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Thursday, 8 February 2007
Page: 8

Mr TRUSS (Minister for Trade) (10:13 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

This bill amends the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation Act 1991 by making changes to the governance arrangements of EFIC. These changes will result in its current board management structure reflecting more closely the broad corporate governance model set out in the Review of Corporate Governance of Statutory Authorities and Office Holders, conducted by Mr John Uhrig.

EFIC is Australia’s export credit agency. EFIC’s mandate is to profitably support the growth of Australian business internationally, particularly in the market gap where private sector capacity is insufficient or unavailable. This bill forms part of the implementation of the government’s response to John Uhrig’s review of corporate governance of statutory authorities and officeholders. The government has been reviewing all statutory agencies in the context of Mr Uhrig’s recommendations to ensure that we have the most effective accountability and governance structures across the whole of government.

The government has assessed EFIC’s existing governance structure against the recommendations and principles of the Uhrig review and identified that the board template is suitable on the basis that EFIC operates primarily as a commercial organisation and (except in relation to national interest transactions) its board has a high degree of power to act.

The changes are of an operational and enabling nature. The amendments do not impact EFIC’s functions, nor EFIC’s delivery of export facilitation services to Australian businesses. EFIC will continue to be focused on assisting Australian businesses to enter and develop export markets.

On behalf of the government, I would like to thank the current and previous EFIC boards. I am grateful for their extensive expertise and commitment in supporting the growth of Australian businesses internationally and I am confident that the board will continue their good work.