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Wednesday, 13 March 2013
Page: 1848

Mr BRADBURY (LindsayAssistant Treasurer and Minister Assisting for Deregulation) (09:48): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Financial Framework Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2013 will amend five acts across three portfolios.

This bill forms part of an ongoing program to address financial framework issues as they are identified and assists in ensuring that specific provisions in existing legislation remain clear and uptodate.

Keeping the existing financial framework legislation up to date is also consistent with the reforms foreshadowed in the g overnment ' s proposed Commonwealth financial accountability review.

First, the b ill amend s the Financial Management a nd Accountability Act 1997 to authorise the Commonwealth to form, or participate in forming, companies, as specified in the Financial Management and Accountability Regulations 1997.

The b ill also amend s the Financial Management and Accountability Regulations 1997 to specify the objects or activities of existing Commonwealth companies.

For the avoidance of doubt and to address potential constitutional issues raised by the High Court ' s decision in Williams v Commonwealth , the b ill confirm s the Commonwealth ' s existing involvement with companies. The bill provides explicit legislative authority for the Commonwealth ' s involvement in companies.

The b ill also amend s the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 to provide for d ecisions made under the amendment to the FMA Act, as I have outlined, not to be subject to administrative review. As decisions about the formation of, and participation in, Commonwealth companies are not administrative decisions impacting on the interests of individuals, the g overnment considers that it would not be appropriate for such decisions to be subject to administrative review.

The s econd set of amendments in the b ill would establish a framework for dealing with overpayments within the Judges' Pensions Act 1968 , the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 and the Social Security Act 1991 in relation to Australian government disaster relief payments. These changes are technical in nature and address instances where payments are made by the relevant agency from a special appropriation to recipie nts that are not, in practice, consistent with the requirements or preconditions imposed by these a cts and risk breaching section 83 of the Constitution. The proposed amendments are similar in nature to the amendments delivered by the Financial Framework Legislation Amendment Act (No. 2) 2012 .

Finally, the b ill allow s deferred tax asset relief to the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation in relation to the transfer of assets from the military superannuation and benefits fund to the ARIA Investments Trust that occurred in May 2012. This is an operati onal amendment and follows the g overnment ' s decision to consolidate the trustees of the Commonwealth ' s main civilian and military superannuation schemes.

The bill is, accordingly, another step to help ensure that specific areas of the Commonwealth's financial framework remain effective and up to date.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Oakeshott ): I am sure we look forward to learning more in this House about the concept of earned autonomy, which is a part of that legislation, I understand.

Debate adjourned.