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Thursday, 15 December 1983
Page: 3855

In the Labor and Quality of Government paper, the Government indicated its basic approach to statutory authorities as including the principle that, in the absence of specific and over-riding reasons to the contrary, new functions of government should be carried out by departments rather than by statutory authorities. We also stated, where authorities are created, our approach would be to ensure their financial and administrative accountability, improve their effectiveness and improve public control over them.

In keeping with its policy commitment on statutory authorities, the Government is actively considering the issues canvassed in the recommendations contained in the Fifth Report of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Government Operations including creation (taking into account whether the establishment of an authority is necessary in terms of operational effectiveness and public accountability); control (including ministerial control and the role of departments); appointments of, and terms and conditions for, officeholders; the creation of subsidiaries; financial arrangements; and review (including sunset legislation). In this context the Government is taking into account the views and recommendations contained in the Fifth Report and also the Senate Select Committee on Statutory Authority Financing.

It is expected that the results of the Government's deliberations will be made available early in the new year.

5. Foreign Affairs and Defence, Senate Standing Committee-Indochinese Refugee Resettlement-Australia's Involvement.

Tabled 16 February 1982

The Minister Representing the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs is to make a response today.

6. Government Clothing and Ordnance Factories, Senate Select Committee-Future of the Government Clothing Factory at Coburg.

Tabled 14 October 1982

The Minister for Defence Support announced on 29 April 1983 that the Government had reviewed the whole matter and decided that the factory will continue to operate within the Department of Defence Support. A number of measures have been set in train to enhance the effectiveness of the factory as a commercial enterprise, including investment in improved layout and facilities, and an examination of the cost-effectiveness of factory operations. Corporate plans are being developed with the objectives of increasing factory autonomy and a broadening of the workload base.

7. Industrial Relations Legislation, Senate Select Committee.


Tabled 26 October 1982

The former Government's legislation, the subject of the report, lapsed on prorogation of the previous Parliament. Accordingly, the Government sees no need to respond to this report by way of a Ministerial statement.

8. National Resources, Senate Standing Committee-Development of the Bauxite, Alumina and Aluminium Industries.

Tabled 25 November 1981

The report was tabled during the time of office of the previous Government and made a number of specific recommendations covering energy, taxation, ownership labour, infrastructure and the environment. The report was written at a time when the outlook for the aluminium and energy industries was substantially different from current circumstances. Combined with policy changes since then, the consideration of the matters raised requires a detailed review. When the review is complete, a response in the Parliament will be made in the usual way in 1984.

Commonwealth's Role in Rural Research and Extension.

Tabled 30 November 1982

The Government is examining the report-along with the Joint Management Review ( JMR) of the administration of research schemes in the Primary Industry portfolio conducted by the Public Service Board and the Department of Primary Industry and relevant recommendations of the Balderstone Committee-with a view to making a full response as soon as possible. Many complex issues are raised by the Senate Committee report itself, but the Government has already acted in relation to one of the recommendations-establishment of a Natural Soil Conservation Program. This decision, and the recently announced development of an Australian Livestock and Meat Research Development Corporation, reflect the Government's positive attitude towards the organisation and funding of rural research and extension.

9. Passenger Fares and Services to and from Tasmania-Senate Select Committee.


Tabled 18 August 1981

Further to the interim response made in the Senate 1 December 1983, the Government expects to be able to present a full response early in the Autumn Sittings.

10. Social Welfare, Senate Standing Committee-Another side of the Drug Debate: a medicated society?

Tabled 14 May 1981

The Minister for Health is now working on a series of proposals on the supply of pharmaceutical preparations in Australia and intends to use the report as an important resource document when considering those proposals.

Homeless Youth.

Tabled 17 August 1982

Senator Grimes made a Joint Ministerial Statement-Review of Crisis and Youth Accommodation-to the Senate on 17 November 1983 which, among other things, responded to the report.

11. South-West Tasmania-Demand and Supply of Electricity for South-West Tasmania, Senate Select Committee-Report.

Tabled 23 November 1983

In view of the lengthy Parliamentary debates on South-West Tasmania and on electricity supply in Tasmania, the Government does not see a need for a further and particular Ministerial statement to be made in response to this report.

12. Trade and Commerce, Senate Standing Committee-Development of the Australian Fishing Industry.

Tabled 21 April 1983

The Government is examining the report with a view to making a full response to the Senate shortly. The report raises issues of significance not only to the Commonwealth but also to the States and the fishing industry. It was a subject of discussion at this year's meeting of the Standing Committee in Fisheries and the recently created Interim Fishing Industry Consultative Branch has set up a Working Group to canvas industry views on the Committee's report. A number of the reports recommendations have already been implemented.

Motion (by Senator Button) agreed to:

That the Senate take note of the statement.