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Monday, 6 December 1999
Page: 12893

Consideration resumed from 25 November.

Senate's amendments—

(1) Page 2 (after line 4), after clause 2, insert:

2A The objects of this Act

(1) The objects of this Act are as follows:

(a) to ensure that Regional Forest Agreements between the Commonwealth and the States are consistent with the National Forest Policy Statement 1992; and

(b) to establish a Wood and Paper Industry Council.

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(a), a Regional Forest Agreement is consistent with the National Forest Policy Statement 1992 if it:

(a) provides for:

(i) the development of internationally competitive and ecologically sustainable wood production and wood product industries, maximising value- adding opportunities and efficient use of wood resources; and

(ii) the management of Australia's forests in an ecologically sustainable manner for a range of uses that includes tourism, recreation and the production of non-wood products; and

(iii) the maintenance of an extensive and permanent forest estate in Australia; and

(iv) the protection of nature conservation values in forests; and

(v) conservation of the full range of values that forests can provide for current and future generations, including biological diversity and heritage, indigenous and other cultural values; and

(vi) the protection of catchment values to ensure the availability of reliable high quality water supplies from forested areas; and

(vii) the expansion of employment opportunities and the skills base of people working in the forested industries; and

(b) ensures that Australia fulfils its obligations under relevant international agreements; and

(c) applies the precautionary principle within the meaning of section 3.5.1 of the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment (a copy of which is set out in the Schedule to the National Environment Protection Council Act 1994 ); and

(d) fosters community understanding of and support for ecologically sustainable forest management; and

(e) provides opportunities for public participation in decision-making.

(2) Clause 3, page 2 (after line 24), before paragraph (a) of the definition of RFA or Regional Forest Agreement , insert:

(aa) the agreement has regard to the objects of this Act;

(3) Clause 3, page 2 (line 25), omit "was entered into having", substitute "has".

(4) Clause 3, page 3 (after line 8), after paragraph (c) of the definition of RFA or Regional Forest Agreement , insert:

(ca) if the agreement is made after 1 March 1999, it was made in accordance with the public and parliamentary scrutiny provisions of this Act;

(5) Clause 3, page 3 (after line 10), after paragraph (d) of the definition of RFA or Regional Forest Agreement , insert:

(da) the agreement provides for structural adjustment packages, including relocation and retraining for affected workers and their families;

(6) Page 3 (after line 30), after clause 4, insert:

4A Public scrutiny of draft RFAs

Within 21 days of receiving agreement from a State or Territory to the text of a draft RFA, the Minister, after consulting with the Minister for the Environment, must publish in the Gazette :

(a) a statement as to whether the draft RFA is in accordance with this Act; and

(b) a notice of the Minister's intention to enter into the RFA; and

(c) a copy of the draft RFA.

4B Parliamentary scrutiny of draft RFAs

(1) The Minister must not enter into an RFA on behalf of the Commonwealth except in accordance with this section.

(2) Before entering into an RFA on behalf of the Commonwealth, the Minister must cause a copy of the proposed RFA to be tabled in each House of the Parliament.

(3) Either House of the Parliament, within 15 sitting days of that House after the proposed RFA has been tabled, may, under motion upon notice, pass a resolution disapproving of the proposed RFA.

(4) Where:

(a) a notice referred to in subsection (3) is given with respect to a proposed RFA; and

(b) at the expiration of the period during which a resolution disapproving of the proposed RFA could have been passed:

(i) the notice has not been withdrawn and the relevant motion has not been called on; or

(ii) the relevant motion has been called on, moved and seconded and has not been withdrawn or otherwise disposed of;

the proposed RFA is deemed to have been disapproved of.

(5) If:

(a) either House of the Parliament passes a resolution in accordance with subsection (3); or

(b) the proposed RFA is deemed to have been disapproved of under subsection (4);

the Minister must not enter into the proposed RFA on behalf of the Commonwealth except in accordance with subsection (7).

(6) If:

(a) neither House of the Parliament passes a resolution in accordance with subsection (3); and

(b) the proposed RFA is not deemed to have been disapproved of under subsection (4);

the Minister may enter into the RFA on behalf of the Commonwealth on or after the day immediately following the last day on which a resolution disapproving of the proposed RFA could have been passed.

(7) If an RFA has been disapproved of under subsection (3) or (4), the Minister may resubmit the RFA under subsection (2) provided that a period of not less than 15 sitting days has elapsed since the day on which:

(a) a resolution disapproving of the RFA was passed by a House of the Parliament; or

(b) the RFA was deemed to have been disapproved of.

(8) An RFA which is resubmitted under subsection (7) may be resubmitted in an amended form.

(9) Proposed amendments to an RFA are subject to section 4A and this section. A reference in these sections to a proposed RFA includes a reference to proposed amendments to an RFA.

(7) Page 3 (after line 30), after clause 4, insert:

4C Minister to establish forest database

The Minister must cause to be established a comprehensive and publicly available national forest database to ensure that decision-making and management of long-term timber supplies are based on the best available information.

(8) Clause 5, page 4 (line 20), at the end of paragraph (d), add ", except in so far as it applies to:

(i) a property included in the World Heritage List; or

(ii) a wetland included in the List of Wetlands of International Importance kept under the Ramsar Convention; or

(iii) forestry operations that are incidental to another action whose primary purpose does not relate to forestry.".

(9) Page 4 (after line 27), after clause 6, insert:

6A Amendment of RFAs

Nothing in this Act is to be taken to prevent the amendment of an RFA by the parties to an RFA where the parties agree that the circumstances are such as to warrant amendment of the RFA and where they have consulted interested stakeholders about the amendment.

(10) Heading to clause 7, page 4 (line 28), after "breach ", insert ", amendment or termination ".

(11) Clause 7, page 4 (line 29), after "compensation", insert "in relation to actual losses arising from the loss of legally exercisable rights".

(12) Clause 7, page 5 (line 1), after "RFA", insert "for a breach, amendment or termination of an RFA".

(13) Clause 7, page 5 (after line 8), after subclause (2), insert:

(2A) The Commonwealth is not liable to pay compensation except in accordance with subsection (1) or (2).

(14) Clause 8, page 5 (line 19), at the end of subclause (1), add:

; and (c) incorporating the full text of the RFA.

(15) Clause 8, page 5 (after line 24), at the end of the clause, add:

(3) In this section:

RFA includes an amendment to an existing RFA.

Senate's additional amendment—

(1) Omit all words after "at the end of the Bill, add:", substitute:

9 The Wood and Paper Industry Council

The Wood and Paper Industry Council is established.

10 Objectives

The Council, in the performance of its functions, must pursue the objectives of enhancing:

(a) the development of Australia's forest and forest product industries; and

(b) employment opportunities in Australia's forest and forest product industries; and

(c) the downstream processing and value-adding of forest products; and

(d) the international competitiveness of the forest and forest product industries; and

(e) the principles of ecologically sustainable development of forest industries.

11 Functions of Council

(1) The functions of the Council are:

(a) to investigate market and import replacement opportunities for the industry and make recommendations to the Minister about pursuing such opportunities; and

(b) to inquire into, and to report to the Minister on, matters referred to it by the Minister in relation to the industry; and

(c) to develop, and to submit to the Minister, recommendations, guidelines and plans for measures consistent with the principles of ecologically sustainable development designed to safeguard or further the interests of the industry; and

(d) to consult, and cooperate, with other persons and organisations in matters affecting the industry; and

(e) to periodically inquire into, and to report to the Minister on, policies and procedures governing the export of unprocessed wood; and

(f) to establish subcommittees and working parties in a manner consistent with the objectives of the Council; and

(g) such other functions (if any) as are conferred upon the Council by the regulations.

(2) Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), the Council, in the performance of its functions, may take into account any matter raised at an industry conference convened under section 13.

12 Powers of Council

The Council has power to do all things that are necessary or convenient to be done for, or in connection with, the performance of its functions.

13 Industry conferences

(1) The Chairperson may, from time to time as he or she considers appropriate, and after consultation with the Deputy Chairperson, convene conferences of persons concerned with the industry.

(2) The Chairperson must convene a conference under subsection (1) whenever he or she is directed to do so by the Council.

(3) The purpose of convening a conference is:

(a) to assist the Council in identifying matters of concern to the industry; and

(b) to promote a better understanding of problems within the industry; and

(c) to foster a consensus on policies to be instituted to safeguard the interests of the industry; and

(d) to increase markets, downstream processing, value-adding and international competitiveness.

(4) A conference is to be convened at a time and place determined by the Chairperson.

(5) Persons entitled to attend a conference are:

(a) the members of the Council; and

(b) such other persons concerned with the industry as the Chairperson, in consultation with the Deputy Chairperson, invites.

(6) The Chairperson is to preside at all conferences.

14 Publication of Council reports

(1) Where a Council report is given to the Minister, the Minister must cause a copy of the report to be tabled in each House of the Parliament, as soon as practicable after its receipt by the Minister.

(2) Where a member disagrees with a finding or recommendation to be included in a Council report, the report must include a statement of the views of that member in respect of that finding or recommendation and must identify the member holding those views.

15 Constitution of Council

(1) The Council is to consist of the following members:

(a) a person representing the Commonwealth;

(b) a person nominated by each of those States which have entered into RFAs under this Act;

(c) 2 persons nominated by the Australian Council of Trade Unions;

(d) a person representing persons having an interest in the protection of forest environments and ecosystems;

(e) a person nominated by the Australian Conservation Foundation;

(f) a person representing the interests of the hardwood sawmilling sector;

(g) a person representing the interests of the softwood sawmilling sector;

(h) a person representing the interests of the pulp and paper sector;

(i) a person representing the interests of the timber furniture sector;

(j) a person representing the interests of the reconstituted wood products sector;

(k) a person representing the interests of merchandisers and retailers of timber products;

(l) a person representing the interests of the forest-related tourism sector;

(m) such other persons (if any) as represent such other bodies or organisations connected with the industry as are specified by the Minister in the instrument of appointment.

(2) The members hold office on a part-time basis.

(3) The members, other than a member referred to in paragraph (1)(a) or (b), are to be appointed by the Minister and hold office for such period, not exceeding 3 years, as is specified in the instrument of appointment but are eligible for re-appointment in accordance with this Act.

(4) The Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson are each to represent one of the following interests:

(a) the interests of the industry;

(b) the interests of employees in the industry.

(5) A person represents the interests of the industry if he or she is a member of the Council appointed under paragraph (1)(f), (g), (h), (i), (j), (k) or (l).

(6) A person represents the interests of employees in the industry if he or she is a member of the Council appointed under paragraph (1)(c).

(7) If the Chairperson represents one of the interests mentioned in subsection (4), then the Deputy Chairperson must represent the other interest mentioned in subsection (4).

(8) After each 12 months in office, the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson must exchange positions.

(9) The members hold office on such terms and conditions (if any) in relation to matters not provided for by this Act as are determined, in writing, by the Minister.

(10) The performance of the functions, and the exercise of the powers, of the Council are not affected by reason only of vacancies in its membership.

16 Acting Chairperson

(1) The Deputy Chairperson is to act in the office of Chairperson:

(a) during a vacancy in the office of Chairperson (whether or not an appointment has previously been made to the office); or

(b) during any period, or during all periods, when the Chairperson is absent from duty or from Australia or is, for any other reason, unable to perform the duties of the office.

(2) Anything done by or in relation to a person purporting to act under subsection (1) is not invalid merely because:

(a) the occasion for the person's appointment had not arisen; or

(b) there is a defect or irregularity in connection with the person's appointment; or

(c) the person's appointment had ceased to have effect; or

(d) the occasion for the person to act had not arisen or had ceased.

17 Deputies of members

(1) The Minister may, if requested by a person, body or organisation referred to in subsection 15(1), appoint a person to be the Deputy of a member referred to in that subsection.

(2) The Minister must, if requested by the person or body that nominated a person to be the Deputy of a member, terminate the appointment of that person.

(3) A Deputy of a member may resign by giving to the Minister a signed notice of resignation.

(4) The Deputy of a member is entitled to attend a meeting of the Council that is not attended by the member of whom he or she is the Deputy and, while so attending, is taken to be a member.

(5) The appointment of a Deputy of a member, and anything done by or in relation to a Deputy of a member, is not invalid merely because:

(a) there is a defect or irregularity in connection with the Deputy's appointment; or

(b) the occasion for the person to act under this section had not arisen or had ceased.

18 Resignation of members

A member may resign by giving to the Minister a signed notice of resignation.

19 Termination of appointments etc.

(1) The Minister may:

(a) terminate the appointment of an appointed member for misbehaviour or physical or mental incapacity; or

(b) on the ground of misbehaviour or physical or mental incapacity—give a written direction that a member, other than an appointed member, is not entitled to attend meetings of the Council or receive allowances under section 22.

(2) If:

(a) a member becomes bankrupt, applies to take the benefit of any law for the relief of bankrupt or insolvent debtors, compounds with his or her creditors or makes an assignment of his or her remuneration for their benefit; or

(b) a member fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with section 20; or

(c) a member is absent, except with the leave of the Chairperson, from 3 consecutive meetings of the Council;

the Minister must:

(d) in the case of an appointed member—terminate the appointment of the member concerned; or

(e) in the case of a member other than an appointed member—give a written direction that the member is not entitled to attend meetings of the Council or receive allowances under section 22.

(3) In this section:

appointed member means a member other than a member referred to in paragraph 15(1)(a) or (b).

20 Disclosure of interests

(1) Where:

(a) a member has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in a matter being considered, or about to be considered, by the Council; and

(b) the interest could conflict with the proper performance of the member's duties in relation to the consideration of the matter;

the member must, as soon as practicable after the relevant facts have come to the member's knowledge, disclose the nature of the interest at a meeting of the Council.

(2) A disclosure under subsection (1) must be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

21 Meetings

(1) The Chairperson, in consultation with the Deputy Chairperson, may convene such meetings of the Council as he or she considers necessary for the efficient performance of its functions, provided that the Council must meet at least every 2 months.

(2) The Chairperson must convene a meeting of the Council on receipt of a written request signed by at least 4 members.

(3) Meetings of the Council are to be held at such places and at such times as the Chairperson, in consultation with the Deputy Chairperson, determines.

(4) The Chairperson is to preside at all meetings of the Council at which he or she is present.

(5) If the Chairperson is not present at a meeting of the Council, the Deputy Chairperson is to preside at the meeting.

(6) The Chairperson or the Deputy Chairperson is to preside at all meetings.

(7) At a meeting of the Council, a quorum is constituted by 5 members.

(8) A question arising at a meeting of the Council is to be decided by a majority of the votes of the members present and voting.

(9) At a meeting of the Council, the member presiding has a deliberative vote and, in the event of an equality of votes, also has a casting vote.

(10) The Council must keep minutes of its proceedings and publish them on the Internet within 14 days after each meeting.

(11) The Council may invite a person to attend a meeting of the Council for the purposes of advising or informing it on any matter.

22 Remuneration and allowances

(1) The Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson are to be paid such remuneration as is determined by the Remuneration Tribunal, but if no determination is in operation, the Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson are to be paid such remuneration as is prescribed.

(2) The Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson are to be paid such allowances as are prescribed.

(3) Subsections (1), (2), (4) and (5) have effect subject to the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 .

(4) A member (other than the Chairperson or the Deputy Chairperson of the Council) is to be paid such travelling allowance as is prescribed in relation to the performance of his or her duties as a member.

(5) A member of the Council is not a public office within the meaning of the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 .

23 Staff of Council

(1) The Chairperson may, on behalf of the Council and in consultation with the Deputy Chairperson, engage such employees as are necessary for the performance of the Council's functions.

(2) The terms and conditions of employment of persons engaged under subsection (1) are as determined by the Council in writing.

(3) The Chairperson may, on behalf of the Council and in consultation with the Deputy Chairperson, arrange with a Commonwealth authority or another body for the services of officers or employees of the authority or body to be made available for the purposes of the Council.

24 Consultants

(1) The Council may engage as consultants persons having suitable qualifications and experience.

(2) The terms and conditions of engagement are to be determined by the Council.

25 Money to be appropriated

(1) There is payable to the Council such money as is from time to time appropriated by the Parliament for the purposes of the Council.

(2) The Minister for Finance may give directions as to the amounts in which, and the times at which, money referred to in subsection (1) is to be paid to the Council.

26 Money of Council

(1) The money of the Council consists of money paid to the Council under section 25.

(2) The money of the Council is to be applied only:

(a) in payment or discharge of the expenses, obligations and liabilities of the Council arising under this Act; and

(b) in payment of remuneration and allowances payable under this Act; and

(c) in making any other payments required or permitted to be made by the Council.

(3) Subsection (2) does not prevent investment of surplus money of the Council under section 18 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 .

27 Taxation

The Council is not subject to taxation under any law of the Commonwealth, of a State or of a Territory.

28 Annual report

(1) The Council must, as soon as practicable after 30 June in each year, prepare and give to the Minister a report of its operations during the year that ended on that 30 June.

(2) A report under subsection (1) must be prepared in accordance with Schedule 1 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 .

(3) The Minister must cause a copy of the report to be laid before each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after the day on which the Minister receives the report.

(4) For the purposes of subsection (1), if this section does not come into operation on 1 July in any year, that subsection has effect in relation to the period commencing on the day on which this section comes into operation and ending on the 30 June next following that day as if that period were a period of one year ending on that 30 June.

29 Regulations

The Governor-General may make regulations, not inconsistent with this Act, prescribing all matters:

(a) required or permitted by this Act to be prescribed; or

(b) necessary or convenient to be prescribed in carrying out or giving effect to this Act.