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Wednesday, 21 June 2000
Page: 15360

Senator BOLKUS (4:14 PM) —by leave—I move opposition-Democrat amendments Nos 74 to 85 and 87 to 98 on sheet 1778 together:

(74) Clause 59, page 25 (line 6), at the end of subclause (1), add “for the purpose, objects and functions of the Trust”.

(75) Clause 59, page 25 (line 7), omit “for Finance and Administration”.

(76) Clause 60, page 25 (lines 16 and 17), omit paragraph (b).

(77) Clause 60, page 25 (line 17), omit “and”.

(78) Clause 61, page 25 (lines 23 to 29), omit the clause, substitute:

61 Interim Trust costs etc

Any cost or liabilities incurred by the Commonwealth in respect of the interim Trust, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, are not recoverable by the Commonwealth from the Trust.

(79) Clause 62, page 26 (lines 2 and 3), omit “for Finance and Administration”.

(80) Clause 63, page 26 (lines 7 and 8), omit “the whole or any part of Trust land or other assets”, substitute “assets other than Trust land”.

(81) Clause 63, page 26 (line 14), omit “paragraph 8(2)(i)”, substitute “paragraph 8(2)(h)”.

(82) Clause 64, page 26 (lines 15 to 23), omit the clause, substitute:

64 Contracts

(1) The Trust must not, except with the Minister's written approval, enter into a contract involving the payment or receipt by the Trust of an amount exceeding $1,000,000.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to the investment of money by the Trust in accordance with section 18 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997.

(83) Clause 66, page 27 (lines 4 to 8), omit the clause, substitute:

66 Repeal of this Act

This Act is repealed at the beginning of the earlier of the following 2 days:

(a) the day specified by the Minister, by notice published in the Gazette, as the day by which the transfer of all Trust land to New South Wales has been completed;

(b) the tenth anniversary of the day on which this Act commences.

(84) Clause 67, page 27 (lines 9 to 28), omit the clause, substitute:

67 Transfer of assets

(1) The Minister must ensure that all Trust assets, including Trust land, are transferred to New South Wales before the repeal time.

(2) The Minister has power to make any declaration necessary to achieve the object specified in subsection (1).

(3) A declaration under subsection (2) has effect accordingly.

(4) A copy of a declaration under subsection (2) is to be published in the Gazette within 14 days after the making of the declaration.

(5) Subsections (1) and (2) do not prevent the Trust from transferring an asset, including Trust land, to New South Wales other than under those subsections.

(85) Clause 68, page 27 (line 29) to page 28 (line 18), omit the clause, substitute:

68 Transfer of liabilities

(1) If, immediately before the repeal time, the Trust has any liabilities, the Minister must, by writing, make a declaration that such liabilities cease to be liabilities of the Trust and become liabilities of the Commonwealth immediately before the repeal time.

(2) A declaration under subsection (1) has effect accordingly.

(3) A copy of a declaration under subsection (1) is to be published in the Gazette within 14 days after the making of the declaration.

(4) Subsection (1) does not prevent the Trust from transferring a liability to a person otherwise than under that subsection.

(5) Immediately before the repeal time, any liability of the Trust that has not been covered by a declaration under subsection (1) vests in the Commonwealth.

(6) Any instrument relating to such a liability continues to have effect after the liability vests in the Commonwealth as if a reference in the instrument to the Trust were a reference to the Commonwealth.

(87) Clause 70, page 29 (line 8), omit “management”.

(88) Clause 70, page 29 (line 11), at the end of the clause, add:

; and (c) details of all contracts with consultants, valued at $5,000 or more, entered into during the period to which the report relates.

(89) Clause 71, page 29 (line 12) to page 30 (line 10), omit the clause, substitute:

71 New South Wales laws to apply

(1) Nothing in this Act is intended to exclude or limit the concurrent operation of any New South Wales law.

(2) In this section:

law means a written law, and includes:

(a) subordinate legislation; and

(b) a provision of a law.

(90) Clause 72, page 30 (lines 11 to 17), omit the clause, substitute:

72 Delegation

The Trust may, by writing, delegate to the Executive Director any of the functions and powers conferred on the Trust by this Act.

(91) At the end of clause 72, add “that are necessary for the proper and efficient operation of the Trust”.

(92) At the end of clause 72, add:

(2) The Executive Director must report regularly to the Trust, and in any case not less than once in each period of 3 months, on the exercise of powers and functions delegated under subsection (1).

(3) In exercising a power or carrying out a function delegated under subsection (1), the Executive Director must comply with the objects, functions and powers of the Trust and with the terms of the delegation.

(93) Clause 73, page 30 (lines 25 and 26), omit paragraph (2)(a).

(94) Clause 73, page 30 (after line 26), after paragraph (a), insert:

(aa) the specification of additional land as Trust land;

(95) Clause 73, page 30 (lines 27 to 31), omit “management” (wherever occurring).

(96) Clause 73, page 31 (line 9), after “or”, insert “of”.

(97) Clause 73, page 31 (line 10), at the end of paragraph (j), add “in accordance with an approved plan”.

(98) Clause 73, page 31 (after line 24), after paragraph (r), insert:

(ra) the terms and conditions under which a member of the Trust holds office;

(rb) remuneration and allowances for members of the Trust;

Mr Temporary Chairman, as you would know, I am moving these amendments on behalf of both the Australian Democrats and the Labor Party. Although we do have quite a number of amendments here, what this batch of amendments really does is ensure that the Prime Minister's commitment of 1998 is kept—that is, that the land is transferred to New South Wales within the 10-year period. The major amendments that do that are amendment No. 84, which amends clause 67 of the legislation, and amendment No. 85, which amends clause 68 of the legislation. Those two clauses ensure that transfer, and we had a debate about that two days ago. We could go through it again today, but I think all that needs to be said is that the Prime Minister made a commitment which the opposition supported at the time. It is one that we do wish to see in place through legislation.

Amendments Nos 87 to 98 are critical amendments. They reflect one of the majority recommendations of the Senate legislation committee—that is, to ensure that New South Wales laws apply in respect of the subject land. I think the government says that those laws should apply wherever possible, but we are keen to ensure that the process that has been announced by the Prime Minister—the one that ensures the transfer to New South Wales and the remediation and maintenance of the land in accordance with the relevant planning laws and other laws in the meantime—is brought into effect through legislation. Amendment No. 90 is a machinery amendment in respect of the operation of the trust—the delegation of powers and so on—and I think the remaining amendments also are substantially technical in nature.

As I said, we could debate these at length again, but it seems that the minister is quite resolved to, in essence, allow this chamber to carry these amendments. What I would like to ask the minister is: what sort of process does he anticipate embarking upon after the legislation is passed in this place? Will he give an assurance that there will be a process of public consultation with the interested stakeholders? Will he give us an assurance that he will take these amendments seriously and try to come back to this place with either an acknowledgment of their worth or some other course that he might find would achieve the same purpose? I ask the minister those questions at this stage, rather then embarking upon a repeat of the debate we had two nights ago.