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Monday, 28 August 2000
Page: 16721


Senator COONAN (3:50 PM) —On behalf of the Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances, I give notice that, on the next day of sitting, I shall withdraw eight notices of disallowance, the full terms of which have been circulated in the chamber and I now hand to the Clerk.

The list read as follows

Four sitting days after today:

Business of the SenateNotice of Motion no. 3—Exemption No. CASA EX28/2000 made under regulation 308 of the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988.

Ten sitting days after today:

Business of the SenateNotices of Motion Nos:

2. Determination No. 1 of 2000 made under section 52 of the Defence Act 1903.

3. Exemption No. CASA EX26/2000 made under regulation 308 of the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988.

5. Health Insurance (1999-2000 Diagnostic Imaging Services Table) Amendment Regulations 2000 (No. 1), as contained in Statutory Rules 2000 No. 59 and made under the Health Insurance Act 1973.

6. Health Insurance (1999-2000 General Medical Services Table) Amendment Regulations 2000 (No. 1), as contained in Statutory Rules 2000 No. 60 and made under the Health Insurance Act 1973.

8. Migration Agents Amendment Regulations 2000 (No. 1), as contained in Statutory Rules 2000 No. 64 and made under the Migration Act 1958.

9. Migration Amendment Regulations 2000 (No. 2), as contained in Statutory Rules 2000 No. 62 and made under the Migration Act 1958.

11. Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Amendment Regulations 2000 (No. 1), as contained in Statutory Rules 2000 No. 51 and made under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997.


Senator COONAN —I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard the committee's correspondence concerning these instruments.

Leave granted.

The correspondence read as follows

Exemption No. CASA EX28/2000 made under regulations 308 of the Civil Aviation Regulation s 1988

11 May 2000

The Hon John Anderson MP

Minister for Transport and Regional Services

Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Minister

I refer to Exemption No. CASA EX28/2000 made under regulation 308 of the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988.

This instrument exempts Aerosonde pilotless aircraft which are operated from East Sale by Aerosonde Robotic Aircraft Pty Ltd from many of the provisions of those Regulations while the aircraft are being used to demonstrate their suitability for meteorological work.

The final sentence of this instrument provides that it “stops having effect at the end of July 2000.” However, the penultimate paragraph of the Explanatory Statement states that it “stops having effect at the end of June 2000.” While the terms of the Explanatory Statement cannot override the clear words of the instrument itself, the Committee would appreciate your assurance that the discrepancy between the Exemption and its Explanatory Statement is unintentional, and that it is the Exemption which correctly specifies the end of the period for which it will remain in force.

The Committee would be grateful for your advice as soon as possible but before 20 June 2000 when disallowance action may be initiated.

Yours sincerely

Helen Coonan

Chair

18 July 2000

Senator Helen Coonan

Chair

Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances

Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Senator Coonan

Thank you for your letter of 11 May 2000 raising concerns with Civil Aviation Amendment Orders (No.2) 2000 and Exemption No.CASA EX28/2000 and their Explanatory Statements (ES). Your letter was referred to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) for advice. I have now received CASA's response and am able to address the issues you raise. I regret the delay in replying.

In relation to Exemption No. CASA EX28/2000, the Committee questioned the reference in the ES to the instrument ceasing to have effect at the end of June while the Exemption refers to the end of July. CASA confirms that the Exemption is intended to cease having effect at the end of July as set out in the instrument itself. The discrepancy between the Exemption and the Explanatory Statement was unintentional.

Yours sincerely

John Anderson

Minister for Transport and Regional Services

Determination No.1 of 2000 made under section 52 of the Defence Act 1903

8 June 2000

The Hon Bruce Scott MP

Minister for Veterans' Affairs

Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Minister

I refer to the Determination No. 1 of 2000 under section 52 of the Defence Act 1903 that credits notional interest on the 3% productivity benefit contribution.

By virtue of clause 2.1 of this instrument, it is taken to have commenced retrospectively on 1 January 2000. Although it appears that it does not detrimentally affect the rights of any person other than the Commonwealth, there is no assurance to that effect in the Explanatory Statement.

The Committee would appreciate your assurance that no person has been adversely affected by this Determination as soon as possible to enable it to finalise this matter.

Yours sincerely

Helen Coonan

Chair

30 June 2000

Senator Helen Coonan

Chair:

Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances

Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Senator Coonan

Thank you for your letter of 8 June 2000 concerning, Determination No. 1 of 2000 under section 52 of the Defence Act 1903 that credits notional interest on the 3% productivity benefit.

The determination applies to members of the Defence Force who are contributors to the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits (DFRDB) scheme. Since the interest is only a notional interest and no calculation is done until a DFRDB member leaves the Defence Force, no contributing member is adversely affected by the retrospective nature of the Determination. The benefits for all DFRDB members who have left the Defence Force since 1 January 2000 have been calculated using the new interest rate.

Accordingly, I am able to provide you with an assurance that no person has been adversely affected by this Determination.

Yours sincerely

BRUCE SCOTT MP

Exemption No. CASA EX26/2000 made under regulation 308 of the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988

8 June 2000

The Hon John Anderson MP

Minister for Transport and Regional Services

Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Minister

I refer to the Airworthiness Directive AD/AB3/118 and Exemption No. CASA EX26/2000 made under the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988.

The Directive, dated 4 April 2000, requires a detailed visual inspection of parts of the relevant aeroplanes before (among other dates) 19 May 1999. The Committee would appreciate your confirmation that the Directive intended to refer to 19 May 2000.

Paragraph 1(a) of the Exemption states that it applies to powered paragliders that “are operated by David Ian Humphrey”, but one of the Conditions to which the Exemption is subject is that a paraglider “may only be flown by (a) David Ian Humphrey ... or (b) Jiri Hlavaty”. The Committee would appreciate your advice on the difference between operating a paraglider (as referred to in the Exemption) and flying it (as referred to in the Conditions).

The Committee would appreciate your advice as soon as possible to enable it to finalise these matters.

Yours sincerely

Helen Coonan

Chair

Senator Helen Coonan

Chair Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances

Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Senator Coonan

Thank you for your letter of 8 June 2000 concerning Airworthiness Directive AD/AB3/118 and Exemption Number CASA EX26/2000 made under the Civil Aviation Regulations 1988 (CAR 1988). Your letter was referred to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) for advice. I have now received CASA's response and am able to address the issues you raise. I regret the delay in replying.

You have sought advice as to whether, in Airworthiness Directive AD/AB3/118, the date for inspection of parts of relevant aircraft should be 19 May 2000 rather than 19 May 1999. CASA has advised that the reference to 19 May 1999 is correct.

AD/AB3/118 was amended recently to AD/AB3/118 Amdt 1 to reflect the latest requirement documents and to reference the latest revision of the County of Origin Airworthiness Directive. The reflection of the latest requirement documents became effective on 18 May 2000. The original compliance date of Airworthiness Directive AD/AB3/118 was not altered in AD/AB3/118 Amdt 1, and repeat inspections are required before the accumulation of 2,800 flight cycles or 19 May 1999, whichever occurs later.

You also sought advice on the difference between operating and flying a paraglider. In accordance with the definition of “operator” in subregulation 2(1) of CAR 1988, a person operating an aircraft is the person, organisation, or enterprise engaged in, or offering to engage in, an aircraft operation. CASA has advised that under the Exemption CASA EX26/2000, Mr Humphrey, as the operator, is permitted to engage in, or offer to engage in, aerial advertising operations and aerial photography operations.

The pilot of an aircraft is a member of the flight crew who occupies a control seat and actually flies the aircraft. A pilot is usually employed by an operator to fly an aircraft. In the Civil Aviation Regulations, pilots are usually referred to as flying an aircraft rather than operating an aircraft. An operator may also be a pilot, however, the terms are not synonymous.

Yours sincerely

JOHN ANDERSON

Health Insurance (1999-2000 Diagnostic Imaging Services Table) Amendment Regulations 2000 (No. 1), Statutory Rules 2000 No. 59

Health Insurance (1999-2000 General Medical Services Table) Amendment Regulations 2000 (No. 1), Statutory Rules 2000 No. 60

8 June 2000

The Hon Michael Wooldridge MP

Minister for Health and Aged Care

Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Minister

I refer to the Health Insurance (1999-2000 Diagnostic Imaging Services Table) Amendment Regulations 2000 (No.1), Statutory Rules 2000 No. 59, and the Health Insurance (1999-2000 General Medical Services Table) Amendment Regulations 2000 (No.1), Statutory Rules 2000 No. 60, that amend the Table of Diagnostic Imaging Services and the Table of General Medical Services respectively.

Statutory Rules 2000 No. 59

Item 10 of the Schedule to these Regulations inserts a description of item 57355 in the Schedule to the Principal Regulations. The Explanatory Statement indicates that this insertion was made because item 57355 “was overlooked when the descriptor for item 57550 was amended in February 2000.” The Committee would appreciate your assurance that no one was adversely affected by this omission from the Table.

Statutory Rules 2000 No. 60

Item 4 in the Schedule to these Regulations substitutes a new regulation 48 in the Principal Regulations. The Explanatory Statement observes that this substitution was necessary because the regulation as originally drafted “did not contemplate the situation of a person who successfully appealed a decision of the Credentialling Subcommittee.” The Committee would appreciate your assurance that no person has been disadvantaged by this omission from the original regulations.

The Committee would be grateful for a response as soon as possible to enable it to finalise these matters.

Yours sincerely

Helen Coonan

Chair

Senator H. Coonan

Chair

Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances

Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Senator Coonan

Thank you for your letter of 8 June 2000 concerning Statutory Rules 2000 No. 59 and No. 60. I sincerely

apologise for the delay in responding.

Statutory Rules 2000 No. 59

Changes to the description for item 57350 in the Medicare Benefits Schedule, were made in February 2000. These changes were made to more accurately specify the service for which benefits were payable. Item 57355 is the `capital sensitive' version of item 57350, for Computed Tomography Machines over 10 years of age. The delay in redoing item 57355 could not have disadvantaged any patient, as the delay meant that some patients may have been able to claim a service that they cannot claim under the new wording.

Statutory Rules 2000 No. 60

Regulations to recognise “qualified sleep medicine practitioners” for Medicare benefits purposes were introduced on 1 March 1999. The regulations provided a mechanism for a credentialling process for existing practitioners to be administered by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP). A number of sleep medicine practitioners failed the initial assessment of their training and clinical experience in sleep studies. However, the RACP has a well established appeals mechanism. which applied to the assessments made by the Credentialling Subcommittee, and many of those who failed the initial assessment exercised their rights under the appeal provisions.

As you have observed in the Explanatory Statement to item 4 of the Schedule, the Regulation, as originally drafted, did not contemplate the situation of a person who successfully appealed a decision of the Credentialling Subcommittee. Accordingly, the legislation was amended so that those who have successfully appealed a decision of the Credentialling Subcommittee may access Medicare benefits.

Without this amendment to Regulation 48, those practitioners who were assessed before 1 March 1999 and who failed but subsequently were successful on appeal, would not satisfy the credentialling requirements.

To ensure that the appellants were not disadvantaged while their appeals were being finalised, I determined under Subsection 3C(1) of the Health Insurance Act 1973 that they could continue to access Medicare benefits for the duration of the appeals process.

With kind regards,

Yours sincerely

Dr Michael Wooldridge

>8 AUG 2000

Migration Agents Amendment Regulations 2000 (No. 1), Statutory Rules 2000 No. 64

Migration Amendment Regulations 2000 (No.2), Statutory Rules 2000 No.62

8 June 2000

Ref: Cttee/80/2000

The Hon Philip Ruddock MP

Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs

Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Minister

I refer to the Migration Amendment Regulations 2000 (No. 2), Statutory Rules 2000 No. 62, and the Migration Agents Amendment Regulations 2000 (No. 1), Statutory Rules 2000 No. 64.

Statutory Rules 2000 No. 62

These Regulations amend provisions relating to the provision of various classes of visa. The amendment made by item 206 of the Schedule to these Regulations ensures that an application for a Sri Lankan (Special Assistance) (Class BG) visa must have been made on or before 28 April 2000. Since the Regulations were made on 27 April 2000, this amendment gives those intending to apply for this visa no more than a day within which to complete their application. The Committee would appreciate your advice on the reason for this limited period within which such visas may have been applied for.

New item 1217A of Schedule 1 to the Principal Regulations - inserted by item 3206 of the Schedule to these Regulations - imposes a fee of $60 for the application for the relevant visa. However, the Explanatory Statement does not indicate the basis for this fee. The Committee would appreciate your advice on the basis used to set this fee.

Statutory Rules 2000 No. 64

These Regulations amend the Code of Conduct for migration agents and implement more cost effective arrangements for publishing the details of prospective migration agents. The amendment made by item 7 in the Schedule to these Regulations requires a migration agent to give to a client, before commencing work for that client, an estimate of the fees likely to be charged and the time likely to be taken in performing a particular service. However, the new clause does not require that estimate to be provided in writing. Since the apparent purpose of the clause is to protect a client from being taken by surprise by the level of fees charged, the Committee considers that it would be appropriate to require a migration agent to provide the estimate in writing.

The Committee would be grateful for your advice on these matters as soon as possible to enable it to finalise its consideration of the Regulations.

Yours sincerely

Helen Coonan

Chair

11 July 2000

Senator Helen Coonan

Chair

Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances

Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Senator Coonan

I refer to your letter dated 8 June 2000 requesting my advice concerning provisions in the Migration Amendment Regulations 2000 (No. 2), Statutory Rules 2000 No. 62, and the Migration Agents Amendment Regulations 2000 (No. 1), Statutory Rules 2000 No. 64.

Thank you for bringing the Committee's request for further advice to my attention.

Statutory Rules 2000 No. 62

Item 206 - Sri Lankan (Special Assistance) (Class BG) visa

The Committee has requested my advice on the reason for item 206 commencing the day after these regulations were made - thus giving potential applicants only one day in which to make a valid visa application.

As this visa was introduced in January 1995, I do not believe the quick close-off has disadvantaged any person. Closing the visa in this way really had the effect of preventing a “last minute rush” of applications for Sri Lankan (Special Assistance) visas. This reflects the policy decision of the Government to close off this visa class.

As the success rate of applications for this visa is very low, the clean closure also prevents unrealistic expectations being raised on the part of people who, if the closing date had been extended, might otherwise have put in an application.

I note that the limitation on making applications after 28 April 2000 does not prevent spouse and dependent children being added to existing applications.

Item 3206 - New item 1217A: Short Stay Sponsored (Visitor) (Class UL) visa

The application fee for the Short Stay Sponsored (Visitor) (Class UL) visa is the same as the fee charged for other off-shore tourist and business visitor visas. The fee is set at $60 for consistency with application charges for similar visa classes.

Statutory Rules 2000 No. 64

Item 7 - Schedule 2, paragraph 5.2(a): Migration Agents Code of Conduct

The amendment made by item 7 in the Schedule to the Regulations will add to the existing requirements for migration agents to deal with their clients in an open and transparent manner.

Under the existing Code of Conduct migration agents are required, before starting work for their clients, to give the client an estimate of fees in the form of charges for each hour or each service, and an estimate of the time likely to be taken in performing the service. The amendments add to these protections for clients by requiring agents also to give an estimate of disbursements that the agent is likely to incur.

I note that the Committee's concern focuses on whether these estimates need to be in writing, so that clients are not later surprised by the level of fees charged. In that regard I invite the Committee to consider further this amendment in the full context of this part of the Code of Conduct for migration agents.

The paragraphs in the Code of Conduct immediately following the amended provision set out requirements for the agent to obtain written acceptance by the client of the terms of the work to be done, and to provide written confirmation of the terms of the service to be rendered. This procedure helps to ensure that clients are fully informed of likely costs before the agent commences work on the client's case.

We would be happy to consider this matter further, in consultation with the industry regulatory body, the Migration Agents Registration Authority, if the Committee considers that these provisions do not adequately address their concerns. Following this consultation, the issue can be progressed as appropriate through the scheduled portfolio regulation change processes.

I hope this clarifies the matters of concern to the Committee.

Your sincerely

Philip Ruddock

Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Amendment Regulations 2000 (No. 1), Statutory Rules 2000 No. 51

8 June 2000

Senator the Hon Nick Minchin

Minister for Industry, Science and Resources

Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Minister

I refer to the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Amendment Regulations 2000 (No. 1), Statutory Rules 2000 No. 51, that extend for a further 12 months the Special Exemption status of specified goods covered by Schedule 3 of the Act.

The Explanatory Statement indicates that Western Australia is not a participating jurisdiction to the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement. Nevertheless, by virtue of item 3 of Schedule 2 to these Regulations, sections 50 and 59 of the Consumer Affairs Act 1971 of that State are laws, which are exempt from the operation of the enabling Act.

The Committee would appreciate your advice on this matter as soon as possible to allow it to finalise its consideration of the Regulations.

Yours sincerely

Helen Coonan

Chair

26 July 2000

Senator Helen Coonan

Chair

Senate Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances

Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Senator Coonan

Thank you for your letter of 8 June 2000 concerning the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Amendment Regulations 2000 (No. 1), Statutory Rules No. 51. You sought advice on why sections 50 and 59 of the Western Australian Consumer Affairs Act 1971 are exempt from the operation of the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997 (the Commonwealth Act) given that Western Australia is not currently a participating jurisdiction.

The Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Arrangement (TTMRA) was signed by the Prime Minister and all State Premiers and Territory Chief Ministers on 14 June 1996 and subsequently by the Prime Minister of New Zealand on 9 July 1996. The TTMRA, listed Various Commonwealth, State and Territory legislation that was to be excluded, permanently exempt or subject to special exemption from the operation of the TTMRA. Commonwealth legislation to enact TTMRA was passed in 1997 and incorporated schedules of excluded and exempt Commonwealth, State and Territory legislation.

The TTMRA provided that in order for a state or territory to become a participating jurisdiction they must enact complementary legislation at the state or territory level. This process has taken some time. For example, South Australia and Queensland enacted legislation in 1999. I am advised that Western Australia is likely to enact its legislation later this year.

When a jurisdiction enacts complementary legislation it takes on the provisions of the Commonwealth Act as at that time. This is why provision is made in Schedule 2 of the regulations for exemptions in respect of the Consumer Affairs Act 1971 (Western Australia). For example, under clause 4(1) of the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition (Western Australia) Bill 1999 (the Western Australian Act) the State of Western Australia will adopt the Commonwealth Act, under the provisions of section 51 (xxxvii) of the Constitution. The Western Australian Act will adopt the Commonwealth Act only to the extent of the original Commonwealth Act and any amendments made to it before the Western Australian Act receives Royal Assent. Consequently, the smooth introduction of the state based legislation is dependent on the Commonwealth Act containing the most up to date list of the relevant legislation that is to be excluded or exempt from the operation of the TTMRA.

I hope that this information will be of assistance to the Committee in its consideration of the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Amendment Regulations 2000 (No. 1), Statutory Rules 2000 No. 51.

Yours sincerely

Nick Minchin

Senator Cook to move, on the next day of sitting:

(1) That a select committee, to be known as the Select Committee on Petrol Pricing be appointed to inquire into and report, by 4 December 2000, on the following matters:

(a) the failure to ensure that the price of petrol would not rise as a result of changes to the tax system;

(b) the increase in the amount of tax on petrol and other fuels resulting from the goods and services tax (GST) package;

(c) the expected future increases in the amount of tax on petrol and other fuels resulting from the GST package;

(d) the extent to which the GST acts as a tax on a tax on petrol and other fuels;

(e) the wholesale and retail price of petrol and other fuels in Australia, including an examination of the factors that influence those prices; and

(f) the amount of windfall revenue the Commonwealth will collect from the taxation of petrol and other fuels, beyond that projected in the 2000-01 Budget, and options for returning that windfall to Australian motorists.

(2) That the committee consist of 7 senators, 3 nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate, 3 nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, and 1 nominated by the Leader of the Australian Democrats.

(3) That the committee may proceed to the dispatch of business notwithstanding that not all members have been duly nominated and appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy.

(4) That the chair of the committee be appointed on the nomination of the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.

(5) That the deputy chair of the committee be appointed on the nomination of the Leader of the Government in the Senate.

(6) That the deputy chair act as chair when there is no chair or the chair is not present at a meeting.

(7) That, in the event of the votes on any question before the committee being equally divided, the chair, or deputy chair when acting as chair, have a casting vote.

(8) That the committee have power to appoint subcommittees consisting of 3 or more of its members and to refer to any such subcommittee any of the matters which the committee is empowered to consider.

(9) That the committee and any subcommittee have power to send for and examine persons and documents, to move from place to place, to sit in public or in private, notwithstanding any prorogation of the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives, and have leave to report from time to time its proceedings and the evidence taken and such interim recommendations as it may deem fit.

(10) That the committee be provided with all necessary staff, facilities and resources and be empowered to appoint persons with specialist knowledge for the purposes of the committee with the approval of the President.

(11) That the committee be empowered to print from day to day such papers and evidence as may be ordered by it and a daily Hansard be published of such proceedings as take place in public.

Senator Cook to move, on the next day of sitting:

That the Senate notes the failure of the Chair of the Economics Legislation Committee (Senator Gibson) to ensure that questions taken on notice by the Department of the Treasury during estimates hearings were responded to within 30 days, as promised by Senator Gibson, and the fact that hundreds of answers to questions on notice are now 7 weeks overdue despite the commitment given by Senator Gibson.