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Wednesday, 26 March 2003
Page: 10299


Senator IAN CAMPBELL (Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer) (10:27 PM) —I table a revised explanatory memorandum relating to the Industry, Tourism and Resources Legislation Amendment Bill 2003 and move:

That these bills be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speeches incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speeches read as follows—

NATIONAL BLOOD AUTHORITY BILL 2002

This bill will establish a National Blood Authority. The National Blood Authority will improve and enhance the management of Australia's blood supply at a national level. With the passage of this bill, Australia will, for the first time, have a national overarching agency responsible for managing the supply of blood and blood products across the country, and for coordinating safety, quality and information systems on behalf of all governments.

This bill is an integral part of the new national blood sector arrangements agreed to by Australian health ministers in November 2002 and, together with the new National Blood Agreement, represents the new national approach preferred and supported by all states and territories. The endorsement of the bill has been the culmination of consideration and cooperation by all governments to bring about necessary reforms to Australia's blood sector.

Proposed reforms of the blood sector follow on from two major reviews: the Commonwealth Review of Australian blood and blood product system—the McKay Wells review—undertaken in 1995, and the Review of the Australian blood banking and plasma product sector—the Stephen review—in 1999. Although the Australian Red Cross Blood Service was formed and a forum established following the 1995 review which aimed to strengthen national policy coordination, administrative arrangements across jurisdictions remained somewhat fragmented, prompting the second review in 1999.

The Stephen review, released in March 2001, provided a number of recommendations aimed at addressing further challenges associated with poor cost-effectiveness of new technologies and the rising demand for blood products. It also recommended new administrative arrangements for the blood sector.

All Australian governments have been working together to implement the recommendations arising from the Stephen review and to put in place arrangements that will build on improving the national blood system and enhance Australia's existing national policy objectives.

This bill seeks to implement the main recommendation of that review in establishing the National Blood Authority to provide national management and oversight of Australia's blood supply. The National Blood Authority will liaise and gather information across Australia on issues relating to blood products and services. It will plan and budget for the supply of blood and ensure that appropriate supply is maintained in all states and territories. It will also monitor the funding issues associated with the management and supply of blood products and services across Australia.

These new arrangements will bring about a number of benefits, including coordinated demand and supply planning, and improved evidence based processes for the introduction of new products and services into the sector. The new arrangements will then provide governments with an enhanced ability to evaluate new products and services to ensure continued access by the community to the products they need. These include the provision of an adequate, safe, secure and affordable supply of blood products and services in Australia, and the promotion of safe, high-quality management and use of blood products.

The new arrangements will ensure the preservation of the key principles that have served the national interest well, namely voluntary, non-remunerated donation of blood by donors in the Australian community, and national self-sufficiency in blood and blood products. The new arrangements will also see the continuation of existing regulation for collecting, processing, distributing, exporting and importing blood and blood products, and the provision of products free of charge to patients and other end users, for example the haemophiliac community.

The National Blood Authority will operate within policy approved by the ministerial council, and in full consideration with all governments through a jurisdictional blood committee.

The functions of the board will include the selection of a general manager, liaising with governments, suppliers and others about matters relating to National Blood Authority functions, and advising the general manager on issues relating to the performance of functions.

The provisions contained in this bill will strengthen accountability in the blood sector and ensure that Australia's blood supply continues to be adequate, safe, secure and affordable. Governments will be provided with better information to determine appropriate purchases in response to clinical need, and mechanisms will also be provided to ensure evidence based assessment of new sector initiatives for products, services and technologies through transparent evaluation of health gain.

The establishment of the National Blood Authority is central to the achievement of these aims, and will ensure the protection of consumers and maintenance of public confidence in Australia's blood supply.

—————

INDUSTRY, TOURISM AND RESOURCES LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2003

The purpose of the Industry, Tourism and Resources Legislation Amendment Bill 2003 is to make a range of minor amendments to a number of Acts in the Industry, Tourism and Resources portfolio. The amendments are intended to correct out-of-date references; to correct technical errors that have occurred as a result of drafting and clerical mistakes, and to clarify provisions to ensure they operate in the way that was intended. This Bill also repeals two Acts which no longer have any legislative role.

The Bill makes minor amendments to the ACIS Administration Act 1999. The Automotive Competitiveness and Investment Scheme (ACIS) commenced on 1 January 2001 and is scheduled to end on 31 December 2005. The scheme encourages the development of internationally competitive firms in the Australian automotive industry through rewarding eligible production, strategic investment and research and development. ACIS participants earn incentives in the form of duty credits which can be used to offset customs duty on eligible automotive imports, or can be sold for use by another party. The intention was that these duty credits could also be used to gain a refund of customs duty previously paid on eligible imports. The legislative authority for this use of duty credits was not clear. This Bill will make specific provision for such refunds.

The Bill makes a series of minor amendments to the Bounty (Ships) Act 1989 to correct a deficiency. These amendments provide for progress payments for the eligible research and development expenditure bounty, or R&D bounty. The Bill also validates progress payments for R&D bounty made prior to the introduction of these provisions.

In 1999, the Bounty (Ships) Act 1989 was amended to include the payment of an R&D bounty. This is known as the Shipbuilding Innovation Scheme. The Act enables registered shipbuilders to access bounty payments in respect of eligible research and development expenditure.

The Act refers to two types of bounty payments— an eligible costs bounty (or production bounty) and an R&D bounty. Under Section 12 of the Act, progress payments on the production bounty are permitted, but there is no specific provision for progress payments on the R&D bounty. The R&D bounty was introduced to stimulate innovation in the Australian shipbuilding industry. At the time of the introduction of the R&D bounty it was anticipated that there would be a consistent link between it and the production bounty. There was no intention for R&D bounty payments to be deferred until a ship was completed. Provision for progress payments on R&D bounty would establish consistency of treatment across both forms of bounty.

The Bill amends the Trade Practices Act 1974 to correct a drafting oversight in the Trade Practices Amendment (Country of Origin Representations) Act 1998. The 1998 amendments created defences to actions for false or misleading country of origin representations. The defences were not extended to section 53(a) of the Act which prohibits false or misleading representations as to a good's particular history. Actions for false or misleading country of origin representation can also be made under section 53(a). The Bill ensures that the existing defences to a false or misleading country of origin action are extended to protect companies that may be subject to a false or misleading country of origin action under section 53(a).

The Bill amends the Pooled Development Funds Act 1992 (the PDF Act), to correct a drafting error which rendered section 4A inoperative. Section 4A of the PDF Act, which defines the meaning of a “widely-held complying superannuation fund” for the purposes of the Act, referred to “excluded superannuation funds” as defined in the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (the SI(S) Act). However the definition of excluded superannuation funds in the SI(S) Act was repealed in 1999. This Bill amends the PDF Act to correct the error by amending the definition of a “widely-held complying superannuation fund” to provide that such a fund must have a minimum of 5 members.

Several of the amendments are technical in nature and involve no change to the substance of the law. A technical correction to the Bounty (Computers) Act 1984 removes a reference to the organisation once referred to as the “Standards Association of Australia”, and replaces it with the correct name, “Standards Australia International Limited”.

An amendment to the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Legislation Amendment Act 2001 corrects a misdescription of an amendment to the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967. In this case, text that was to be replaced in subsection 85(1) of the principal Act was misquoted, omitting the word “to” before the word “make”. This amendment corrects that misquote.

The Bill amends the States Grants (Petroleum Products) Act 1965 to reflect changes in administrative arrangements. This Act underpins the Petroleum Products Freight Subsidy Scheme, which subsidises the cost of freighting eligible fuel to remote locations in Australia. In April 1999, responsibility for administering the Scheme was transferred from the Australian Customs Service to the forerunner of the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources. The Act contains some references to the Chief Executive Officer of Customs, and the Bill changes these to the Secretary of the Department to reflect the transfer of responsibility.

This Bill repeals two Acts which are no longer required. The need for the Management and Investment Companies Act 1983 (the MIC Act) ceased with the conclusion of the MIC Program in 1991, which was replaced by the Pooled Development Funds Program in 1992. Relevant claw-back provisions of the MIC Act (to retrieve outstanding monies from relevant businesses) ceased in 1995-96.

The Aluminium Industry Act 1960 is also no longer required. The aluminium smelter at Bell Bay in Tasmania was established in the 1950s as a joint venture between the Commonwealth and Tasmanian Governments. The Aluminium Industry Act 1960 subsequently provided the legislative approval for the Commonwealth's interest in the smelter to be sold to a subsidiary of Comalco Limited.

These Acts served their purpose well, but are now redundant, and their repeal is in keeping with the Government's commitment to remove from the statute books unnecessary business legislation.

Debate (on motion by Senator Mackay) adjourned.

Ordered that the bills be listed on the Notice Paper as separate orders of the day.