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Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Page: 3695


Mr SIDEBOTTOM (BraddonParliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) (09:38): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2012 reflects the government's commitment to more effective regulation by cutting red tape and creating clearer Commonwealth laws.

The bill will amend eight portfolio acts and repeal one act entirely.

It contains no significant policy changes, but the amendments will provide consistency, amend outdated or unclear provisions and reduce the likelihood of reader confusion. The bill responds to industry requests for reform of existing regulation. It will streamline existing administrative arrangements and improve response times.

The bill will amend requirements of the Label Integrity Program under the wine legislation. The program aims to ensure truthfulness of label claims on vintage, variety or geographical indication of wine. It relies on accurate record keeping so that wines and label claims can be audited effectively.

Retailers have demonstrated the need for differentiation of record-keeping requirements between producers and retailers, and the proposed amendments are supported by retailers, wholesalers and the wine industry.

The proposed amendments will reduce the record-keeping requirements of people who supply or receive wine goods that are packaged for sale to a consumer. Suppliers and retailers who do not change or affect any label claims about wine goods will be required to provide the Wine Australia and Brandy Corporation auditors with details of the manufacturer or supplier of the wine goods, rather than all the details to substantiate vintage, variety or geographical indication label claims. This maintains the integrity of the program, while meeting the practical requirements of suppliers and retailers.

For the purposes of defining 'vintage' on a wine label, the bill will amend the Wine Australia Corporation Act 1980 to assist producers by ensuring grapes grown in the same growing season can be labelled with the same vintage year. For example, producers will now be able to label wine made from grapes harvested from 1 September 2012 through to 31 August 2013 as a 2013 wine, not a 2014 wine.

The bill will amend the Fisheries Management Act 1991 to ensure that provisions are consistent and wording is clear. The amendments will correct a grammatical error and remove redundant wording in provisions relating to directions to close a fishery or a part of a fishery. They will also make compliance with a direction to close a fishery a condition on all types of statutory fishing concessions. The amendments will better reflect the intention of the provisions, clarify requirements and simplify the administration of the act.

The amendments to the Fisheries Administration Act 1991 will correct a drafting error made in an earlier amending act so that agreed co-management arrangements can be implemented. The drafting error applied a delegation of powers provision to section 93 rather than to section 92. Once the provision is applied correctly to section 92, co-management arrangements—in which stakeholders will assist the Australian Fisheries Management Authority to perform powers and functions for the sustainable management of fisheries—can be implemented.

The Primary Industries Levies and Charges Collection Act 1991 is being amended to allow the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry to consider all requests for the remission of late levy payment penalties. At present, only the portfolio minister can remit penalties exceeding $5,000. The proposed amendment mirrors efficient penalty remission arrangements for the Dairy Adjustment Levy. The process will be more streamlined and response times will be improved for levy payers. Levy payers will still be able to approach the minister to review a decision made by the secretary.

To assist with clearer Commonwealth legislation, the bill will make the following technical amendments.

It will renumber an alphabetical list in the Primary Industries and Energy Research and Development Act 1989 to remove any doubt about whether the list is incorrect or incomplete.

It will replace the United States spelling of 'authorized' with the Australian spelling of 'authorised' in the Export Control Act 1982 and the Quarantine Act 1908. The Australian spelling is the preferred style for Commonwealth legislation and these changes improve readability by ensuring consistent spelling throughout the two acts.

It will remove redundant text in the Fisheries Management Act 1991, including several cross-references to provisions that have been repealed. These amendments will promote consistency in the act and reduce the likelihood of reader confusion. In line with the legislative drafting protocols, it will remove specific references to departments and secretaries in the Farm Household Support Act 1992. This will mean any references to department or secretary are related to the correct portfolio responsible for administering the act and will reduce the need for future amendments arising from changes to the Administrative Arrangements Orders.

The bill will also repeal an entire act—the States Grants (War Service Land Settlement) Act 1952. The War Service Land Settlement Scheme commenced in 1945 to assist returned soldiers into farming after World War II. Authority for the scheme was established under Commonwealth legislation. The Australian Government has negotiated the sale and transfer of the scheme to each of the states, and now the Commonwealth legislation is redundant and suitable for repeal. The scheme served its purpose but has generally outgrown its original intent. Repeal of this act marks the end of an era and closes a chapter in Australia's history.

Debate adjourned.