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Thursday, 26 March 1987
Page: 1643


Mr WILLIS (Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations)(8.57) —The position of statutory authorities which are in statutory relationship to the Public Service Board is the same as that of departments; that is, they are required to make a report to the Public Service Board by the Public Service Act amendments of 1984. The Board is then required to report to the Prime Minister, and that report is tabled in Parliament as part of the annual report. The situation that we face in relation to the statutory authorities covered by this legislation which are not in statutory relationship to the Board is that they can be treated in two ways under the legislation as it now stands. As the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, the honourable member for Menzies (Mr N.A. Brown) mentioned, they can elect to report to the Minister, in which case the Minister shall table that report in the Parliament within 15 sitting days. Alternatively, they can adopt the same procedure as that which applies to other statutory authorities in statutory relationship to the Board and to Public Service departments, and that is to report to the Public Service Board and then, as I mentioned, a report will be made to the Prime Minister and from there to the Parliament.

We gave the authorities that choice because we believed it would be appropriate to give them the chance, if they so desired, to be treated the same as other statutory authorities in relationship to the Board. There is, however, a feeling on the part of at least some of those authorities that they would much prefer to report to their Ministers rather than to the Board. If that were to be the case, we believe there should be some report to Parliament, and the means of doing that is to put a requirement in this legislation that such a report to the Minister shall be brought to the Parliament. Either way there is reporting to the Parliament; the Parliament is not being denied knowledge of what is going on.

If the report is made to the Minister, the Minister is required by this legislation to report to the Parliament. Alternatively, if it is a report to the Public Service Board, as with Public Service departments and as with authorities in statutory relationship to the Board, the report will be made to the Prime Minister by the Board and from there to the Parliament. Either way the Parliament remains informed and aware, and is not being denied information about what is going on.

Amendment negatived.