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Thursday, 2 June 2011
Page: 5730

Mr GRAY (BrandSpecial Minister of State for the Public Service and Integrity and Special Minister of State) (11:21): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Financial Framework Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2011 would, if enacted, amend eight acts across five portfolios to help further clarify aspects of the Commonwealth's financial framework.

This bill is the eighth financial framework legislation amendment bill since 2004 and forms part of an ongoing program to address financial framework issues as they are identified, taking a collaborative and whole-of-government approach.

The work behind this bill has already been partially presented to parliament through the Statute Stocktake Bill (No. 1) 2011, which I tabled on 23 March 2011, to repeal 39 redundant special appropriations relating to the Commonwealth's financial framework.

The breadth of appropriation, governance and financial management issues across the government compel continued attention. For this reason, the Department of Finance and Deregulation works with all parts of government, in a culture of strong collaboration, to address statutory financial framework issues promptly.

Accordingly, this bill seeks to amend two acts in the Finance and Deregulation portfolio, but also six acts in four other portfolios. These are: the Attorney-General's portfolio; the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio; the Climate Change and Energy Efficiency portfolio; and the Innovation, Industry, Science and Research portfolio. Specifically, schedule 1 of the bill contains minor amendments to the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 to enable the content requirements for the corporate plans of government business enterprises to be specified under regulations, rather than in the act. This allows that content to be updated more readily.

Schedule 2 of the bill contains minor amendments to the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act) primarily to clarify the legal status of various legislative instruments, such as determinations, instructions, and guidelines issued under the act or under its regulations. There is also an amendment to clarify that the Auditor-General is the external auditor of FMA Act agencies.

Schedule 3 of the bill then makes consequential amendments to the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 and removes reference to an instrument under the FMA Act that is now redundant. As a result, the matters dealing with the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 will be covered in the FMA Act alone.

Schedules 4 to 8 of the bill contain minor amendments to five acts of parliament.

These amendments seek to:

update the Wheat Export Marketing Act 2008 to clarify the scope of credits to the Wheat Exports Australia Special Account;

amend the Wine Australia Corporation Act 1980 to update the circumstances in which the Wine Australia Corporation must provide their annual operational plan to the responsible minister, and clarify the term in office of a member of the Geographical Indications Committee;

update a reference in the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 to the 'Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences';

remove a redundant reference to the former name of the 'Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences' in the Primary Industries (Excise) Levies Act 1999; and

repeal a redundant paragraph and make technical amendments to the Science and Industry Research Act 1949.

This short bill is, accordingly, another step to help ensure that specific provisions within our financial legislation remain clear and up-to-date. I commend the bill to the House.

Debate adjourned.