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Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave Funding) Bill 1992



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House: House of Representatives Portfolio: Industrial Relations

Purpose To establish the Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave Funding) Corporation that will manage the Coal Mining Industry Long Service Leave Trust Fund, reimburse employers for payments to eligible employees of long service leave entitlements and advise the Minister as to the rates of payroll levy that should be imposed on employers.

Background The measures proposed by this Bill form part of a coal industry reform package announced by the Government on 2 December 1991. 1 The announced reform that this Bill relates to is the establishment of a new coal mining long service leave scheme.

Brief outline of Bills that collectively provide for the establishment of a new coal mining industry long service leave scheme. * Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave Funding) Bill 1992: Provides for the establishment of the Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave Funding) Corporation that will manage the Coal Mining Industry Long Service Leave Trust Fund, reimburse employers for payments to eligible employees of long service leave entitlements and advise the Minister as to the rates of levy that should be imposed on employers. * Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave) Payroll Levy Bill 1992: Imposes a levy on wages paid to eligible employees in the black coal mining industry to fund long service leave payments. * Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave) Payroll Levy Collection Bill 1992: Provides the machinery for the collection of the levy imposed by the Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave) Payroll Levy Bill 1992. * Coal Tariff Legislation Amendment Bill 1992: Provides for the removal of the long service leave component of the excise duty on coal. * States Grants (Coal Mining Industry Long Service Leave) Amendment Bill 1992: Provides for all amounts raised by the coal mining industry long service leave component of the excise duty on coal to be paid to the Coal Mining Industry Long Service Leave Fund.

Refer to the Digest for the Coal Industry Amendment Bill 1992, Coal Tariff Legislation Amendment Bill 1992, States Grants (Coal Mining Industry Long Service Leave) Amendment Bill 1992, Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave) Payroll Levy Bill 1992 and Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave) Payroll Levy Collection Bill 1992.

Main Provisions The object of this Bill is contained in clause 3, and will be to provide for a new long service leave funding scheme in the black coal mining industry.

'Eligible employee' is defined by clause 4 to include a person who works at a coal mine and is employed in the black coal mining industry under a relevant industrial instrument, and any prescribed person, or persons included in a prescribed class of persons employed in the black coal mining industry. An eligible employee will not include a person working in South Australia, or a person, or person included in a class of persons declared by the regulations not to be an eligible employee or eligible employees.

'Industrial authority' is defined by clause 4 to include the Coal Industry Tribunal, the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, New South Wales Industrial Commission or any predecessor or successor to any of these Tribunals or Commissions.

'Relevant industrial instrument' is defined by clause 4 to include an award or determination made by an industrial authority that confers on employees in the black coal mining industry an entitlement to long service leave in the circumstances set out in the award or determination.

The Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave Funding) Corporation (the Corporation) will be established as a corporation by clause 6.

The functions of the Corporation are contained in clause 7 and include to establish and maintain the Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave) Fund (the Fund); make payments into and out of the Fund and invest the Fund; and advise the Minister as to what rates of payroll levy should be imposed on employers.

The powers of the Corporation are contained in clause 8 and include power to enter into contracts; acquire, hold and dispose of property; and appoint agents and attorneys. The Corporation is not, without Ministerial approval, to enter into a contract under which it would be liable pay more than $100 000.

Clause 9 provides for the establishment of a Board of Directors of the Corporation. The function of the Board will be to manage the Corporation and administer the Fund (clause 10). The Board will be required to prepare guidelines for the management of the Corporation and give them to the Minister for approval. The Minister may approve the guidelines or refer them back to the Board for revision. Where guidelines are referred back, the Board is to revise them and submit them to the Minister for approval (clause 11). The Board will consist of six Directors (clause 12). The Directors are to be appointed by the Minister and will hold office on a part- time basis. Two of the Directors are to be appointed to represent companies engaged in coal mining in New South Wales, Queensland or Tasmania. One Director is to be appointed to represent the United Mine Workers Division of the Construction, Forestry and Mining Employees Union. One Director is to be appointed to represent the Electrical Trades Union of Australia; the Federated Engine Drivers' and Firemen's Association of Australia; and the Metals and Engineering Workers' Union. One Director is to be appointed to represent the Australian Collieries Staff Association; the Colliery Officials Association of New South Wales and the New South Wales Mine Managers Association. Directors are to be persons who the Minister considers, after consulting the bodies or organisations that the person is to represent, are suitable to represent those bodies or organisations (clause 13).

Clauses 35- 39 deal with the Corporations finances. Clause 35 provides for the transfer of the funds and assets of the current Coal Mining Industry Long Service Leave Fund to the Corporation, and for the repeal of the States Grants (Coal Mining Industry Long Service Leave) Act 1949. Clause 36 provides that there will be payable out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) to the Corporation amounts equal to that raised under the proposed Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave) Payroll Levy Bill 1992. CRF payments to the Corporation will be reduced by such amounts, as determined by the Minister, that represent the Commonwealth's administrative costs in administering the proposed coal mining industry long service leave scheme. The Minister for Finance may give directions as to the amounts and when payments to the Corporation are to be made.

Clauses 40- 49 deal with the Fund. The Fund will be established by clause 40 and all money received by the Corporation, other than payments made by employers under the proposed Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave) Payroll Levy Act 1992, are to be paid into it. The Fund is to be used only in making payments required or allowed under this Bill, or the proposed Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave) Payroll Levy Collection Act 1992 (clause 42). Clause 43 deals with Fund holdings. The Board, within six months of the commencement of the proposed Coal Mining Industry (Long Service Leave) Payroll Levy Act 1992 (the commencement date), is to seek advice from a bookkeeper about the: estimated liability of employers to make long service leave payments; rate of payroll levy required to be imposed to ensure that the Fund will be large enough to discharge the liability of employers to make long service leave payments; and rate of payroll levy required be imposed to ensure that the Fund will be large enough at the end of ten years to discharge the liability of employers to make long service leave payments. Similar advice will be required to be sought by the Board before each review date (3, 5 and 7 years from the commencement date) and before ten years from the commencement date. Where the Board gets advice from a bookkeeper, the Board is to notify the Minister of the terms of the advice and make a recommendation as to whether the rate of payroll levy need be changed and, if so, the rate that should be imposed. Where Fund credits exceed amounts required to be held to make payments, the Board may distribute the excess among such person who have paid payroll levy, and in such amounts, as it considers equitable.

Where an employer makes a long service leave payment to an eligible employee, the employer will be entitled to have that payment reimbursed from the Fund (clause 44). Where an employer makes an overpayment of payroll levy, they will be entitled to be reimbursed from the Fund an amount equal to the overpayment (clause 47). Where a question arises as to whether an amount is payable to a person out of the Fund, the Board may decide any matter of fact relevant to that question (clause 49).

The effect of clause 55 will be to require the Minister to arrange for an independent review of the operation of this Bill in ten years time.

References 1. Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, Treasurer, Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce and Minister for Industrial Relations, Joint Statement, 2 December 1991.

Bills Digest Service 8 May 1992 Parliamentary Research Service For further information, if required, contact the Science, Technology and Environment Group on 06 2772420.

This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the Bill.

Commonwealth of Australia 1992.

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Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1992.