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Productivity Commission Amendment (Addressing Inequality) Bill 2017

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2016-2017

 

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE

 

 

 

 

 

PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION AMENDMENT (ADDRESSING INEQUALITY) BILL 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of Senator McAllister)



PRODUCTIVITY COMMISSION AMENDMENT (ADDRESSING INEQUALITY) BILL 2017

 

OUTLINE

 

The purpose of the Productivity Commission Amendment (Addressing Inequality) Bill 2017 is to improve the quality of information and analysis available about economic inequality in Australia, and to ensure that proper consideration is given to inequality in the public debate about economic policy. This Bill amends the Productivity Commission Act 1998 (the Act) to expand the general policy guidelines for the exercise of the Productivity Commission’s functions to require consideration of inequality, and establishes a framework for the Productivity Commission (the Commission) to regularly report on economic inequality.

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

Clause 1: Short Title

1.           Clause 1 is a formal provision specifying the short title of the Act.

Clause 2: Commencement

2.           This clause provides for the provision of the Bill to commence on the day after this Bill receives the Royal Assent.

Clause 3 Schedules

3.           Clause 3 provides that each Act specified in a Schedule to this Act is amended or repealed as is set out in the applicable items in the Schedule. Any other item in a Schedule to this Act has effect according to its terms.

Schedule 1—Amendments

Productivity Commission Act 1998

Item 1 - After paragraph 6(1)(f)

 

5.           Item 1 modifies the Productivity Commission’s functions under section 6 of the Act. It adds that the Commission is to undertake research on inequality and its effects on the Australian economy and community, and report to the Minister.

Item 2 - At the end of subsection8(1)

 

6.           Item 2 modifies the general policy guidelines in section 8 of the Act for the Productivity Commission’s performance of its functions. It adds that the Commission must have regard to the need to mitigate the negative effects of inequality on the Australian economy and the Australian community.

 

Item 3 - At the end of Part 4

 

7.           Item 3 adds a new division to the Act that requires the Productivity Commission to regularly produce reports on inequality in Australia. The reports are to assess the extent of economic inequality, its effects, and the impact of current government policies on economic inequality. In particular, the reports are to assess how economic inequality affects intergenerational mobility, the outcomes and opportunities available to members of the Australian community, and the performance of the Australian economy as a whole.

 

8.           The timing of the reports is linked to the intergenerational reports that are produced by the Parliamentary Budget Office every five years. An inequality report must be tabled within 15 sitting days after the tabling of an intergenerational report.

 



 

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

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

 

Productivity Commission Amendment (Addressing Inequality) Bill 2017

 

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 measures contained in this Bill will increase understanding of the extent, causes and effects of economic inequality, and equip policy makers with more of the information required to address them.

 

The Bill amendments the Productivity Commission Act 1998 to require the Productivity Commission to have regard in the exercise of its functions to the need to mitigate the negative effects of inequality, and to require the Commission to regularly undertake research on economic inequality and report on its extent, effects, and the Government’s efforts to address it.

 

Human rights implications

This Bill promotes the protection of human rights by improving understanding of the extent and effects of inequality, and the effectiveness of Government policies in addressing it.

 

Conclusion

This Bill is compatible with human rights as it advances human rights.

 

Senator McAllister