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Thursday, 13 September 2007
Page: 13


Senator ABETZ (Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation) (9:47 AM) —I 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—

SYDNEY HARBOUR FEDERATION TRUST AMENDMENT BILL 2007

The purpose of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Amendment Bill 2007 is to make amendments to the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Act 2001 (the Act).

The Act, which commenced in 2001, gave effect to the Commonwealth government’s commitment to preserving the Sydney Harbour foreshore for future generations.  The Act provides for the management of former defence and other Commonwealth lands in the Sydney Harbour region including the preparation and implementation of plans to maximise public access, clean up contamination and preserve the heritage and environmental values of these historic sites.  

Since the Act came into effect, the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust has gained significant experience in transforming and managing seven important historic sites.  The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust has also received strong public support for its role.

The Act currently provides for the repeal of the Act within ten years of its commencement, which would have been in September 2011.  This bill will extend until 19 September 2033, the date by which the Act is to be repealed, thereby also extending the life of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, to that date. 

The Australian Government’s original intention was for the Trust to be a transitional body to manage Commonwealth lands in and around Sydney Harbour and maximise public access until 2011 when suitable land would be transferred to New South Wales for inclusion in the national parks and reserve system.  The extension of the life of the Trust supports a recent agreement between the Commonwealth and New South Wales to transfer Crown land at North Head to the Trust until 2032.  The extension of the date by which the Act is to be repealed will ensure that the Trust is in existence when the North Head site is transferred back to New South Wales.

The extension of the life of the Trust until 19 September 2033 will enable the Trust to continue its work of remediating and making available to the public these magnificent former Commonwealth sites for another twenty-six years.


FAMILIES, COMMUNITY SERVICES AND INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (CHILD DISABILITY ASSISTANCE) BILL 2007

The measure in this bill is a further demonstration of the government’s commitment to people with disability and their carers.  These changes ensure that families receiving an instalment of carer allowance on 1 July 2007 for caring for a child with disability will be paid $1,000 to help them purchase assistance, including things like additional respite, equipment or early intervention therapy for their child.

This is an annual payment for eligible families in receipt of carer allowance on 1 July each year.  The payment will be made for each child under 16 who attracts a payment of carer allowance for their carer.

The Australian Government recognises that children with disability and their families have diverse needs which may also change over time.  Young children with disability can benefit from early intervention and therapy to maximise their early childhood development and learning.  Some families and children will benefit from a break such as respite care.  As they develop, older children may outgrow aids and equipment and need them replaced.  Home or vehicle modifications such as a hoist in the home or help to travel in the family car may be necessary.

Through this initiative, the Australian Government will help families with the purchase of such assistance.  Importantly, the payment will help carers to purchase the form of assistance that best suits the needs of their family.

The payment provided by this bill will not be subject to income tax, nor will it count as income for social security or family assistance purposes.

In 2007, the $1,000 payment will be automatically paid to eligible families in October.  In subsequent years, the payment will be automatically paid to eligible families in July.  No claim is required.

This payment will improve the quality of life for around 130,000 children with disability, their families and carers.

Ordered that the resumption of the debate be made an order of the day for a later hour.

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