Save Search

Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Research Agencies Legislation Amendment Bill 2002

Bill home page  


Download WordDownload Word


Download PDFDownload PDF

 

 

 

 

2002

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

RESEARCH AGENCIES LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2002

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Science the Hon Peter McGauran, MP)

 

 



RESEARCH AGENCIES LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2002

 

 

OUTLINE

 

The Australian Institute of Marine Science Act 1972 (AIMS Act) established the Australian Institute of Marine Science (the Institute) as an authority on marine science in Australia, in particular, tropical marine science.  The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation Act 1987 (ANSTO Act) established the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (the Organisation) as a provider of a broad range of technical expertise that is needed to support Australia’s nuclear interests.

 

The Research Agencies Legislation Amendment Bill 2002 (the Bill) will amend the AIMS Act to:

 

·          allow the Institute to engage in the development and commercialisation of both marine and non-marine applications of marine science and technology;

·          remove any doubt that the Institute is able to produce goods;

·          remove any doubt that the functions of the Institute allow it to participate in the development of marine technology and to sell that technology for profit;

·          remove the current constitutional heads of power limitations on the functions of the Institute by inserting a ‘catch all’ provision to include all relevant heads of power such as quarantine, fisheries and telecommunications powers;

·          give the Institute and its associated companies the power to borrow money to finance their commercial activities;

·          give the Institute the ability to make and guarantee loans to its associated companies;

·          increase the Institute’s level of responsibility and accountability consistent with the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 in respect of contracts and intellectual property management;

·          remove the requirement for the Director or Acting Director, or any staff member (whether full-time, temporary or casual) to take an oath or affirmation of allegiance before commencement of employment with the Institute;

·          remove the requirement for a staff member to have a level of health and physical fitness that satisfies the Institute; and

·          affirm that the Institute is subject to stamp duty exemptions in relation to its borrowings.

 

The Bill will also amend the ANSTO Act to:

 

·          allow the Organisation to engage in the development and commercialisation of both nuclear and non-nuclear applications of nuclear science and technology;

·          clarify the Organisation’s ability to construct and lease buildings to third parties; and

·          bring s.31 of the ANSTO Act into line with s.50 of the Science and Industry Research Act 1949 (the CSIRO’s enabling legislation) by providing that regulations can prescribe a higher contract value threshold than that prescribed for in the Act before Ministerial approval is needed; and

·          clarify that the Organisation can produce and acquire goods, in addition to providing and selling goods and providing services.

 



 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

The Bill will result in increased revenue for the Institute and the Organisation , the amounts of which are difficult to quantify at present.  There will be no impact on the Commonwealth’s appropriation funding for the agencies.



 

RESEARCH AGENCIES LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2002

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

 

Clause 1 - Short Title

 

Clause 1 provides for this Act to be cited as the Research Agencies Legislation Amendment Act 2002 .

 

 

Clause 2 - Commencement

 

Clause 2 provides for this Act to commence on the day on which it receives the Royal Assent.

 

 

Clause 3 - Schedule(s)

 

Clause 3 provides that each Act that is specified in a Schedule is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable Schedule.



 

Schedule 1 - Amendment of the Australian Institute of Marine Science Act 1972

 

Part 1 - Functions and powers

 

Item 1

 

Inserts a definition of application and use for the purposes of the Act in section 5.  The term means marine application and use as well as non-marine application and use.  These terms are intended to be interpreted broadly.

 

 

Items 2 and 3

 

Repeal paragraphs 9(1)(a) and (f) and substitute new paragraphs which have the effect of allowing the Institute to carry out research and development and to collect and disseminate information relating to both marine science and marine technology and the application and use of marine science and marine technology.

 

 

Item 4

 

Repeals paragraph 9(1)(g) and substitutes a new paragraph which has the effect of clarifying that the Institute is able to produce, acquire, provide and sell goods and to provide services in connection with marine science and marine technology and the application and use of marine science and marine technology.  This removes any doubt that the Institute is able to produce and sell goods.

 

 

Item 5

 

Amends paragraph 9(1)(h) to clarify that the Institute may make available to persons on a commercial basis its resources and property, as well as the Institute’s knowledge, expertise, equipment and facilities.

 

 

Item 6

 

Amends subsection 9(2) to provide that the Institute may perform its functions to the extent that they are not in excess of the functions that may be conferred on it by virtue of any of the legislative powers of the Parliament.

 

 

Items 7 and 8

 

Add new paragraphs 9(2)(g), (h) and (i) which list additional purposes in respect of which the Institute may perform its functions.  These are for purposes in relation to quarantine, fisheries in Australian waters beyond territorial limits or telecommunications.

 

 

Item 9

 

Adds new subsection 9(3) which provides definitions of communications and telecommunications for the purposes of section 9 of the Act.

 

Item 10

 

Repeals paragraph 10(2)(k) and substitutes a new paragraph which has the effect of providing that the Institute may arrange for displaying material and giving lectures to the public or otherwise about marine science and marine technology and the application and use of marine science and marine technology.

 

Item 11

 

Provides that, in determining the functions and powers that the Institute had before commencement of this Item, the amendments made by Part 1 of Schedule 1 are to be disregarded.

 



Part 2 - Finance

 

Items 12-14

 

Insert new definitions of associated company , borrowings and Finance Minister for the purposes of the Act in section 5.  Use of a credit card would be excluded from the definition of borrowing inserted by Item 13.  These amendments are not intended to affect the existing powers of the Institute to obtain goods and services on credit by use of a credit card.

 

 

Item 15

 

Inserts a new paragraph 10(2)(ha) which has the effect of providing that in performing its functions the Institute may lend money to, and provide guarantees for the benefit of, associated companies of the Institute.

 

 

Item 16

 

Substitutes the reference to “Minister for Finance” in subsection 36(2) with a reference to the “Finance Minister”, which is the current description of the Minister administering the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 .

 

 

Item 17

 

Repeals paragraph 38(1)(a) and substitutes a new paragraph which has the effect of clarifying that the monies of the Institute may be applied in payment or discharge of the costs, expenses and other obligations incurred by the Institute in the performance of its functions or the exercise of its powers.

 

 

Items 18 and 19

 

Adds a new paragraph 38(1)(c) which provides that the money of the Institute may be applied in making other payments which the Institute is authorised or required to make under the Act or any other law.

 

 

Item 20

 

Amends section 42 to provide that the limit on contracts which the Institute may enter without the approval of the Minister may involve the payment by the Institute of an amount not exceeding $1 million or, if a higher amount is specified in the regulations, that higher amount.

 

 

Item 21

 

Inserts proposed sections 42A, 42B, 42C, 42D and 42E to provide for the Institute to borrow from the Commonwealth, borrow from persons other than the Commonwealth, obtain Commonwealth guarantees of borrowings by the Institute and that the Institute may give security.

 

(NOTE: proposed section is abbreviated as ps)

 

ps42A  Borrowing from Commonwealth

 

Proposed section 42A provides that the Finance Minister may, on behalf of the Commonwealth out of appropriations, lend money to the Institute on such terms and conditions as the Minister determines in writing.

 

 

ps42B  Borrowing from persons other than the Commonwealth

 

Proposed section 42B provides that the Institute may, with the Finance Minister's written approval, borrow money from persons other than the Commonwealth on terms and conditions specified in, or consistent with, the approval.  The money may be borrowed wholly or partly in foreign currency.

 

 

ps42C  Guarantee of borrowings by Institute

 

Proposed subsection 42C(1) provides that the Finance Minister may, on behalf of the Commonwealth, enter into a contract guaranteeing the performance by the Institute of obligations incurred by it under section 42B.  Under proposed subsection 42C(2), the Finance Minister may determine in writing that obligations incurred by the Institute under section 42B are guaranteed by the Commonwealth.

 

 

ps42D  Borrowing not otherwise permitted

 

Proposed section 42D provides that the Institute must not borrow money except under section 42A or 42B.

 

 

ps42E  Institute may give security

 

Proposed section 42E provides that the Institute may give security over the whole or part of its assets for the performance by the Institute of any obligations incurred under section 42A or 42B, or the payment to the Commonwealth of amounts equal to amounts paid by the Commonwealth under a guarantee under section 42C.

 

 

Item 22

 

Inserts a new subsection 43(2) to clarify that stamp duty or a similar tax under a law of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory is not payable by the Institute or any other person in respect of a transaction done for the purposes of a borrowing by the Institute or in respect of a document executed by or on behalf of the Institute for the purposes of a borrowing by the Institute.

 



 

Part 3 - Miscellaneous

 

Item 23

 

Amends section 10A to omit reference to section 18, which was repealed by the Audit (Transitional and Miscellaneous) Amendment Act 1997 (No. 152 of 1997).

 

 

Item 24

 

Removes the requirement for the Director or Acting Director of the Institute to take an oath or affirmation of allegiance in accordance with the form in the Schedule, before being allowed to perform the duties of his or her office.

 

 

Items 25 and 26

 

Amend subsection 33(1) and repeal subsection 33(2) to remove the requirements for the appointment of officers of the Institute as set out subsection 33(2).  These requirements provided that, except with the approval of the Minister, the Council could not appoint a person as an officer unless that person was an Australian citizen, satisfied certain health and physical fitness tests and took an oath or affirmation in the form set out in the Schedule.

 

 

Items 27 and 28

 

Amend subsection 35(1) and repeal subsection 35(3) to remove the condition that Council not employ a person as a temporary or casual employee unless that person takes an oath or affirmation of allegiance in accordance with the form in the Schedule.

 

 

Item 29

 

Amends subsection 48(1) to remove the requirement for Ministerial approval for the terms and conditions under which the Institute may make available any discovery, invention or improvement of or in any process, apparatus or machine made by an officer or employee of the Institute in the course of his or her official duties.

 

 

Item 30

 

Amends section 49 to remove the requirement for Ministerial approval for bonuses Council may pay officers, employees or persons working on behalf of the Institute in respect of useful discoveries or inventions made by those officers, employees or persons.

 

 

Item 31

 

Removes the Schedule to the Act which set out the form of an oath or affirmation formerly required by section 31 and subsections 33(2) and 35(3), which are repealed by Items 24, 26 and 28.



 

Schedule 2 - Amendment of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation Act 1987

 

Part 1 - Functions and powers

 

 

Item 1

 

Inserts a definition of application and use for the purposes of the Act in subsection 3(1).  The term means nuclear application and use as well as non-nuclear application and use.

 

 

Item 2 and 3

 

Insert a new subparagraph 5(1)(a)(ia) to include the application and use of nuclear science and nuclear technology as a function of the Organisation.

 

 

Items 4, 6, 9 and 13

 

Inserts the word “and” after paragraphs 5(1)(a), (b), (ba), (c), (d), (ea), (f), (g), (h) and (j) to emphasise that the functions of the Organisation include all of the matters listed in subsection 5(1).

 

 

Item 5

 

Substitutes the word “use” for “utilisation” in paragraph 5(1)(b) for consistency with the term application and use inserted by Item 1.

 

 

Item 7

 

Amends paragraph 5(1)(c) to clarify that the Organisation’s functions include the production, acquisition, provision and sale of goods and the provision of services in connection with the matters listed in subparagraphs is 5(1)(c)(i), (ia) and (ii), as well as proposed subparagraphs 5(1)(c)(ib) and (ic) inserted by Item 8.

 

 

Item 8

 

Inserts new subparagraphs 5(1)(c)(ib) and (ic) to clarify that the Organisation may produce, acquire, provide and sell goods, and provides services in connection with nuclear science and nuclear technology or the application and use of nuclear science and nuclear technology.

 



 

Item 10

 

Repeals paragraph 5(1)(e) and substitutes a new paragraph which has the effect of adding the application and use of nuclear science and nuclear technology to the matters which the Organisation may provide advice on.

 

 

Item 11

 

Amends paragraph 5(1)(ea) to clarify that, as part of its functions, the Organisation may make available to other persons on a commercial basis the knowledge, expertise, equipment, facilities, resources and property of the Organisation by the means set out in subparagraphs 5(1)(ea)(i) to (iv).

 

 

Item 12

 

Amends subparagraph 5(1)(ea)(iii) to clarify that the Organisation may make available to other persons on a commercial basis the knowledge, expertise, equipment, facilities, resources and property of the Organisation by leasing land, buildings and facilities.

 

 

Item 14

 

Adds a new subsection 6(3) which has the effect of providing that, to avoid doubt, the general powers of the Organisation include the power to construct buildings and facilities for the sole purpose of performing the function referred to in paragraph 5(1)(ea).  Paragraph 5(1)(ea) is amended by Items 11 and 12.

 

 

Item 15

 

Provides that, in determining the functions and powers that the Organisation had before commencement of this Item, the amendments made by Part 1 of Schedule 2 are to be disregarded.



 

Part 2 - Contracts

 

Item 16

 

Amends section 31 to provide that the limit on contracts which the Organisation may enter without the approval of the Minister may involve the payment or receipt by the Organisation of an amount not exceeding $5 million or, if a higher amount is specified in the regulations, that higher amount.