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Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015

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2013-2014-2015

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

SENATE

 

 

 

 

SEAFARERS REHABILITATION AND COMPENSATION AND OTHER LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2015

 

 

 

 

 

SUPPLEMENTARY EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

Amendments to be Moved on Behalf of the Government

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Employment, Senator the Honourable Eric Abetz)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



AMENDMENTS TO THE SEAFARERS REHABILITATION AND COMPENSATION AND OTHER LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2015

OUTLINE

The Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (the Bill) will amend the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1992 (the Seafarers Act) and the Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Act 1993 (the OHS(MI) Act) to clarify the coverage of these Acts in the light of the Federal Court decision in Samson Maritime Pty Ltd v Aucote [2014] FCAFC 182.

 

These further amendments are made in response to concerns raised by stakeholders about the coverage of the Seafarers Scheme.  These amendments ensure that only the historic application of both the Seafarers Act and the OHS(MI) Act are maintained to ensure that historic claims and actions under the Acts are not disturbed. The prospective coverage of the scheme into the longer term will be the subject of consultations with industry participants and will be comprehensively addressed in a subsequent bill. 

 

The amendments mean that the coverage provisions are amended with effect from the commencement of the substantive provisions of the Seafarers Act (24 June 1993) and the OHS(MI) Act (18 July 1994) and operate until the Bill receives Royal Assent.  From the date of Royal Assent, the coverage provisions will revert to what they had been prior to the Bill’s passage. The short term issues arising from the Aucote decision will be addressed by exemptions and declarations issued by the Seacare Authority and the Minister for Employment.



Financial Impact Statement

Nil.



REGULATION IMPACT STATEMENT

Nil.



Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

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

Amendments to the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015

The amendments to the Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 (the Bill) are 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 amendments

The amendments are a response to the decisions in Samson Maritime Pty Ltd v Aucote [2014] FCAFC 182 and Re Aucote and Samson Maritime Pty Ltd [2014] AATA 296 (the Aucote decisions) insofar as they relate to the historic application of the Seafarers Act and the OHS(MI) Act.  The implications of the Aucote decisions will be addressed by the amendments for the period between commencement of the Seafarers Act (24 June 1993) and the OHS(MI) Act (18 July 1994) until Royal Assent and will provide certainty for the maritime industry. 

 

Currently the Bill’s substantive amendments to the coverage provisions of both the Seafarers Act and the OHS(MI) Act would have effect from the commencement of those Acts and into the future. These amendments limit the operation of the amended coverage provisions so that from Royal Assent the coverage provisions which are being repealed by the substantive Bill will be re-instated.  

 

Human Rights Implications

 

These amendments reflect the Government’s ongoing commitment to long term reform of the Seacare scheme. 

As a consequence, the amendments do not raise any human rights issues which were not addressed in the original statement of compatibility with human rights for the Bill.

Conclusion

The amendments to the Bill do not engage human rights.

Minister for Employment, Senator the Hon. Eric Abetz

 



NOTES ON Amendments

In these notes on amendments, the following abbreviations are used:

Bill

Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2015

Seafarers Act

Seafarers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1992

OHS(MI) Act

Occupational Health and Safety (Maritime Industry) Act 1993

 



Amendment No. 1 - Clause 2, page 2 (after table item 3)

1.                   This amendment inserts a provision to provide that schedule 1A will commence on the day after Royal Assent.

Amendment No. 2 - Schedule 1, heading, page 3 (line 1)

2.                   This amendment changes the heading to Schedule 1 of the Bill.

Amendment No. 3 - Page 6 (after line 11), after Schedule 1

3.                   This item inserts a new Schedule to the Bill, to commence on the day after Royal Assent.

4.                   The combined effect of these amendments is that the changes to the coverage provisions of the Seafarers Act and OHS(MI) Act made by the Bill apply from the commencement of the substantive provisions of the Seafarers Act (24 June 1993) and the OHS(MI) Act (18 July 1994) until Royal Assent. 

5.                   From Royal Assent, the previous coverage provisions will be re-enacted.  The intention is for the Bill to be an interim response to the Aucote decisions insofar as they relate to the historic application of the Seafarers Act and the OHS(MI) Act.    The Government will seek to consult with industry participants to secure a longer term solution to the application of the Seacare scheme and to progress other significant reforms.

SCHEDULE 1A - AMENDMENTS

Part 1 - Seafarers rehabilitation and compensation

Item 1 - Subsection 19(1)

Item 2 - At the end of section 19

Item 3 - Section 19A

Item 4 - Application of amendments

6.                   These items re-enact subsections 19(1) to (5) of the Seafarers Act, to apply in relation to any injury, loss or damage suffered by an employee on or after the commencement of these items. 

7.                   These items also repeal section 19A, which is unnecessary once subsections 19(1)-(5) are re-enacted.

Part 2 - Occupational health and safety

Item 5 - Subsection 6(1)

Item 6 - At the end of section 6

Item 7 - Application of amendments

8.                   These items will re-enact subsections 6(1) and 6(5) to (9) of the OHS(MI) Act, to apply in relation to anything done on or after the commencement of these items.