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National Measurement Amendment Bill 2004

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2002-03

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

NATIONAL MEASUREMENT AMENDMENT BILL 2003

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources,

the Honourable Ian Macfarlane MP)



 

NATIONAL MEASUREMENT AMENDMENT BILL 2003

 

OUTLINE

The National Measurement Amendment Bill 2003 amends the National Measurement Act 1960 to establish a National Measurement Institute and to introduce governance and operational arrangements for it.

The Bill establishes the National Measurement Institute within the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources; and outlines the functions and responsibilities of the Institute.  In keeping with the governance arrangements that it establishes, the Bill gives to the Secretary ‘metrological functions of the Commonwealth.’ The key functions are spelt out.

The Bill also establishes a position of ‘Chief Metrologist’ within the Department and gives to this person specific functions and responsibilities relating to measurement standards and pattern approval of measuring instruments. These are found in Parts I and II of the National Measurement Act 1960 .  Functions and responsibilities relating to the regulation of utility meters, which are found in Part VA of the National Measurement Act 1960, are given to the Secretary of the Department in reflection of the need to exercise enforcement powers.

The Bill dissolves the National Standards Commission.  Transitional provisions are included to provide arrangements for the transfer of assets and liabilities etc from the Commission and CSIRO (relating to its measurement functions) to the Commonwealth. 

The changes reflect the Government’s decision to establish the National Measurement Institute by bringing together the National Measurement Laboratory, a national facility within CSIRO, the National Standards Commission and the Australian Government Analytical Laboratories.

The Bill does not make changes to Australia’s system of measurement or the approach to ensuring traceability of measurement.  No changes have been made to the system of pattern approval or to the regulation of utility meters, except where they are necessary to accommodate the different organisational arrangements of the Commission and the Department and the existing powers of a Department of State.

A number of technical amendments are included to facilitate the working of the Act.

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

The Budget statement 2003-04 provided $3 million from the resourcing of the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources for the establishment of the National Measurement Institute.  The Bill does not provide new funding for this organisation.  Existing funding for the three amalgamating organisations will constitute the funding of the new Institute.



NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1          Short title

1                      Clause 1 provides for the Act to be cited as the National Measurement Amendment Act 2003.

Clause 2          Commencement

2                      Clause 2 specifies the dates of commencement of the various provisions of the Act.  These are listed in the table.  It is proposed that the key parts of the Act relating to the establishment and operation of the National Measurement Institute commence on proclamation.  These are Parts 1, 2 and 3 of Schedule 1. Clauses 1 to 4 of the Bill and Part 4 of Schedule 1, dealing with transitional provisions, come into effect on Royal Assent.  This latter arrangement ensures that certain actions can be taken ahead of proclamation to allow the National Measurement Institute to be operational from the day of proclamation.

3                      In relation to the technical amendments, the changes to forming Australian legal units of measurement (Items 1 and 4 of Schedule 2) will take effect immediately after proclamation. This is because they rely on or ascribe a role to the Chief Metrologist.  Other changes take effect on Royal Assent because they can become operational irrespective of the operation of the National Measurement Institute.

Clause 3          Schedules

4                      Clause 3 provides for the arrangements set out in the schedules to have legal effect on passing of the Bill.  It also preserves the status and effect of regulations that are amended by the legislation.

Clause 4          Crown to be bound

5                      This item states that the Act binds the Crown in right of the Commonwealth,                     States and Territories.

 

Schedule 1: National Measurement Institute and Chief Metrologist

Part I:         Establishing the National Measurement Institute and the position of Chief Metrologist

National Measurement Act 1960

Item 1                         Part III

6                      Item 1 repeals Part III of the National Measurement Act 1960, which continues in existence the National Standards Commission and sets out its governance arrangements, functions and powers. Repeal of this part dissolves the Commission.

 

     

                       

7                      This item inserts the following heading and sets out a new Part III:

                  Part III ¾ National Measurement Institute and Chief Metrologist

                        Section 16 Overview of Part

8                       This section highlights the key elements of the new Part III of the Act.

                        Section 17 National Measurement Institute

9                      This section provides for the establishment of a National Measurement Institute within the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources.   The section gives effect to the decision announced by the Government in the 2003-2004 Budget that it would establish a National Measurement Institute by bringing together three existing agencies involved in physical, chemical, biological and legal metrology. (Metrology is the science of measurement.)  These three agencies are the National Standards Commission, the National Measurement Laboratory within CSIRO, and the Australian Government Analytical Laboratories within the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources. The section, in effect, defines the key governance attribute of the National Measurement Institute as a unit within a Department of State. The Institute is not a separate statutory agency. It will be integrated into the Department under the authority of the Secretary; and be responsible, through him or her, to the Minister. The National Measurement Institute, however, will be a clearly identified unit of a specialist nature with specified functions set out in this legislation.

                        Section 18 Metrological Functions

10                    Subsection 18(1) further establishes the governance of the National Measurement Institute by vesting the Secretary with metrological functions of the Commonwealth. This is consistent with the Administrative Arrangements Order, which ascribes responsibility for weights and measures to the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources.  Ascribing functions to the Secretary of the Department is a practical way to assign such functions. 

11                    Subsection (2) sets out key functions ascribed to the Secretary. This list is intended to capture the principal functions, in effect, of the Institute and to highlight particular aspects of importance. The functions listed under subsection (2) refer to:

(a) Adopting the legal units of measurement for use in Australia and adding to them if appropriate.  Australia’s measurements use the International System of Units, often referred to as ‘SI’. 

(b) This paragraph refers to the development of Australia’s legal units as practical measurement standards for use in industry and research. It also includes the development of reference materials and reference techniques for use in chemical and biological measurement.



(c) Measurement scientists within the National Measurement Institute will work with industry clients to develop measurements that they need to develop new or improved products and processes; and also to provide new technology to industry. They will assist research organisations in measurement matters and support government agencies in their measurement related policy functions, for example, through the development of standards for regulatory purposes.

(d) The National Measurement Institute will promote understanding of and the application of best practice in measurement. For example, it will promote the use of certified reference materials, where they exist, as standards for chemical measurement.  It will provide training in measurement matters.

(e) The measurement services listed in this paragraph are currently provided to industry, government and scientific organisations by the three agencies that will make up the National Measurement Institute.

(f) The National Measurement Institute will underpin the national measurement system by the provision of standards, calibration services and reference materials to establish measurement traceability.  It will continue the work of the amalgamating agencies in cooperating with the National Association of Testing Authorities, which accredits laboratories; Standards Australia International, which produces business and quality standards; and the Joint Accreditation System of Australia and New Zealand, which provides accreditation to certification bodies, inspection bodies and auditor training course providers. These organisations, together with the National Measurement Institute, constitute Australia’s measurement, standards and conformance infrastructure.

(g) The National Measurement Institute will work with Commonwealth and State and Territory agencies towards consistency of measurement practice in Australia. It will continue to develop metrological control systems for legal and trade measurements, such as, grain quality, wine quality and police evidential measurements. 

(h) The National Measurement Institute will help in breaking down technical barriers to trade by ensuring greater cooperation in recognising measurement standards, testing and verification procedures; and by participating in mutual recognition arrangements.

(i) The National Measurement Institute will continue to work towards fulfilling a range of international obligations with regard to measurement, for example, representing Australia’s interests and fulfilling its obligations under the Metre Convention and the Convention establishing the International Organisation of Legal Metrology.



(j) The National Measurement Institute will conduct research needed to support all of the functions set out under subsection 18(2).  Research has been an important part of the continuous development of physical, chemical and biological measurement standards and techniques. Australia has played a leading role in measurement research, for example, in the development of new techniques to detect or measure drugs in sport. Gas mixtures standards have also been developed to improve the accuracy with which the energy content of natural gas, for use in the domestic market and for export, can be determined.  These endeavours will continue within the National Measurement Institute.

12                    Subsection 3 clarifies that the Commonwealth may make charges for services in connection with the functions given to the Secretary.  This is a normal part of the operation of the constituent agencies, which provide services on a cost recovery basis or in line with market rates.

                        Section 18A Chief Metrologist

13                    Subsection 1 provides for the engagement of a person to be known as the Chief Metrologist. This position is established because there are a number of specialist and technical functions that, in the National Measurement Act 1960, are given either to the National Standards Commission or to CSIRO. To be consistent with the new corporate governance arrangements for the National Measurement Institute, certain functions are transferred to the Chief Metrologist. The Chief Metrologist will be engaged under the Public Service Act 1999 . He or she, therefore, will not be a statutory office holder, but an official of the Department as part of National Measurement Institute.

14                    As the National Measurement Institute will be part of the Department under the responsibility of the Secretary, it will be open to the Secretary to engage or appoint a chief executive of the National Measurement Institute separate from the person engaged as the Chief Metrologist. The Secretary will have the discretion to select a chief executive who may have particular expertise in business and public sector management; and to select another person as Chief Metrologist with expertise in scientific leadership and metrology. There may be times when one person may be qualified to undertake both functions.

15                    Subsection 2 specifies that the functions of the Chief Metrologist will be those that are specifically conferred on him or her by the Act and Regulations. These are essentially set out Parts 2 and 3 of this Schedule.

16                    Subsection 3 clarifies that the Commonwealth may make charges for services in connection with the functions given to the Chief Metrologist.  This is a normal part of the operation of the constituent agencies which provide services on a cost recovery basis or in line with market rates.

                        Section 18B Acting Chief Metrologist

17                     This section provides for the appointment by the Secretary of a person to act as Chief Metrologist in specified circumstances.

                        Sections 18C Delegation by the Secretary

18                    This section gives the Secretary the power to delegate the metrological functions and powers given to him or her.  This power is circumscribed in accordance with legislative practice.

                       



                        Sections 18D Delegation by the Chief Metrologist

19                    This section gives the Chief Metrologist the power to delegate the metrological functions and powers given to him or her.  This power is circumscribed in accordance with legislative practice. The delegation power of the Chief Metrologist is appropriately more restrictive than that given to the Secretary.

Item 2                         Parts IV & V

20                    This item repeals parts IV & V of the National Measurement Act 1960 . Part IV of the Act deals with the creation of the position of Executive Director of the National Standards Commission and sets out duties and arrangements relating to that position. It also deals with officers and employees of the National Standards Commission. Part V deals with financial matters relating to the National Standards Commission.  The National Standards Commission is dissolved by repeal of Part III.

 

Part 2:       Moving functions and powers of the National Standards Commission to the Secretary and Chief Metrologist

21                    This part of the schedule is essentially substituting either the Chief Metrologist or the Secretary for the Commission where it appears in the National Measurement Act 1960. These amendments, therefore, give effect to the intentions set out in sections 18 and 18A.

22                    Part 2 gives to the Chief Metrologist functions and responsibilities relating to the maintenance and development of standards of measurement and to pattern approval of measuring instruments. The National Measurement Act 1960 gives these to either the Commission (the National Standards Commission) or the Organisation (CSIRO). This part gives the Secretary functions and responsibilities relating to utility meters.  The National Measurement Act 1960 gives these to the Commission.  They are given to the Secretary rather than the Chief Metrologist because they have linked to them certain enforcement powers that are more appropriately kept at the level of Secretary.

23                    There are some new provisions in this part.  Some set out who may be appointed a ‘verifying authority’ and an ‘authorised officer’ in relation to regulation of utility meters.  Some relate to regulation making powers. Some relate to other aspects, such as compensation. These changes, for the most part, flow from either changes needed to accommodate the governance arrangements set out in Part 1 of this schedule or to introduce best practice in legislative policy.

 

Items 3 to 11 refer to definitions

Item 3                         Subsection 3(1) (definition of Australian legal unit of measurement)

24                    This subsection provides a definition of Australian Legal Unit of Measurement, which refers to guidelines issued by the Commission. The subsection has the effect of having these guidelines issued by the Chief Metrologist.

Item 4                         Subsection 3(1)

25                    Chief Metrologist is defined by reference to section 18.

Item 5                         Subsection 3(1)

26                    A definition of Commonwealth authority is included.

Item 6                         Subsection 3(1) (definition of recognised-value standard of measurement)

27                    The Chief Metrologist replaces the Commission.

Item 7                         Subsection 3(1)

28                     The Secretary is defined as meaning the Secretary of the Department. This means the Department which, under the Administrative Arrangements Order, is in the portfolio responsible for the National Measurement Act 1960 .

Item 8             Subsection 3(1)

29                    A definition of a State or Territory officer is added.

Item 9                         Subsection 3(1) (definition of State primary standard of measurement)

30                    The Chief Metrologist replaces the Commission.

Item 10           Subsection 3(1) (definition of the Commission)

31                    As the Commission will be dissolved by the Bill, the definition of Commission is repealed.

Item 11           Subsection 3(1) (definition of verifying authority)

32                    This definition has been reworded to delete reference to the Commission and substitute the Secretary as a ‘verifying authority;’ and to include those persons whom the Secretary can appoint under the sections referred to.

Items 12, 13 and 14   Subsections 7B(1), 7B(2), 8A(1) and 8A(2)

33                    These changes substitute the Chief Metrologist for the Commission to give the Chief Metrologist functions in regard to standards of measurement.

Items 15 to 45 refer to Part VA - Utility Meters

34                    References to the Commission in this part of the Act are all replaced by the Secretary. They refer to the regulation of utility meters and to the appointment of verifying authorities and authorised officers; and include sanctions to ensure compliance.

Items 15 and 16         Subsection 18H(1)

35                     These items s ubstitute the Secretary for the Commission.

Items 17 and 18         Subparagraphs 18U(a)(ii) and 18U(a)(iii)

36                    Subparagraph 18(a)(iii) is repealed as it refers to the Commission, which is dissolved by this Bill. A consequential amendment is made to subparagraph 18(a)(ii) by replacing ‘or’ with ‘and.’

Item 19           Section 18Z

37                    The overview to Division 4 “Verifiers of utility meters” has been repealed and replaced for greater clarity.  In essence, the Secretary is substituted for the Commission.  Subsection 18Z(7) has been added.  It refers to a new section, section 18ZKA, which sets out who may be appointed verifying authorities.  See Item 39.

Items 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25         Elements within sections 18ZA, 18ZB and 18ZC

38                    These changes substitute the Secretary for the Commission.

Item 26           Section 18ZD

39                     This section is about the appointment of verifying authorities as described in section 18ZC.  It is necessary to distinguish this group from the Commonwealth and State officials who can now be appointed as verifying authorities under new section 18ZKA because the conditions set out in section 18ZD are not relevant to the appointees under section 18ZKA.

Item 27           Paragraphs 18ZD(b), (e), (f) and (g)

40                    This item substitutes the Secretary for the Commission.

Item 28           Subsection 18ZE(1)

41                    The allocation of verifying marks is transferred to the Secretary.  Reference is made to appointments of verifying authorities under section 18ZC to distinguish this group from those appointed under section18ZKA.

Item 29           Subsection 18ZE(2)

42                    This item has been redrafted to reflect the situation where the Secretary is responsible for the allocation of verification marks.

Item 30           Section 18ZF

43                    This change from the Commission to the Secretary is consistent with the transfer of responsibilities for utility meters.

Item 31           Section 18ZG

44                    Section 18ZG is repealed and replaced with a new section that substitutes the Secretary for the Commission. This section applies to verifying authorities appointed under existing section 18ZC.

Items 32, 33 and 34   Sections 18ZH and 18ZI

45                     These items substitute the Secretary for the Commission.

Item 35           Subsection 18ZJ(1)

46                    This item substitutes the Secretary for the Commission for verifying authorities appointed under section 18ZC.

Items 36, 37 and 38   Elements within sections 18ZJ and 18ZK

47                    This item substitutes the Secretary for the Commission.

Item 39           New sections 18ZKA and 18ZKB

                  18ZKA: Appointment of Commonwealth or State officials etc as verifying       authorities

48                                                     This new section sets out who may be appointed verifying authorities - and specific arrangements applying to the appointments. The list of permissible appointees includes State and Territory government bodies and officers. These may be appointed, however, only if the relevant State or Territory agrees to the appointment. This new group have been added as responsibility for verification moves to the Secretary and by delegation to departmental officers. This group will also be subject to the offence provisions in 18X. 

                        Section 18ZKB: Secretary must allocate verification marks

49                    This new section obliges the Secretary to issue verification marks to verifying authorities appointed by him or her under section 18ZKA.

Item 40           Subsection 18ZM(1)

50                    This subsection is repealed and replaced by a new subsection 18ZM(1). It deals with the appointment of authorised officers with respect to utility meters. Instead of the Commission appointing one of its staff or an agent as an authorised officer, the Secretary may appoint authorised officers from among a specific list set out in the subsection. The powers given to authorised officers have not been changed.  They include coercive powers which should only be exercised by members of a specified appropriate class of person.  The people specified in 18ZM(1) meet the test of the Senate Scrutiny of Bills Committee Report 4/2000 that an appropriate class of person is considered to be “those officials who are subject to obligations which make them accountable for the use and any misuse of the power”.

Items 41, 42 and 43   Elements within sections 18ZM and 18ZN

51                    The Secretary is substituted for the Commission.

Item 44           Section 18ZW

52                    This section is repealed and replaced by a new section to reflect the fact that the Commonwealth’s approach to compensation has developed since the section was originally drafted.  The existing section 18ZW is not in accordance with the precedent set out in Office of Parliamentary Counsel Drafting Direction 2001, No.15. The overall effect of the section, however, is essentially the same.

Items 45          Subsection 18ZZ(3)

53                    This item replaces the Secretary with the Commission.

Items 46 to 58 refer to changes to Part VI - Miscellaneous

54                    This part of the Act provides for regulation-making power relating to issues affecting pattern approval of measuring instruments, standards of measurement, utility meters, the setting of fees and a number of other matters.

Item 46           Subsection 19A(2)

55                     The Chief Metrologist and certain people acting under authority are substituted for the Commission and other specified bodies with respect to examinations, approvals and certificates relating to patterns of measuring instruments. In doing so, the item deletes reference to “a Department of State of the Commonwealth” to reflect the fact that National Measurement Institute will be part of a Department of State.

Item 47           Subsection 19A(3)

56                     This subsection is repealed because it gives the Commission power to determine fees. In future, certain fees will be set out in regulations (see Item 57).

Item 48           Subsection 19A(4)

57                    This proposed subsection substitutes the Chief Metrologist for the Commission with respect to the qualifications that the regulations may specify relating to approval of patterns of measuring instruments.



Item 49           Subsections 19A(6), (6A) and (7)

58                    Subsection (6) is repealed because it is no longer necessary to specify that recommendations can be made to the Minister, since the National Measurement Institute will be part of a Department of State. Such recommendations are a normal function of a Department of State.  Subsections (6A) and (7) are repealed and substituted with a new subsection (7) in order to more accurately and appropriately reflect the regulation making process. The outcome sought by the new subsections is essentially the same as in the current subsections.

Item 50           Transitional ¾ Section 19A of the National Measurement Act 1960

59                    This item ensures continuity of regulations by providing that any regulations that have been made pursuant to section 19A of the National Measurement Act 1960 and are in force immediately before proclamation will remain in force and have effect as if they had been made under the amended section 19A.

Item 51           Paragraph 19AAB(2)(a)

60                    This item replaces the Commission with the Chief Metrologist.

Item 52           Paragraph 19AAB(2)(b)

61                    This paragraph is repealed and replaced with a new paragraph that deletes reference to the Commission and provides that certain actions can be carried out by a delegate of the Chief Metrologist or another person acting on behalf of the Chief Metrologist. It also deletes reference to “a Department of State of the Commonwealth” to reflect the fact that National Measurement Institute will be part of a Department of State.

Item 53           Subsections 19AAB(3) and (4)

62                    These subsections are repealed and a new subsection 19AAB(3) is inserted to more accurately and appropriately reflect the regulation making process that will apply with the National Measurement Institute’s becoming part of the Department (see also Item 49).

Item 54           Transitional ¾ Section 19AAB of the National Measurement Act 1960

63                    This item ensures that any regulations made under section 19AAB of the National Measurement Act 1960 and which are in force immediately before proclamation of the amendments shall remain in force as if they had been made under section 19AAB of the amended Act. This ensures continuity of the application of regulations.

Item 55           Section 19AA

64                    This section is repealed because it deals exclusively with the Commission, which will no longer be in existence.

Item 56           Paragraph 19B(a)

65                    This paragraph refers to the offence of falsely representing that a pattern is approved under the regulations. The Act provides for the processes involved in pattern approval to be set out in the regulations (see section 19A).  This change is consistent with that arrangement.



Item 57           Paragraph 20(1)(l)

66                    This paragraph is repealed because it allows for the determination of a fee by the Commission.  A new paragraph 20(1)(l) is substituted which has the effect of requiring a regulation to prescribe a fee for pattern approval examinations and the verification of utility meters.

 

Part 3         Moving the measurement functions of CSIRO to the Chief Metrologist

Items 59 and 60         Subsection 3(1) (definitions of standards of measurement)

67                    The Chief Metrologist is substituted for the Organisation in order to give effect to section 18A.

Item 61           Subsection 3(1) (definition of the Organisation)

68                    This definition is repealed because the Organisation will no longer have the functions or the responsibilities which are ascribed to it in the Act. These are moved to the Chief Metrologist.

Items 62 to 65             Elements within sections 8, 8AA and 9

69                    The Chief Metrologist is substituted for the Organisation (or, in the case of Item 63, for the pronoun referring to the Organisation) in order to give effect to section 18A.

Item 66           Paragraph 9(1)(g) of the Science and Industry Research Act 1949

70                    This paragraph is repealed because the functions contained in it are being moved from CSIRO to the National Measurement Institute within the Department. The functions currently in this paragraph are reflected in both the functions set out in section 18 and in functions conferred on the Chief Metrologist in section 18A.

 

Part 4         Transitional provisions

71                    In contrast to Parts 1 to 3 of this Schedule, which will commence on a single day to be fixed by proclamation, Part 4 commences on the day on which this Act receives Royal Assent. This is to allow time for actions to be prepared and undertaken, as necessary or appropriate, so that the National Measurement Institute can commence its operations effectively from proclamation day.    

72                    The transitional provisions essentially provide mechanisms for giving continuity to actions that have been taken or may be taken by the Commission or CSIRO prior to the day fixed by proclamation for the commencement of Parts 1 to 3 of this Schedule. They provide for the transfer of assets and liabilities, contractual rights and obligations etc.  They also provide for the completion of a final annual report for the National Standards Commission and such matters as compensation, Commonwealth records management and for making regulations relating to matters of a transitional nature.



Item 67           Definitions

73                    This item contains definitions to ensure certainty to the meaning of terms used in the transitional provisions set out in Part 4 of this Schedule.

Item 68           Guidelines for combining Australian legal units of measurement

74                    This item ensures that any guidelines issued by the National Standards Commission under section 7B of the National Measurement Act 1960 that were in force immediately before the proclamation day will continue to have effect.

Items 69 to 72 refer to standards of measurement

75                     These items ensure that actions that had been taken or situations prevailing prior to the proclamation day continue to have the effect or remain in place after proclamation. The actions and situations relate to Australian standards of measurement, co-ordinated universal time, determination of recognized-value standards of measurement and verification of State primary standards of measurement.

Item 73           Judicial notice of the common seal of the Commission

76                    This item ensures continuity in judicial effect after the proclamation day of the common seal of the National Standards Commission.

Items 74 and 75         Transfer of contractual rights and obligations

77                    These provisions are a mechanism for having contractual rights and obligations transferred from the National Standards Commission and CSIRO to the Commonwealth by giving the relevant ministers the power to effect such transfers. To ensure transparency and accountability, there is a provision for such transfers to be gazetted.

Items 76 to 79             Transfer of assets and liabilities

78                    These provisions are a mechanism for having assets and liabilities transferred from the National Standards Commission and CSIRO to the Commonwealth by giving the relevant ministers the power to effect such transfers. To ensure transparency and accountability, there is a provision for such transfers to be gazetted.

Item 80           Registration of land transfers

79                    This item provides for the transfer of any right, title or interest in particular land to the Commonwealth, made pursuant to the transitional provisions in Part 4 of Schedule 1, to be registered by a land registration official as a dealing in land.  Anything done under this item is exempt from the Lands Acquisition Act 1989.

Item 81           Certificates in relation to assets other than land

80                    This item gives full legal effect to any transfers of assets to the Commonwealth, other than land, that are made pursuant to the transitional provisions in Part 4. In doing so, it ensures that there is appropriate power for an assets official to register such assets as though they had been transferred in a normal way.



Item 82           Exemption from stamp duty and other State/Territory taxes

81                    This item provides for the exemption from State/Territory stamp duty and other State/Territory taxes in relation to an exempt matter, as defined in paragraph (4) of this item.  Under this provision, the relevant minister may certify in writing that a specified matter is an exempt matter or that a specified thing was done in connection with a specified exempt matter.  This item also provides that in all courts, and for all purposes, a certificate issued by the relevant minister under this item is evidence of the matters stated in the certificate.

Item 83           Final annual report for the Commission

82                    This item makes arrangements for the preparation of the final annual report of the National Standards Commission as required under the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997.

Item 84           Certificates, declarations etc. taken to be authentic

83                    This item is a standard item about the recognition of certificates, declarations or other documents made under Part 4 of Schedule 1.

Item 85           Compensation-constitutional safety net

84                    This item provides a safeguard against any actions that might be taken in the transitional period that could result in loss of property and, therefore, may be invalid under section 51(xxxi) of the Constitution, if such an action is not accompanied by compensation on just terms. This item has the effect of specifying that any such action will be accompanied by compensation on just terms by the Commonwealth.

Item 86           Commonwealth Records

85                    This item ensures that the handling of Commonwealth records in relation to any transfers from the National Standards Commission and CSIRO will be in a manner that accords fully with the Archives Act 1983.

Item 87           Transfer of pending proceedings

86                     This item provides that, if a declaration is made under this Part, the Commonwealth, in the circumstances specified, would take over any court or tribunal proceedings from the Commission or the Organisation in relation to a particular asset or liability.  This ensures that any such actions can continue.

Item 88           Regulations

87                    This item ensures that there is an appropriate regulation making power to deal with any matters of a transitional nature that have not been specifically covered in the transitional provisions, but that may arise out of the proposed enactment of the amendments or repeals made by the Act.

 



Schedule 2:  Technical amendments

 

National Measurement Act 1960

Item 1             Subsection 3(1) (paragraphs (b), (c) and (d) of the definition of Australian legal unit of measurement )

88                    These paragraphs are repealed and replaced with a new paragraph 3(1)(b).  This is because responsibility for the Australian legal units of measurement is transferred from the Commission to the Chief Metrologist; and these units of measurement will be derived from the application of guidelines issued by the Chief Metrologist.

Items 2 and 3             Subsection 3(1) (at the end of the definition of reference standard of       measurement)

89                    The amendment extends the definition to include reference to the certificate of verification. This makes it clear that an Australian legal unit of measurement is only valid when it has a current certificate of verification.  The National Measurement Regulations 1999 set out the rules governing certificates of verification.  The change is not made retrospective.

Item 4             Subsection 7B(1)

90                    This item repeals subsection 7B(1) and substitutes a new subsection 7B(1), which allows greater flexibility in the construction of Australian legal units of measurement by the Chief Metrologist. This provision will enable a more flexible approach to the requirement for new units to meet the demands of industry. 

Item 5             Section 19

91                     In the Act, section 19 refers to subsection 7(1).  Subsection 7(1) does not exist, since it was replaced by section 7A in previous amendments.  This amendment provides the correct reference in section 19.

 

Schedule 3: Amendment of the National Measurement Regulations 1999

National Measurement Regulations 1999

Item 1             Regulation 2

92                   This item repeals regulation 2, which deals with the commencement of the National Measurement Regulations 1999, and substitutes a new Regulation 2.  This new regulation provides that the National Measurement Regulations 1999 commence on 1 October 1999 immediately after the commencement of Schedule 1 to the National Measurement Amendment Act (Utility Meters) Act 1999.  The amended commencement overcomes any ambiguity as to when the National Measurement Regulations 1999 commenced.