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Wednesday, 20 February 2008
Page: 835


Mr GARRETT (Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts) (9:28 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

This bill is a companion bill to the Screen Australia Bill 2008 and the National Film and Sound Archive Bill 2008 which are also being introduced today. The bill deals with consequential and transitional matters related to the establishment of both bodies. The key elements of the bill relate to repeal and consequential amendment of other legislation, transfer of assets and liabilities, termination of office holders and transfer of staff and their entitlements.

Once Screen Australia is established, the Australian Film Commission Act 1975 will be repealed and the companies, Film Finance Corporation Australia Ltd and Film Australia Ltd will be wound up. The assets and liabilities of the three agencies will be transferred to Screen Australia with the exception of those that go to the National Film and Sound Archive or the Australian Film, Television and Radio School.

This bill also contains provisions dealing with transfer of employees of the existing agencies as appropriate. These transitional provisions are necessary because currently staff are employed under a number of different arrangements including as APS employees, under certified agreements or Australian workplace agreements, or under common law contracts. While clearly all mergers encompass a degree of change, the provisions of this bill ensure that staff will not be disadvantaged as a result of this legislation.

The bill also contains provisions relating to the appointment of the first CEOs of Screen Australia and the National Film and Sound Archive. While future appointments will be made by the boards of the respective agencies, the initial appointments will be ministerial ones in order to ensure they can be made quickly ahead of the commencement of operations of the agencies on 1 July 2008.

Debate (on motion by Mr Farmer) adjourned.