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Australian Research Council Amendment Bill 2013

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2013

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AUSTRALIAN RESEARCH COUNCIL AMENDMENT BILL 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Education, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP)



AUSTRALIAN RESEARCH COUNCIL AMENDMENT BILL 2013

 

OUTLINE

 

The purpose of the Australian Research Council Amendment Bill 2013 (the Bill) is to apply indexation against appropriations for existing schemes and add a figure for the last year of the forward budget estimates (for the financial year starting on 1 July 2016).

The Australian Research Council Act 2001 (the ARC Act) provides a maximum funding cap for financial assistance for approved research programs. These programs fund the high-quality research needed to address the great challenges of our time, to improve the quality of people’s lives, to support the development of new industries and to remain competitive in the global knowledge economy.

 

The Australian Research Council supports the highest quality fundamental and applied research and research training through funding schemes under the National Competitive Grants Programs (NCGP).

 

The NCGP comprises two main programs—Discovery and Linkage. Funding awarded under the NCGP is allocated on the basis of a competitive peer review process involving national and international assessors and supports research across all disciplines (with the exception of a range of medical and dental research).

 

The amendments to the ARC Act seek to increase the general financial support available to the funding schemes that the ARC administers, including the Future Fellowships scheme which promotes research in areas of critical national importance by giving outstanding researchers incentives to conduct their research in Australia.

 

The amendments are essential as the ARC Act is the legislative basis that supports the financial operations of ARC grants programs through special appropriation mechanisms which must occur each financial year. Specifically the Bill will alter three existing financial year funding figures for indexation (for the financial years starting on 1 July 2013, 1 July 2014 and 1 July 2015) and extend the forward estimate period to include the financial year starting on 1 July 2016, resulting in additional spending of $814.876 million over the four financial years.

 

The amendments only impact on administered special appropriation; they do not alter the substance of the ARC Act or increase departmental funds.

 



 

FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT

 

The amendments in the Bill result in altering three existing financial year funding figures and extend the forward estimates period to 2016-17, resulting in additional spending of $814.876 million.

 

This Bill updates the special appropriation funding cap administered by the Australian Research Council to include policy approvals, indexation adjustments and an additional forward estimate for existing schemes within the National Competitive Grants Program. Indexation adjustments and adding the last year of the forward estimate are part of the standard budget process and are administrative in nature.

 

 

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

$883,959,000

$853,110,000

$783,253,000

$716,205,000



 

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

 

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

 

AUSTRALIAN RESEARCH COUNCIL AMENDMENT BILL 2013

 

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

 

Overview of the Bill

 

The purpose of Bill is to amend the Australian Research Council Act 2001 (ARC Act) to update appropriation amounts by applying indexation and inserting a new funding cap for the last year of the forward estimates (the financial year commencing on 1 July 2016).

The Bill supports the financial assistance for approved research programs administered by the Australian Research Council (ARC). The ARC Act provides a maximum cap for financial assistance for approved research programs. These programs fund the high-quality research Australia needs to address the great challenges of our time, to improve the quality of people’s lives, to support the development of new industries and to remain competitive in the global knowledge economy.

 

The ARC supports the highest quality fundamental and applied research and research training through national competition schemes through the National Competitive Grants Programs (NCGP). The NCGP comprises two main programs—Discovery and Linkage. Funding awarded under the NCGP:   

 

·          is allocated on the basis of a competitive peer review process involving national and international assessors; and

 

·          supports research across all disciplines (with the exception of a range of medical and dental research).

 

The amendments in the Bill seek to increase the general financial support available to the funding schemes that the ARC administers, including the Future Fellowships scheme which promotes research in areas of critical national importance by giving outstanding researchers incentives to conduct their research in Australia.

 

The amendments only impact on administered special appropriations; they do not alter the substance of the ARC Act or increase departmental funds.

 

 

 

 

 

Human Rights Implications

 

The Bill makes minor and technical amendments to the ARC Act by applying indexation against appropriations for existing schemes and including an additional figure for the last year of the forward Budget estimates (for the financial year starting on 1 July 2016).

As a result, this Bill does not have any human rights implications.

 

Conclusion

The Bill is compatible with human rights as it does not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms.



AUSTRALIAN RESEARCH COUNCIL AMENDMENT BILL 2013

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1 - Short title

 

This clause provides that the name of the Bill, when enacted, is the Australian Research Council Amendment Act 2013 .

 

Clause 2 - Commencement

 

This clause provides that the Act will commence on the day after the Act receives the Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3 - Schedule(s)

 

This clause provides that each Act specified in a Schedule to the Bill is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule concern, and that any other item in a Schedule to the Bill has effect according to its terms.

 

For ease of description, this Explanatory Memorandum uses the following abbreviations:

 

‘ARC Act’ means the Australian Research Council Act 2001 .



Schedule 1   Amendments

 

 

 

Summary

 

Schedule 1 amends the ARC Act to update appropriation amounts by applying indexation and inserting a new funding cap for the last year of the forward estimates (the financial year starting on 1 July 2016).

 

Detailed explanation

 

Australian Research Council Act 2001

 

Item 1

 

Division 1 of Part 7 of the ARC Act provides for financial assistance for approved research programs. Section 48 sets out the years to which this Division applies.

 

Item 1 inserts new paragraph (m) into subsection 48(2) the effect of which is to provide that Division 1 of Part 7 also applies to the financial year starting on 1 July 2016.

 

Item 2

 

Section 49 of the ARC Act specifies the annual funding caps for the purposes of Division 1 of Part 7 (financial assistance for approved research programs).

 

Item 2 repeals paragraphs 49(n), 49(o) and 49(p) and inserts new paragraphs 49(n), 49(o), 49(p) and 49(q) so that approved annual funding caps must not exceed the following amounts:

 

·          $883,959,000 for the financial year starting on 1 July 2013

·          $853,110,000 for the financial year starting on 1 July 2014

·          $783,253,000 for the financial year starting on 1 July 2015

·          $716,205,000 for the financial year starting on 1 July 2016