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Thursday, 31 August 1989
Page: 755

Senator COULTER(10.17) —I take a somewhat different position from that of both the Minister and Senator Peter Baume in that I think we need to recognise that the situation with this Bill is somewhat different from that which obtained throughout the life of the Aboriginal Development Commission. This legislation is to cover a transitional period. Therefore, I am not convinced by Senator Baume's argument that the previous Ministers had not found it necessary to issue such a direction. The period anticipated by this legislation is a period of transition in which the ADC as presently constituted will disappear and a new body will come into existence. I am rather surprised that proposed new section 10a (2) says that each corporate plan shall relate to a period of at least three years and not more than five years, because my understanding is that under this legislation the ADC will disappear long before three years have elapsed and certainly well before five years have done so. Therefore, I am surprised that Senator Baume has not sought to amend that section.

I draw Senator Baume's attention to an amendment which he intends to make to proposed section 39a (4). It reads:

The Commission shall comply with an approved Finance Direction even if it is inconsistent with the corporate plan.

It seems to me that, contrary to what the Minister said, in the transitional period in which the ADC is being wound down in preparation for another body taking over, it may well be necessary for the Government, through the Minister, and the Commission, to work quite closely together. I am therefore a little concerned and I am minded not to support the Opposition's amendment because it would be unwise to constrain the process by which that winding down should occur and that may indeed involve some more specific cooperation between the Minister and the Commission.