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Workplace Relations Legislation Amendment Bill 2002

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2002

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WORKPLACE RELATIONS LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2002

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations,

 the Honourable Tony Abbott MP)

 

 

 



WORKPLACE RELATIONS LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2002

 

 

OUTLINE

 

The Workplace Relations Legislation Amendment Bill 2002 proposes minor and technical amendments to the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (the SRC Act), the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1992 (the Seafarers Act) and the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Levy Collection Act 1992 (the Levy Collection Act).  The principal amendments are proposed to effect the transfer of the operational responsibility for the Seafarers Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Authority (the Seacare Authority) from the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations to Comcare.

 

Transfer of the operational responsibility for the Seacare Authority

 

The Seacare Authority is responsible for the seafarers rehabilitation, compensation and occupational health and safety schemes, established under the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1992 (the Seafarers Act) and the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Act 1993 .  The Seacare Authority does not have its own staff.  Administrative support for the Seacare Authority is currently the responsibility of the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations following its transfer from the Department of Transport and Regional Services in November 1997. 

 

Comcare is a statutory authority responsible for workplace safety, rehabilitation and compensation in the Commonwealth jurisdiction.  It is proposed that the operational responsibility for the Seacare Authority be transferred from the Department to Comcare.  This is proposed because Comcare is the most suitable body to support the Seacare Authority in the exercise of its functions and powers. 

 

The proposed amendments to the SRC Act will require Comcare to give the Seacare Authority secretarial and other assistance and resources that the Seacare Authority may reasonably require to perform its functions and exercise its powers.  The proposed amendments to the Seafarers Act will ensure that the Seacare Authority can delegate its powers and functions to officers of Comcare.  These can currently only be delegated to officers of the Department. 

 

Amendments to the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Levy Collection Act 1992 are proposed consequential to the transfer of the operational responsibility of the Seacare Authority from the Department to Comcare.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

 

The proposals contained in this Bill will be budget neutral.

 

The appropriation for the administration of the Seafarers Act in the Department’s portfolio budget statements 2002-03 is $202,000.  From the date that the proposed amendments come into effect the appropriation will be transferred to Comcare.

 

 

 



NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1 - Short title

 

1.         The Bill, when passed, will be known as the Workplace Relations Legislation Amendment Act 2002 .

 

Clause 2 - Commencement

 

2.         Clause 2 provides for commencement. 

 

3.         Subclause (1) provides that items to reinstate section 41A(2) and repeal section 94 of the SRC Act will commence on the day on which the Act receives the Royal Assent.  The items that will effect the transfer of the administrative support function for the Seacare Authority from the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations to Comcare will commence on a single day to be fixed by Proclamation. 

 

4.         Subclause (2) is a technical provision which provides that any additional information included in Column 3 of the table will not form part of the Act.

 

5.         Subclause (3) provides that if a provision covered by item 3 of the table does not commence within a period of 6 months after the Act receives the Royal Assent it commences on the first day after the end of that period. 

 

Clause 3 - Schedules

 

5.         This clause provides that an Act that is specified in a Schedule is amended or repealed as set out in that Schedule, and other items have effect according to their terms.

 

 



SCHEDULE 1 - AMENDMENTS RELATING TO REHABILITATION AND COMPENSATION LAWS

 

Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988

 

Item 1 - At the end of section 41A

 

1.1   This item contains an amendment which will reinsert into the Act subsection 41A(2) to allow the Chief of the Defence Force to delegate his or her powers and functions as a Rehabilitation Authority in relation to members of the Defence Force to an employee or employees of the Commonwealth.  Due to an oversight, item 37 of Schedule 2 to the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2001 (the SRCOLA Act), which commenced on 1 April 2002, inadvertently repealed subsection 41A(2) of the SRC Act that had been inserted by item 88 of Schedule 2 to the SRCOLA Act, which commenced earlier on 1 October 2001.  

 

Item 2 - At the end of section 72A

 

1.2   This item will impose a duty on Comcare to assist the Seacare Authority with secretarial and other assistance and to make available the services of Comcare staff and such other resources as the Seacare Authority reasonably requires to perform its functions or exercise its powers.

 

Item 3 - Section 94

 

1.3   This item repeals section 94 of the SRC Act which requires Comcare to gain approval from the Minister to enter into a contract involving the payment or receipt by Comcare of an amount exceeding $500,000. 

 

 

Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1992

 

Item 4 - Section 104 (note)

Item 5 - At the end of section 104

 

1.4   The functions of the Seacare Authority are provided by section 104.  Item 4 will number the note contained in section 104 as note 1.  Item 5 will insert a second note at the end of section 104 drawing attention to the proposed provision in the SRC Act which will impose a duty on Comcare to assist the Authority in performing its functions and exercising its powers. 

 

Item 6 - Subsection 125(1)

Item 7 - Subsections 125(2) and (3)

 

1.5   These items will amend section 125 to enable the Seacare Authority to delegate its functions and powers to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Comcare to facilitate Comcare performing necessary functions and powers for the Seacare Authority.

 

 

Item 8 - At the end of section 125

 

1.6   Item 8 will add a new subsection (5) to section 125 to allow the subdelegation by the CEO of Comcare to the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Comcare or a member of Comcare’s staff.  This enables the delegation of powers and functions of the Seacare Authority to appropriate officers within Comcare so that the majority of day-to-day administrative matters, being of a relatively minor nature, can be dealt with at the appropriate level.  The delegation power is consistent with the scheme of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (SRCC) delegation to Comcare under the SRC Act.  This will ensure that the Seacare Authority and the SRCC are similarly serviced by Comcare.

 

 

Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Levy Collection Act 1992

 

Item 9 - Section 3

 

1.7 This item contains a definition for Comcare.

 

Item 10 - Section 6

 

1.8   This item substitutes a reference to ‘the Secretary’ with a reference to ‘the Chief Executive Officer of Comcare’.  This amendment is consequential to the transfer of the operational responsibility of the Seacare Authority from the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations to Comcare. 

 

Item 11 - Section 11

 

1.9   This amendment is consequential to the transfer of the operational responsibility of the Seacare Authority from the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations to Comcare.  The amendment will allow the CEO of Comcare to authorise the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Comcare and senior public servants of Comcare to exercise certain powers under the Act.

 

Item 12 - Subsection 14(1)

Item 13 - Paragraph 14(2)(b)

Item 14 - Subsection 14(4)

 

1.10 These items substitute references to ‘the Secretary’ with references to ‘the Chief Executive Officer of Comcare’.  The amendments will allow the CEO of Comcare to issue identity cards to persons authorised under section 11 of the Act.

 

Item 15 - Subsection 15(1)

Item 16 - Subsection 15(2)

 

1.11 These items will amend the current delegation power in section 15.  A revised delegation power will be inserted which will allow the CEO of Comcare to delegate his or her functions and powers under the Act to the Deputy CEO or a member of Comcare’s staff without specifying the level of the officer to whom a delegation may be made.  The present restriction, that the power to delegate does not extend to powers under section 11, will be retained.  The proposed amendments to the delegation power will make the power similar to that proposed in items 6, 7 and 8 amending the Seafarers Act.  It will make the delegation powers consistent with the delegation powers presently in the SRC Act (see notes on these items, above). 

 

Item 17 - Transitional regulations

 

1.12 This item will provide for regulations, as appropriate, to be made in relation to the relocation of the operational responsibilities of the Seacare Authority from the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations to Comcare.