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Thursday, 30 October 2014
Page: 8354

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Senator COLBECK (TasmaniaParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture) (16:03): I» «move» :

That these bills «be» «now» «read» «a» «second» «time .

I seek leave to have the second reading speeches incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speeches read as follows—

OMNIBUS REPEAL DAY (SPRING 2014) BILL 2014

The Abbott Government is getting on with doing what we said we would do, cutting $1 billion in unnecessary and costly red and green tape each year.

As part of 2014 Spring Repeal Day, ministers and parliamentary secretaries from six portfolios will introduce 11 bills that are deregulatory in nature and will deliver additional, significant compliance cost savings.

Together this bill (the Omnibus Repeal Day (Spring 2014) Bill 2014), and the Amending Acts 1970 to 1979 Repeal Bill 2014 and Statute Law Revision Bill (No. 2) 2014, which I will also introduce, and the Spent and Redundant Instruments Repeal Regulation 2014 (No. 2), which I will table, are whole-of-government initiatives that repeal nearly 1,000 pieces and more than 7,200 pages of legislation and regulations.

This is in addition to the bills that were introduced as part of the 2014 Autumn Repeal Day, which repealed over 10,000 pieces and 50,000 pages of legislation and regulations. This brings the total, net compliance savings for individuals, businesses and the not-for profit sector to $2.1 billion, which is more than double the Government's annual red tape reduction target.

The Omnibus Repeal Day Bill itself contains 26 deregulatory measures from across nine portfolios that are more appropriately contained in an omnibus bill than in individual stand-alone bills and have a compliance cost saving of $1.4 million.

The Bill abolishes bodies, repeals spent and redundant provisions and acts, and streamlines processes.

Abolished bodies

In addition to the 75 bodies repealed since the election, the Bill abolishes three bodies:

the Product Stewardship Advisory Group;

the Oil Stewardship Advisory Council; and

the Fishing Industry Policy Council.

The Product Stewardship Advisory Group was created in December 2012 to advise the Minister for Environment on a list of classes of products that should be accredited or regulated under the Product Stewardship Act 2011, but the Department of the Environment already consults industry on the list on an "as needs" basis. For example, in 2014-2015, after consultation with industry, end-of-life batteries, end-of-life air conditioners and refrigerators with small gas charges, and various types of paint and packaging were included on the list. The purpose of this statutory body is better fulfilled by the Department and consequently, the body will be abolished.

Similarly, the Oil Stewardship Advisory Council will be abolished, as the Department of the Environment is better placed to consult with industry on an "as needs" basis in relation to product stewardship arrangements for oils and the recovery and recycling of used oils under the Product Stewardship (Oil) Act 2000.

The Fishing Industry Policy Council is a ministerial advisory council in the agriculture portfolio that has not been convened since the Fisheries Administration Act commenced in 1991. The purpose of the Council was to consult and advise on matters affecting the industry, but other bodies, including fisheries management advisory committees, better fulfil this purpose. This repeal is supported by the Review of Commonwealth Fisheries: Legislation, Policy and Management, which was published in December 2012.

Spent and redundant acts

The Bill also repeals spent and redundant provisions and acts.

Examples of spent and redundant provisions that will be repealed include:

obsolete provisions of the Rural Adjustment Act 1992 relating to the Rural Adjustment Scheme and the Farm Business Improvement Program, which, following the 2008-09 national review of drought policy and extensive stakeholder consultation over the past five years, have ceased and have been superseded by new approaches to providing farm support, including the farm household allowance;

consultation provisions in the Broadcasting Service Act 1992, the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, the Radiocommunications Act 1992 and the Telecommunications Act 1997, which are duplicated by the Legislative Instruments Act 2003. These specific consultation provisions are considered unnecessary as section 17 of the Legislative Instruments Act requires a rule-maker to be satisfied that appropriate and reasonably practicable consultation has been undertaken prior to making a legislative instrument; and

various social security payments from the Social Security Act 1991 and various veterans' payments under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986, including one-off payments where the last test date for the payments has long passed and people are no longer able to qualify for the payments.

Examples of spent and redundant acts that will be repealed include:

The Home and Community Care Act 1985 (HACC), which was made redundant in the context of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Federal Financial Relations of 2008. Since then, there has been a separation of roles and responsibilities in relation to HACC in all states and territories, except Victoria and Western Australia, where negotiations continue. Repealing this legislation is consistent with the Government's commitment to remove redundant legislation and will not impact on the Victoria or Western Australian governments or HACC providers in these states, which remain governed by the HACC Review Agreement; and

the Papua and New Guinea Loan (International Bank) Act 1970, which relates to a guarantee of a 1973 loan to PNG that matured in 1994 and that the Bank for Reconstruction and Development has confirmed has been repaid in full.

Together with the Amending Acts and the Statute Law Revision, this Bill will repeal over 650 Commonwealths Acts.

Streamlining processes

The Bill also streamlines processes by, for example:

modernising publication requirements for the Australian Communication and Media Authority under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992. ACMA will no longer be required to publish a notice in the Commonwealth Gazette when determining, varying or revoking a program standard, but instead, must publish a notice both "on the ACMA's website" and "in one or more forms that are readily accessible to the public". These amendments will provide ACMA with increased flexibility to choose a method of publication that is most appropriate to reach its target audience and will better alert stakeholders to regulatory change;

no longer requiring fuel producers and suppliers who (under the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000) already report certain information on a monthly basis to the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics for the compilation of the Australian Petroleum Statistics, to report that information on an annual basis under the act as well. The Australian Petroleum Statistics provides monthly national and state petroleum statistical information about the sales of petroleum products; exports and imports of petroleum products and crude oil; production of crude oil and condensate; refinery input and output; and stocks of petroleum products. As such, the requirements under the act can be repealed; and

amending the Aged Care Act 1997 so that aged care providers, who are currently required to notify the Department of Social Service of changes to key personnel within 28 days, will instead only have to notify the Department of changes that materially affect the provider's suitability to provide care.

Conclusion

In conclusion, this bill, the Omnibus Repeal Day (Spring 2014) Bill 2014, is the first of 11 bills in the Government's 2014 Spring Repeal Day package. Together with the Amending Acts 1970 to 1979 Repeal Bill 2014 and the Statute Law Revision Bill (No.2) 2014, it will repeal nearly 1,000 pieces and more than 7,200 pages of legislation and regulations and together with the 2014 Autumn Repeal Day package, which repealed over 10,000 pieces and 50,000 pages of legislation and regulations, brings the total, net compliance savings for individuals, businesses and the not-for profit sector to $2.1 billion, which is more than double the Government's annual red tape reduction target.

I commend this bill and the entire 2014 Spring Repeal Day Package to the Chamber.

 

AMENDING ACTS 1970 TO 1979 REPEAL BILL 2014

The Amending Acts 1970 to 1979 Repeal Bill 2014 is the second bill in the Government's 2014 Spring Repeal Day package.

This Bill continues the Government's efforts to streamline the statute books by removing 656 amending and repeal acts enacted between 1970 and 1979. This builds on the Amending Acts 1901 to 1969 Repeal Bill 2014 which was part of the 2014 Autumn Repeal Day package and repealed over 1,000 amending acts made between 1901 and 1969.

The Bill repeals each Act mentioned in its schedule. In all cases, the repeal of these acts will not substantially alter existing arrangements or make any changes to the substance of the law and has a compliance cost saving of $0.1 million.

These acts are no longer required as the amendments and repeals have already happened.

If an application, saving or transitional provision is included in one of those acts, any ongoing operation of the provision will be preserved.  The acts do not contain any other substantive provisions that are not already spent.

Repealing these acts is important because it will reduce the regulatory burden and make accessing the law simpler for both businesses and individuals. It will make the statute books simpler and quicker to use by reducing the time it takes to locate current laws.

At present, the acts proposed to be repealed in this Bill form part of the current law and it is not obvious whether the acts have force in and of themselves.

Repealing these acts will remove any confusion about the status of these laws. It will also facilitate the publication of consolidated versions of acts by the Commonwealth and by private publishers of legislation.

People with a specific interest in the legislation can continue to access these acts as they will remain publically available on ComLaw as historical records.

The Bill repeals, for example:

over 40 acts that amended numerous, different sales tax acts. Nine principal Acts from the 1930s, titled the Sales Tax Act (No. 1) 1930 through to Sales Tax Act (No. 9) 1930, were each amended in 1970, 1975 and 1978 and these amending acts will be repealed as the principal acts became inoperative in 2006 following the introduction of the goods and services tax on 1 July 2000;

the Anglo-Australian Telescope Agreement Act 1971. This Act amended the now repealed principal Act of 1970 by updating the title of the Compensation Act which applied to Australian members of the Anglo-Australian Telescope Board. The Board has since been dissolved and is now part of the Australian Astronomical Observatory in the Department of Industry; and

the Australian Federal Police (Consequential Amendments) Act 1979, which amended certain acts in connection with the enactment of the Australian Federal Police Act 1979. It replaced provisions referring to the 'Commonwealth Police Force' with the newly formed 'Australian Federal Police' in the Fisheries Act 1952 and National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1975, and references to 'Commonwealth Police Officer or member' with 'member of the Australian Federal Police' in the Crimes Act 1914 and Commonwealth Prisoners Act 1967. These consequential amendments happened over 30 years ago and the amending act will be repealed.

There are numerous other items contained in schedule 1 of the Bill which amend a principal act multiple times over the decade and are no longer necessary.

Amending acts enacted after 1979 will be repealed on future repeal days.

I commend this bill and the entire 2014 Spring Repeal Day Package to the Chamber.

 

STATUTE LAW REVISION BILL (NO. 2) 2014

The Statute Law Revision Bill (No. 2) 2014 is the third bill in the Government's 2014 Spring Repeal Day package.

The Bill continues the work of the Statute Law Revision Bill (No. 1) 2014, which was part of the 2014 Autumn Repeal Day, correcting minor errors in the statute book and repealing spent or redundant legislation. The Bill:

removes provisions that are obsolete or no longer have effect;

corrects outdated terminology and removes gender-specific language; and

improves the useability of the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 by consolidating and better signposting the Act's definitions.

By improving the accuracy and useability of legislation, the Bill will save individuals, businesses and community organisations time and money and has a compliance cost saving of $0.42 million.

Schedules 1 and 2 to the Bill have two main purposes:

correcting minor technical errors in principal acts, such as typographical and numbering errors; and

correcting errors in amending acts, such as misdescribed amendments.

Correcting these legislative provisions helps make the law easier to understand and use.

Schedule 3 to the Bill updates outdated language in a number of Acts in two respects, by:

replacing the word 'servant' with 'employee'; and

removing gender-specific language.

These changes improve the relevance and inclusiveness of Commonwealth legislation.

Schedule 4 to the Bill improves the way that defined terms are managed in the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986. These changes mean that users can refer to one main provision to find a definition that applies throughout the Act, or the definition's location elsewhere in the Act, rather than needing to peruse over 25 definitions sections. Schedule 4 also makes minor technical amendments to improve the usability of the Act.

Schedules 5 and 6 of the Bill repeal spent or obsolete provisions and acts. For example:

The Broadcasting Services Act 1992, which set annual captioning targets for the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 financial years for commercial television broadcasting licensees and national broadcasters. As those financial years have ended, the provisions that set the targets can now be removed from the statute book.

The Immigration (Education) Charge Act 1992, which imposed an English Education Charge on non-citizens whose applications for stay visas were made between 1993 and 1997. As those non-citizens will have completed their tuition by now, the Act can be repealed.

This work to correct minor errors in the statute book and repealing spent or redundant legislation will continue in future repeal days.

I commend this bill and the entire 2014 Spring Repeal Day Package to the Chamber.

Debate adjourned.