the Australian Meat and Livestock Corporation Act 1977 the Bill formalises the ability of the Australian Meat and Livestock Corporation, AMLC to work with the Australian Pork Corporation in the development of marketing schemes for meat and livestock. Provision is made for the Minister to prescribe by regulation individual marketing schemes such as computer aided livestock marketing, known as CALM and the authority for the uniform specification of meat and livestock, known as AUS-MEAT. The Bill also provides that the AMLC will be required to consult with the peak industry bodies in the preparation of its five-year corporate plan and its annual operational plan. In addition, the five-year plan is to be a rolling plan, that is, it will need to be updated each year so that it always covers the next five years. A number of specific additions are made to the information to be contained in the AMLC's annual report: These are intended to improve the level of reporting by the Corporation to Parliament on its activities.

The powers of the AMLC to meet the costs and expenses incurred by industry organisations attending consultations with the Corporation are clarified. The AMLC will be able to make payments in addition to travelling expenses, in accordance with guidelines issued by the Minister for Primary Industry. These guidelines make it quite clear that only reasonable costs associated with consultations can be met, and it will be up to the AMLC to ensure that activities for which it meets the costs are consistent with its powers and functions. The legislation proposes to limit the making of such payments to the Cattle Council of Australia, the Sheepmeat Council of Australia and the Australian Meat Exporters Federal Council. There is also, however, a provision for other organisations to be added to the list by regulation, should it become apparent that this is appropriate.

Under the current AMLC Act, members are appointed for a fixed three-year term with appointments being staggered so that not all members change at once. It is proposed to make this arrangement more flexible by providing that members may be appointed for periods of up to three years. A number of changes are intended to streamline the administration and operation of the AMLC's annual general meeting. These include greater flexibility in the timing of AGMs, the closing date of voting registers, lodgment of notices of motion and the deadline by which proxies must be lodged. In addition, the provision requiring a vote of 75 per cent of those people on the register to pass a special motion or to overturn a Corporation motion for an increase in the levy, is to be changed so that a vote of 75 per cent of those people present, either in person or by proxy is all that will be required.

In line with the Government's policy on the reform of statutory marketing authorities, the legislation requires the AMLC to adopt an equal employment opportunities program. This program is to be incorporated in the Corporation's corporate plans and a progress report is to be included in the Corporation's annual report to Parliament. The changes to the Australian Meat and Live-Stock Research and Development Corporation Act 1985 are designed to streamline the administration and operation of the Corporation's annual general meeting and mirror the changes being made in this regard to the AMLC Act. The Australian Meat and Live-Stock Industry Policy Council Act 1984 is to be amended to remove the requirement that the Policy Council holds an industry wide conference at least every two years to canvass industry views on matters currently affecting the industry. The Policy Council will, however, retain its power to call such conferences whenever it feels they are needed.

This Bill also seeks to amend the Australian Meat and Live-Stock Industry Selection Committee Act 1984. This Act provides for the Selection Committee to nominate members for appointment to the AMLC and the AMLRDC. The proposed changes are to allow for the appointment of members of the Selection Committee for periods of up to three years instead of the present fixed three-year term. Also, it is proposed to remove the requirement for the Selection Committee to prepare an annual report to Parliament. The preparation of an annual report is considered unnecessary as the Committee has only a single purpose and meets on an ad hoc basis. The amendment will bring the Selection Committee into line with other statutory marketing authority selection committees. The changes proposed by this Bill will have no impact on Commonwealth income or expenditure. I commend the Bill to honourable members and I present the explanatory memorandum.

Debate (on motion by Mr Spender) adjourned.