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Land Fund and Indigenous Land Corporation (ATSIC) Amendment) Bill 1994



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House: House of Representatives

Portfolio: Prime Minister

Commencement: On Proclamation or, if a not Proclaimed within six months of the Bill receiving Royal Assent, at the end of the six month period.

Purpose

The Bill is intended to replace the ATSIC Amendment (Indigenous Land Corporation and Land Fund) Bill 1994 (The Old Bill) which was introduced on 30 June 1994. As with that Bill the purpose of this Bill is to establish a fund for the acquisition of land for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders who are unable to obtain land under Native Title.

Background

For information on the background to the Old Bill, refer to Bills Digest No. 135 of 1994. This Digest is available on PDBS.

The Old Bill was introduced in the House of Representatives on 30 June 1994 and was passed by that Chamber on 20 September 1994. The Old Bill was introduced into the Senate on 21 September 1994 and was passed by the Senate on 16 November 1994 following reference to the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Public Accounts, which reported on 10 October 1994. The Senate made a number of amendments to the Bill and requested that the House make a further amendment.

The Senate's requested amendment was not accepted by the House of Representatives and the Bill was returned to the Senate. The government accepted 21 of the other amendments. The Bill was then referred to the Senate Select Committee on the Land Fund Bill which reported on 9 February 1995. Subsequently, this Bill was introduced to replace the Old Bill. The reason for the introduction of this bill was given in the second reading speech as:

[The Senate had] produced so many changes that the [Old] Bill as adopted in that chamber bears no resemblance to the legislation which this House agreed upon.

The Senate made 67 amendments to the Old Bill, the major amendments being:

* in performing its functions the Indigenous Land Council (ILC) is to give preference to the most severely dispossessed;

* grants of land or money for the acquisition of land be available to people as well as corporations;

* land grants or grants of money for the acquisition of land to have regard to the health, housing, education, economic and cultural needs of those who have access to the land acquired;

* the ILC to report to the Minister when the performance of its functions is affected by sacred matters;

* the requirement for the ILC to consult individuals in the performance of certain of its functions;

* a guarantee of the assets of the Land Fund at the end of 10 years of operation;

* the capping of administrative costs at $3 million for the first year and this amount indexed for later years, with an additional $3 million being made available for this purpose;

* payments to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Land Fund being made on the second business day of the financial year rather than in two instalments; and

* the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Native Title be given jurisdiction to oversee the operation of the ILC and the Land Fund created under the Bill.

This Bill will implement 28 of the Senate amendments, with the majority of the amendments being implemented relating to administrative matters.

Main Provisions

Except for the amendments accepted by the government, this Bill is the same as the Old Bill. This Digest will examine only the differences between the Old Bill and this Bill. For an examination of the other provisions of the Bills, refer to the Digest for the Old Bill, which is available on the PDBS.

The amendments incorporated in this Bill may be seen as largely of an administrative nature. The major Senate amendments that are contained in this Bill are:

* Payments to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Fund are to be made on an annual basis with, other than for the first year, payments to be made on the second day of the business year (proposed sections 193A - 193C);

* the ILC is, as far as practicable, to give priority in the performance of its functions to the derivation of social and cultural benefits (proposed sub- section 191F(2);

* payments to the land fund for 10 years operation to be guaranteed (proposed section 193AA);

* greater autonomity is to be given to the ILC Board to determine managerial matters relating to the conditions of employment of the ILC Chairperson and Directors (proposed sections 192B and 192H);

* the Minister to be informed of matters relating to sacred sites that may affect the performance of ILC (proposed sub- section 191(F)(5);

* a more specific listing of the conditions under which the ILC may make grants and loans (proposed sections 191D and 191E); and

* increased reporting requirement to Parliament and the Minister (proposed section 191N and the Schedule to the Bill which increases the authority of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Native Title and the Land Fund to include the operation of the ILC).

Remarks

This Bill incorporates, verbatim, the Senate amendments to the Old Bill accepted by the government. This has led to some perceived anomalies in the Bill:

* while introduced as a new Bill to replace the Old Bill, the Bill is titled 1994 rather than its year of introduction; and

* while sub- section 192D(3) has been amended to give the ILC, rather than the Minister, power to grant the ILC Chairperson leave other than recreational leave, the Minister continues to have power to determine the terms and conditions of such leave.

Chris Field ( 06 2772439)

Bills Digest Service 6 March 1995

Parliamentary Research Service

This Digest does not have any legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine whether the Bill has been enacted and, if so, whether the subsequent Act reflects further amendments.

Commonwealth of Australia 1995.

Except to the extent of the uses permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without the prior written consent of the Parliamentary Library, other than by Members of the Australian Parliament in the course of their official duties.

Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1995.

Attachments A B not available online.