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Statute Stocktake (Appropriations) Bill (No. 1) 2012

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2010-2011-2012

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

Statute Stocktake (Appropriations)

Bill (No. 1) 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

Explanatory Memorandum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated with the authority of the

Minister for Finance and Deregulation,

 Senator the Hon Penny Wong)

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Table of abbreviations and common terms.................................................... ii

I. GENERAL OUTLINE................................................................................... 1

Main features of the Stocktake Bill................................................................ 1

Financial Impact Statement........................................................................... 2

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights............................................ 2

II. NOTES ON CLAUSES................................................................................ 3

Long title....................................................................................................... 3

Clause 1: Short title....................................................................................... 3

Clause 2: Commencement.............................................................................. 3

Clause 3: Schedule......................................................................................... 3

III. NOTES ON SCHEDULE 1 - AMENDMENTS........................................ 4

Part 1 - Repeal of Acts.................................................................................. 4

Part 2 - Other Amendments.......................................................................... 7

 



 

 

Table of abbreviations and common terms

 

 

Abbreviation or

common term

Full term or description

Budget Appropriation Acts

Appropriation Act (No. 1) , Appropriation Act (No. 2) and Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Act (No. 1) for the relevant Budget year

FFLA Act (No.1) 2007

Financial Framework Legislation Amendment Act (No. 1) 2007

FMA Act

Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997

FMLA Act 1999

Financial Management Legislation Amendment Act 1999

Item

An item of a Schedule of the Statute Stocktake (Appropriations) Bill (No. 1) 2012

Stocktake Bill

Statute Stocktake (Appropriations) Bill (No. 1) 2012

 



Statute Stocktake (Appropriations) Bill (No. 1) 2012

 

 

I. GENERAL OUTLINE

 

Main features of the Stocktake Bill

1.               The Statute Stocktake (Appropriations) Bill (No. 1) 2012 (Stocktake Bill) would, if enacted, repeal:

·      93 Appropriation Acts from 1984-1985 until 1998-1999 (inclusive);

·      35 Supply Acts from 1984-1985 until 1996-1997 (inclusive);

·      3 Acts containing redundant special appropriations from the Treasury portfolio:

-    Housing Loans Insurance Corporation (Transfer of Assets and Abolition) Repeal Act 2006 ;

-    Housing Loans Insurance Corporation (Transfer of Pre-transfer Contracts) Act 2006 ; and

-    Mint Employees Act 1964 .

·      3 provisions containing special appropriations from the Finance portfolio, as set out in:

-    Superannuation Act 1922 ; and

-    Superannuation (Pension Increases) Act 1961 .

2.               Regarding the 128 Appropriation and Supply Acts to be repealed from 16 financial years from 1984-1985 to 1998-1999, the Stocktake Bill would repeal as many as 13 Appropriation and Supply Acts for one financial year (for example, in 1992-1993) and as few as 6 Appropriation and Supply Acts (for example, for the 4 financial years between 1994-1996 and 1997-1999).  To put this another way:

·      7 financial years (1985-1986, 1986-1987, 1987-1988, 1988-1989, 1989-1990, 1993-1994, 1996-1997) involve 9 Appropriation and Supply Acts;

·      4 financial years (1994-1995, 1995-1996, 1997-1998 and 1998-1999) involve 6 Appropriation Acts (that is, no Supply Acts);

·      2 financial years (1990-1991 and 1991-1992) involve 10 Appropriation and Supply Acts;

·      1 financial year (1984-1985) involves 8 Appropriation and Supply Acts; and

·      1 financial year (1992-1993) involves 13 Appropriation and Supply Acts.

3.               The Stocktake Bill does not appropriate any money, rather it seeks to repeal whole Acts, and to repeal special appropriations within Acts, that are redundant.  The amounts appropriated by the Acts or appropriations within Acts that will be repealed by the Stocktake Bill have been spent or exhausted or have lapsed. 

4.               The Stocktake Bill is the fifth Statute Stocktake Bill since 1998, and forms part an ongoing process to clean up the statute book by repealing legislation that is redundant.  The repeal of 131 redundant Acts and 2 special appropriations will continue the Australian Government’s efforts to review redundant legislation and special appropriations.

5.               The Stocktake Bill would also further the Government’s deregulation agenda. The Government has stepped up its deregulation reform program, including the progress made at the Business Advisory Forum in May 2012, and the Prime Minister’s Economic Forum in June 2012.  It is important that continued progress is made by Government.

6.               Similar to the amendments contained in the Legislative Instruments Amendment (Sunsetting Measures) Bill 2012 , as introduced on 23 May 2012 by the Attorney-General into the House of Representatives, this Bill contributes to Government’s ongoing efforts to reduce the stock of unnecessary and redundant legislation.

 

Financial Impact Statement

7.               The proposed amendments have no financial impact.  The unspent appropriations in the 128 Appropriation and Supply Acts lapsed at the end of the relevant financial year and have no continuing effect.  The 3 Treasury Acts and 2 superannuation-related special appropriations to be repealed are also redundant.

 

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

8.               The proposed amendments do not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms outlined in the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 , such as encompassed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights .

9.               The proposed amendments do not limit any human rights, nor propose any offences or penalties.

10.          This Bill is therefore compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in subsection 3(1) of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 .

 

II. NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

11.          The structure of the Statute Stocktake (Appropriations) Bill (No. 1) 2012 (Stocktake Bill) comprises the long title, one clause that provides the short title and then 2 clauses that refer to the Schedule that contains the substantive repeals and amendments.  These notes describe the content and effect of the long title and the 3 clauses.

 

Long title

12.          The long title of the Stocktake Bill provides that it is a Bill for an Act to repeal certain Acts and provisions of Acts, and for related purposes. 

 

Clause 1: Short title

13.          This clause provides that, if the Stocktake Bill is enacted, it may then be cited as the Statute Stocktake (Appropriations) Act (No. 1) 2012 .

 

Clause 2: Commencement

14.          This clause provides that if the Stocktake Bill is passed, the Act would commence on the day the Act receives the Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3: Schedule

15.          This clause provides that each Act, that is specified in the Schedule to the Stocktake Bill, would be amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in that Schedule of the Stocktake Bill.



 

III. NOTES ON SCHEDULE 1 - AMENDMENTS

 

16.          This Schedule seeks to repeal 93 Appropriation Acts from 1984-1985 until 1998-1999 (inclusive), 35 Supply Acts from 1984-1985 until 1996-1997 (inclusive), 3 Acts containing redundant special appropriations from the Treasury portfolio and 3 superannuation-related provisions containing special appropriations from the Finance portfolio.

 

Part 1 - Repeal of Acts

17.          The following explanation of the amendments proposed in Part 1 of Schedule 1 is provided by reference to the items in thematic order, in terms of: Appropriation Acts; Supply Acts; and other Acts that contain special appropriations.

 

Repeal of 93 Appropriation Acts

18.          Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Stocktake Bill will repeal 93 redundant Appropriation Acts that are still on the statute book despite all appropriations under those Acts having been spent or having lapsed.

19.          Since 1934 five Acts have repealed spent Appropriation and Supply Acts.  The relevant repealing Acts were the Statute Law Revision Act 1934 , the Statute Law Revision Act 1950 ; the Statute Law Revision Acts 1973-1974 ; the Statute Law Revision Act 1981 ; and the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (No. 1) 1985

20.          Accordingly all Appropriation and Supply Acts from 1901 to Appropriation Act (No.4) 1983-84 have been repealed and removed from the statute book.  There has been no general repeal of Appropriation or Supply Acts since the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (No. 1) 1985 , with the result that annual Appropriation and Supply Acts since Appropriation Act (No.1) 1984-85 remain on the statute book, despite many of these Acts now being redundant.

21.          All Appropriation or Supply Acts (including Appropriation or Supply (Parliamentary Departments) Acts) from Appropriation Act (No.1) 1984-85 to Appropriation Act (No. 4) 1998-99 are redundant as the unspent appropriations in these Acts lapsed at the end of the relevant financial year and have no continuing effect.  Until the end of 1997, the lapsing of uncommitted annual appropriations occurred through section 36 of the Audit Act 1901 and, from 1 January 1998 until 30 June 1999, through section 29 of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act). 

22.          In 1999-2000 accrual budgeting was introduced.  As part of this change, the Financial Management Legislation Amendment Act 1999 (FMLA Act 1999) repealed former section 29 of the FMA Act which had lapsed uncommitted amounts at the end of the financial year.  The result being that accrual appropriations now do not lapse automatically at the end of the financial year.  Instead, accrual appropriations since 1999-2000 remain valid “until fully drawn down”, as stated in the Explanatory Memorandum to FMLA Act 1999, or otherwise reduced in accordance with the reduction mechanisms in the relevant Appropriation Act. 

23.          Item 1 to item 93 will repeal 93 Appropriation Acts from the Appropriation Act (No. 1) 1984-85 to Appropriation Act (No. 4) 1998-99 .

 

Repeal of 35 Supply Acts

24.          Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Stocktake Bill will also repeal 35 redundant Supply Acts up to 1996-97 that are still on the statute books.

25.          Before accrual budgeting was introduced in 1999-2000, Supply Acts were necessary to appropriate amounts from the CRF for use in the financial year pending the passing of the Budget Appropriation Acts ( Appropriation Act (No. 1) and Appropriation Act (No. 2) and the Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Act (No. 1) ), whereupon the Supply Acts ceased to be necessary.  For example, the Supply Act (No. 1) 1989-90 provisions were repeated in the Appropriation Act (No. 1) 1989-90 .  When the Appropriation Act (No. 1) 1989-90 commenced, Supply Act (No 1) 1989-90 ceased to have effect: see New South Wales v Bardolph (1934) 52 CLR 455, 479 (Evatt J); Brown v West (1990) 169 CLR 195, 206-7, 209-210 (Mason CJ, Brennan, Deane, Dawson and Toohey JJ).

26.          In addition to all Supply Acts in the statute books being redundant, the concept of Supply Acts generally is not needed in the future.  Prior to 1994-1995, the Budget was delivered in August.  Because all unspent appropriations lapsed at the end of the financial year, Supply Acts had to be enacted before the end of each prior financial year to ensure that there were sufficient appropriations to carry over until the Budget Appropriation Acts for the following financial year were enacted.  However, two changes have occurred since 1994 to make Supply Acts unnecessary.

27.          First, in 1994 the budget cycle was changed by moving the Budget from August to May.  This enabled the Budget Appropriation Acts to be enacted before the start of the financial year and so removed the need for Supply Acts.  Supply Acts have only been required once since 1994 and that was in 1996-97 when the general election in March 1996 (and the change of government) meant that it was not practical to deliver the Budget in May.

28.          Second, the introduction of accrual budgeting in 1999-2000 enables appropriations to be carried over from one financial year until the next.  If it is not possible for the Budget to be delivered in May (for example, a general election occurs in the first half of the year), it is no longer necessary to enact Supply Acts to provide appropriations until the Appropriation Acts are passed.  The Parliament could enact Appropriation Act (No. 3) and Appropriation Act (No. 4) or Appropriation Act (No. 5) and Appropriation Act (No. 6) to provide the necessary appropriations until the Budget occurs and the Budget Appropriation Acts are passed.

29.          In 2007, consistent with the fact that Supply Acts are no longer necessary, a small but significant amendment was made to section 31 of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 by the Financial Framework Legislation Amendment Act (No.1) 2007 (FFLA Act (No.1) 2007) Among other changes made to the mechanism in section 31 to enable agencies to retain certain receipts, the FFLA Act (No.1) 2007 removed from section 31 the definition of “Appropriation Act” which had, up until that time, included Supply Acts.

30.          Item 97 to item 131 will repeal 35 Supply Acts from Supply Act (No. 1) 1984 -85 to Supply Act (No. 2) 1996-97.

 

Repeal of 3 Treasury Acts

31.          Finally, Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Stocktake Bill will repeal 3 redundant Acts in the Treasury portfolio which contain special appropriations that are no longer used.

35.             Items 94 and 95 will repeal two Acts that were intended to facilitate the transfer of contracts of mortgage insurance that remain vested in the Commonwealth (the mortgage insurance contracts) after the Commonwealth transferred the Government-owned company, the Housing Loans Insurance Corporation Limited, to GE Capital Australia in 1997.  Since that time the Commonwealth has continued to be involved in the mortgage insurance business by managing the mortgage insurance contracts.

36.             The Housing Loans Insurance Corporation (Transfer of Pre-transfer Contracts) Act 2006 was intended to provide for the sale of the mortgage insurance contracts to an insurance provider.  However, the sale of the portfolio did not proceed as the cost to the Commonwealth would have been prohibitive.  Treasury will continue to manage the mortgage insurance contracts.  The Housing Loans Insurance Corporation (Transfer of Pre-transfer Contracts) Act 2006 and the special appropriation in that Act that would have enabled the sale are no longer needed.

37.             The Housing Loans Insurance Corporation (Transfer of Assets and Abolition) Repeal Act 2006 was intended to repeal of the Housing Loans Insurance Corporation (Transfer of Assets and Abolition) Act 1996 upon the sale and transfer of the mortgage insurance contracts to an insurance provider (by the Housing Loans Insurance Corporation (Transfer of Pre-transfer Contracts) Act 2006 ).  Since the sale of the mortgage insurance contracts did not take place, the 1996 Act does not need to be repealed, and the special appropriation in the Housing Loans Insurance Corporation (Transfer of Assets and Abolition) Repeal Act 2006 is not required.

38.             Items 94 will repeal the Housing Loans Insurance Corporation (Transfer of Assets and Abolition) Repeal Act 2006 Item 95 will repeal the Housing Loans Insurance Corporation (Transfer of Pre-transfer Contracts) Act 2006

39.          Item 96 repeals the Mint Employees Act 1964 .  This Act provided employment terms for Royal Mint employees to transfer to the Public Service Act 1922 and the Australian Mint.  All employees of the Royal Australian Mint are now under the Public Service Act 1999 and as such the Mint Employees Act 1964 and the special appropriation in that Act are no longer required.

 

Part 2 - Other Amendments

Repeal of Special Appropriations

40.          Further to the reforms made by Statute Stocktake Act (No. 1) 2011 (which repealed 39 redundant special appropriations), the Government is continuing to review and identify redundant special appropriations relating to the Commonwealth’s financial framework.  This is consistent with the Government’s commitment to regularly review special appropriations and maintain effective legislative housekeeping.

41.          The Stocktake Bill would repeal 3 provisions containing special appropriations in superannuation legislation.

42.          Item 132 repeals subsection 7(4) of the Superannuation Act 1922 .  The  Superannuation Act 1922 provided the superannuation scheme for Commonwealth public servants from 1922 until 1 July 1976.  On 1 July 1976, the 1922 scheme was replaced by the Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme (CSS) established by the Superannuation Act 1976 .  At that time Commonwealth employees who were contributing to the 1922 scheme were transferred to the CSS.  Former Commonwealth employees who were receiving benefits under the 1922 scheme on 1 July 1976, have continued to receive those benefits under subsection 134(1) of the Superannuation Act 1922 .

43.          Section 7 of the Superannuation Act 1922 relates to provision of superannuation for certain persons by way of life assurance. Subsection 7(1A) provides that no arrangements shall be made under section 7 on or after 1 July 1976. As indicated above all 1922 scheme contributors were transferred to the CSS. Therefore, subsection 7(4) which relates to payments by the Commonwealth and the appropriation of those amounts is no longer required.

44.          Item 133 repeals subsections 6(2) and (4) of the Superannuation (Pension Increases) Act 1961 .  The Superannuation (Pension Increases) Act 1961 increased certain superannuation pension payments made under the Superannuation Act 1922 .  As those superannuation pensions are no longer being paid under the Superannuation Act 1922 , the increase of those pension payments by the Superannuation (Pension Increases) Act 1961 no longer applies.  The special appropriations to enable the increase to those former pension payments in subsections 6(2) and (4) of the Superannuation (Pension Increases) Act 1961 are therefore no longer required.