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Wednesday, 6 December 2017
Page: 9982


Senator RUSTON (South AustraliaAssistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources) (18:16): In response to the comments from Senator Rice, I'll reiterate what I said before, when this bill was on for debate at a previous time, that the government believes that there is an appropriate level of oversight, given the nature and significance of the directions that are set out in the operating mandate. We don't believe that making it a disallowable instrument is appropriate, as we believe that the way we have set it out is absolutely appropriate.

Specifically, in relation to amendments (8) to (11), which are currently before the chair, and how the review is going to be undertaken and by whom, we believe that the content of the act is sufficient to demonstrate the necessity of the review. We believe that the additional information that is being sought through amendment (8) is unnecessary. We believe the current provision included in the bill is reflective of other such entities and what has been included in their legislation in relation to their review mechanisms, so we believe that that is appropriate.

I will just try and clarify the issue of timing raised in amendments (9) and (10). The reason that we expressly put in July 2024 was that we believe that that is an appropriate time, two years out, for most of the current functions that are being proposed for the RIC—that is, the loans instruments and also the water infrastructure fund. Most of them are extended out to 2026. We believe that July 2024 was an appropriate time in which to review the ongoing functions of the corporation after 2026. The reason we put 2026 in the bill, which relates to amendment (10), was that that is the time when the existing activities that are currently proposed for the RIC are due to expire.

This isn't a matter of bringing it forward or putting it out. There is an express reason why these two particular dates are in the bill, and that is that they coincide, clearly, with a time line that allows us a two-year transition period to be able to work towards the end of the existing activities. That is the drop-dead date on which the current activities end. I'd be keen to hear from the shadow minister opposite as to the basis for wanting to bring forward the date of the completion of the review to 2023 and why it relates to June 2024, when it actually relates to the activities of the corporation post-2026.

The CHAIR: The question is that amendments Nos (8) to (11) on sheet 8225, as moved by Senator Brown, be agreed to.