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National Water Commission Bill 2004

Part 3 Constitution of the NWC

   

8   Constitution of the NWC

             (1)  The NWC consists of:

                     (a)  the Chair; and

                     (b)  at least 3, but no more than 6, Commissioners nominated in accordance with subsection (2) or (3).

Note:          The Chair is also a Commissioner: see the definition of Commissioner in section 4.

             (2)  The Commonwealth must nominate a person to be appointed as the Chair in consultation with the other parties to the NWI. The Commonwealth may nominate no more than 3 other persons to be appointed as Commissioners.

             (3)  The parties to the NWI (other than the Commonwealth) may nominate no more than 3 persons to be appointed as Commissioners.

9   Duty of Chair

                   The Chair must keep the Minister informed of the general operations of the NWC in respect of the performance of the NWC’s functions.

10   Conduct of Commissioners

                   Each Commissioner must act in the best interests of the NWC.

11   Appointment of Commissioners

             (1)  A Commissioner is to be appointed by the Governor-General by written instrument, on either a full-time or part-time basis.

Note:          A Commissioner can be re-appointed under this section: see subsection 33(4A) of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 .

             (2)  A Commissioner holds office for the period specified in the instrument of appointment. The period must not exceed 3 years.

             (3)  A person is not eligible for appointment as a Commissioner unless the person has a high level of expertise in an area relevant to the functions of the NWC. Relevant areas include, but are not limited to, the following:

                     (a)  water resource management;

                     (b)  freshwater ecology or hydrology;

                     (c)  resource economics;

                     (d)  public sector governance;

                     (e)  the audit, evaluation or implementation of programs relating to natural resource management.

12   Acting appointments

             (1)  The Minister may appoint a person to act as a Commissioner:

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

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

Note 1:       The Chair is also a Commissioner: see the definition of Commissioner in section 4.

Note 2:       See also section 33A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 , which contains extra rules about acting appointments.

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

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

                     (b)  there was a defect or irregularity in connection with the appointment; or

                     (c)  the appointment ceased to have effect; or

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

13   Remuneration

             (1)  A Commissioner is to be paid remuneration that is determined by the Remuneration Tribunal. If no determination of that remuneration by the Tribunal is in operation, the Commissioner is to be paid the remuneration that is prescribed by the regulations.

             (2)  A Commissioner is to be paid the allowances that are prescribed by the regulations.

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

14   Leave of absence

             (1)  A full-time Commissioner has the recreation leave entitlements that are determined by the Remuneration Tribunal.

             (2)  The Minister may grant a full-time Commissioner leave of absence, other than recreation leave, on the terms and conditions as to remuneration or otherwise that the Minister determines.

             (3)  The Chair may grant leave of absence to any part-time Commissioner on the terms and conditions that the Chair determines.

             (4)  If the Chair is a part-time Commissioner, the Minister may grant leave of absence to the Chair on the terms and conditions that the Minister determines.

15   Outside employment

             (1)  A full-time Commissioner must not engage in paid employment outside the duties of the Commissioner’s office without the Minister’s consent.

             (2)  A part-time Commissioner must not engage in paid employment that conflicts or could conflict with the proper performance of the Commissioner’s duties without the Minister’s consent.

16   Other terms and conditions

                   A Commissioner holds office on the terms and conditions (if any) in relation to matters not covered by this Act that are determined by the Governor-General.

17   Resignation

             (1)  A Commissioner may resign his or her appointment by giving the Governor-General a written resignation.

             (2)  If the Chair resigns his or her appointment, then he or she must resign as both the Chair and a Commissioner.

Note:          This does not prevent a person who has been appointed as both the Chair and a Commissioner from being re-appointed only as a Commissioner.

18   Termination of appointment

All Commissioners

             (1)  The Governor-General may terminate the appointment of a Commissioner:

                     (a)  for misbehaviour or physical or mental incapacity; or

                     (b)  if the Commissioner:

                              (i)  becomes bankrupt; or

                             (ii)  applies to take the benefit of any law for the relief of bankrupt or insolvent debtors; or

                            (iii)  compounds with his or her creditors; or

                            (iv)  makes an assignment of his or her remuneration for the benefit of his or her creditors; or

                     (c)  if the Commissioner fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with section 22.

Additional grounds: full-time Commissioners

             (2)  The Governor-General may terminate the appointment of a full-time Commissioner if:

                     (a)  the Commissioner is absent, except on leave of absence, for 14 consecutive days or for 28 days in any 12 months; or

                     (b)  the Commissioner engages, except with the Minister’s consent, in paid employment outside the duties of his or her office.

Additional grounds: part-time Commissioners

             (3)  The Governor-General may terminate the appointment of a part-time Commissioner if:

                     (a)  the Commissioner is absent, except on leave of absence, from 3 consecutive meetings of the NWC; or

                     (b)  the Commissioner engages, except with the Minister’s consent, in paid employment that conflicts or could conflict with the proper performance of the duties of his or her office.

19   Meetings

             (1)  The Chair must convene at least 8 meetings of the NWC in each calendar year.

             (2)  Meetings of the NWC must be held at such places as the Chair determines.

Note:          Section 33B of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 provides for participation in meetings by telephone etc.

             (3)  At a meeting of the NWC, 4 Commissioners constitute a quorum.

             (4)  The Chair must preside at all meetings of the NWC at which he or she is present.

             (5)  If the Chair is absent from all or part of a meeting of the NWC, a Commissioner chosen by the other Commissioners present is to preside as Chair.

20   Notice of meetings

                   Each Commissioner is entitled to receive reasonable notice of the NWC’s meetings.

21   Conduct of meetings

             (1)  Subject to this Part, the NWC must make rules of procedure, in writing, for dealing with potential conflicts of interest. The NWC may make other rules of procedure to be followed at meetings.

             (2)  The NWC may alter its rules of procedure from time to time.

             (3)  The NWC must make its rules of procedure, as altered from time to time, available to the public.

             (4)  The NWC must ensure that minutes of its meetings are kept.

22   Disclosure of interests

Disclosure by the Chair

             (1)  If the Chair has any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in a matter being considered, or about to be considered, by the NWC, being an interest that could conflict with the proper performance of the Chair’s functions in relation to a matter arising at a meeting of the NWC, then the Chair must disclose that interest to the other Commissioners as soon as practicable.

             (2)  If the Chair has disclosed an interest, the Chair must not participate in the NWC’s consideration of the matter unless the other Commissioners agree.

Disclosure by a Commissioner other than the Chair

             (3)  If any other Commissioner has any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in a matter being considered, or about to be considered, by the NWC, being an interest that could conflict with the proper performance of the Commissioner’s functions in relation to a matter arising at a meeting of the NWC, then the Commissioner must disclose that interest to the Chair as soon as practicable.

             (4)  If any other Commissioner has disclosed an interest, the Commissioner must not participate in the NWC’s consideration of the matter unless the Chair and the other Commissioners agree.

Disclosure to be recorded in the minutes of the meeting

             (5)  Any disclosure, and any decision made by the Commissioners in relation to the disclosure, must be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.