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Thursday, 21 June 2007
Page: 131

Senator O’BRIEN (4:39 PM) —I move amendment (2) on sheet 5315:

(2)    Schedule 5, item 43, page 26 (line 16) to page 27 (line 3), omit the item, substitute:

43 Section 14

Repeal the section, substitute:

14 Staff

         (1)    The staff of the Commission are to be persons engaged under the Public Service Act 1999.

         (2)    For the purposes of the Public Service Act 1999:

              (a)    the Chairperson and the staff together constitute a Statutory Agency; and

              (b)    the Chairperson is the Head of that Statutory Agency.

43A Before section 16


Division 6—Planning and reporting obligations

This is the Grains Council of Australia amendment. The government, without notice and without any consultation whatsoever, removed the reference to the Grains Council, the requirement to brief the Grains Council and the requirement to report to growers, albeit in an annual report table. If there is a move in this direction, there should be full consultation with the industry about this provision before it is done. There has been no consultation. This is simply another high-handed action by this minister to do something, with no warning, no consultation and, frankly, no justification.

This amendment is a matter of basic openness and transparency to the industry that is being regulated and that pays for the Export Wheat Commission or the Wheat Export Authority. Why shouldn’t they and their peak representative body be guaranteed consultation by the legislation rather than at the whim—perhaps suggested by the minister—of whoever is running the authority or the commission at the time?