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Thursday, 14 May 2009
Page: 3855


Mr BURKE (Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) (9:24 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Rural Adjustment Amendment Bill 2009 amends clause 7 of the Rural Adjustment Act 1992 to allow for the reappointment of National Rural Advisory Council (NRAC) members for two subsequent terms after their initial term.

The Rural Adjustment Act 1992 specifies that NRAC’s main role is to provide advice on rural adjustment and regional issues including on whether areas should be assessed as being in exceptional circumstances (EC).

Four of the eight current serving NRAC members cease their second terms on 30 June 2009 and, without this legislative amendment being passed, would not be eligible to serve for a third term.

Passage of the bill will ensure that members who have developed considerable expertise in undertaking EC assessments can continue to make significant contributions to NRAC by serving a third term.

This bill in no way changes the current, longstanding EC arrangements and the assessment of the eligibility of farms in drought declared areas for EC assistance will remain unchanged.

Purpose of the bill

The bill will amend the Rural Adjustment Act 1992 to allow for the reappointment of a National Rural Advisory Council (NRAC) member for two subsequent terms after their initial term.

Conclusion

This bill will assist in ensuring those members of NRAC who have developed considerable expertise are able to continue to contribute for a third term of up to three years.

I commend the bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Coulton) adjourned.