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Thursday, 23 August 2012
Page: 9722


Mr CREAN (HothamMinister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government and Minister for the Arts) (09:38): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

This is a companion bill to the National Portrait Gallery of Australia Bill 2012 which is also being introduced today. The National Portrait Gallery of Australia (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2012 contains consequential amendments and transitional arrangements related to the proposed establishment of the National Portrait Gallery as a new statutory authority from 1 July 2013.

The key elements of the bill relate to transitional arrangements, including the transfer of assets and liabilities, matters in relation to the transfer of employees from the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sports to the gallery and the closing of the National Portrait Gallery Special Account.

It is proposed that on the establishment of the National Portrait Gallery of Australia on 1 July 2013, those assets and liabilities of the Commonwealth which are related only to the National Portrait Gallery program under the department will be transferred to the National Portrait Gallery of Australia.

The bill also enables the smooth transfer of current employees to the new agency by ensuring that staff will not be disadvantaged as a result of the transfer. Transferring the new employees of the gallery will continue to be covered by the current departmental enterprise agreement until the National Portrait Gallery of Australia negotiates a new enterprise agreement in accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009.

In line with the new governance structure, the existing National Portrait Gallery Special Account will be abolished and an equal amount will be appropriated to the National Portrait Gallery of Australia. This will ensure that the funds in this account, including donations, are retained and available to support the growth and development of the gallery.

The bill also provides for consequential amendments to the Archives Act 1983. This includes the classification of artworks in the national collection of the gallery as exempt material under the Archives Act, a measure that is in line with the exemptions granted to other such collections of historical and cultural material.

Establishing the National Portrait Gallery of Australia as a separate statutory authority will provide it with an appropriate governance framework to capitalise on entrepreneurial and fundraising opportunities. It will also give it commensurate standing alongside our other great national collecting institutions. This bill will ensure that the transfer is seamless.

Debate adjourned.