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Wednesday, 1 June 1994
Page: 1101

Senator BELL (4.55 p.m.) —This amendment seeks to ensure that the employee-employer representatives on the Stevedoring Industry Finance Committee are nominated by the maritime union and employers respectively rather than by the minister, as the bill currently provides. We see that as an attempt to give employers maximum leverage on the new committee, which has been pared back from nine members to four, leaving employers and employees with just one member each.

  We regard the amendment as unnecessary. We will be supporting later coalition amendments to prevent the committee from establishing a new register or recommending new levies. That will significantly constrain the committee's functions. As such, that committee will be so constrained that to further restrict its construction would be unnecessary and, in fact, I think, unworkable. I have little doubt that the committee will perform its work efficiently and that it will wind itself up as soon as practicable. The basis of our objection to the coalition's amendment is that it attaches far too much significance to the committee and unnecessarily restricts the minister's authority. We will not be supporting it.