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Monday, 30 August 1993
Page: 490


Senator BURNS —On behalf of Senator Loosley, I give notice that, at the giving of notices on the next day of sitting, Senator Loosley shall withdraw Business of the Senate notices of motion Nos 2, 3 and 8, standing in his name, for 11 sitting days after today. I seek leave to incorporate the committee's correspondence in Hansard.

  Leave granted.

  The correspondence read as follows

7 April 1993

The Hon Simon Crean, MP

Minister for Primary Industries and

Energy

Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Minister

I refer to the Australian Wool Corporation Regulations (Amendment), Statutory Rules 1992 No. 438, and the Wool Research and Development Corporation Regulations (Amendment), Statutory Rules 1992 No. 443, considered by the Committee at its meeting of 6 April 1993.

Both sets of regulations change the voting majorities for motions relating to wool tax recommendations. The Explanatory Statements do not provide reasons for the changes. The Committee would appreciate your advice on the reasons and your assurance that wool-tax payers will not be prejudiced by the changes.

There is a small drafting oversight in both sets of regulations. An `and' has been omitted from the end of r.5F(1)(c) of the Australian Wool Corporation Regulations and r.6B(1)(c) of the Wool Research and Development Corporation Regulations.

Yours sincerely

Stephen Loosley

Chairman

10 August 1993

Senator Stephen Loosley

Chairman

Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances

Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Senator Loosley

Thank you for you letter of 7 April 1993 requesting advice about the reasons for amending the Australian Wool Corporation (AWC) regulations and the Wool Research and Development Corporation (WRDC) Regulations.

The adoption of a simple majority for motions relating to wool tax recommendations was a measure designed to improve the accountability of industry bodies to their constituents, and was made against the background of public concern and comment on the operations of the Annual General Meetings of the AWC and WRDC. You might also note that this approach accords with a Cabinet decision made in relation to the voting arrangements for annual general meetings of statutory marketing authorities. In addition, apart from the requirement that no confidence motions be passed by a two-thirds majority, I considered a simple majority to be the most democratic arrangement.

The amendments to the Regulations reflect similar changes to legislation covering other relevant rural sector bodies, and ensure that a consistent approach is adopted in relation to the legislation for which I have portfolio responsibility.

I have noted your comments regarding the minor omissions in both sets of Regulations. I have requested that they be rectified when the Regulations are next amended.

Yours sincerely

Simon Crean

24 May 1993

The Hon Laurie Brereton, MP

Minister for Industrial Relations

Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Minister

I refer to Public Service Determination 1992/333, considered by the Committee at its meeting of 20 May 1993.

The determination provides for the payment of a disability allowance for officers of the Industry Commission who are required to relocate from Canberra to Melbourne. Clause 3.1(2) appears to confer a discretion on the Chairman of the Commission to increase or decrease the amount of these allowances.

The Committee is concerned about the nature of this discretion. In particular, it questions whether it is appropriate to confer an apparent power to reduce allowances. On its face, this appears to be a surprising power. The Committee appreciates that persons who disagree with the exercise of the discretion may approach the Merit Protection and Review Agency. However, the Committee questions any need at all for a discretion to reduce allowances.

The Committee is also concerned at the apparent possibility of prejudicial retrospective exercise of the discretion, as the determination was made on 23 December 1992 to apply to a disability which commenced on 1 August 1992.

Yours sincerely

Stephen Loosley

Chairman

3 August 1993

Senator Stephen Loosley

Chairman

Standing Committee on

Regulations and Ordinances

The Senate

Parliament House

CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Senator

Thank you for your letter of 24 May 1993 concerning Public Service Determination No. 333 of 1992. The delay in responding is regretted.

Your Committee is concerned that, under clause 3.1(2) of that Determination, the Chairman of the Industry Commission is empowered to direct that an amount be paid in lieu of the disability allowance provided for in clause 3.1(1) and that the amount so paid could be more than or less than the amount specified in clause 3.1(1)

I also note that, on 27 May 1993, you gave notice in the Senate that, after 15 sitting days, you would move that Determination No. 333 be disallowed.

Your Committee's particular concerns are that:

the Chairperson has a power to reduce allowances; there could be a prejudicial retrospective exercise of the discretion.

I would like to draw the Committee's attention to certain points:

the allowance under clause 3.1 is additional to the normal transfer allowance provided for in Public Service Determinations No. 10 of 1983 and No. 46 of 1984;

this provision was in recognition of the fact that officers could be asked to relocate at short notice and was intended to provide for reasonably incurred additional transfer costs;

it was considered that some flexibility should be provided to allow for either an increase or decrease in the additional allowance to cater for particular cases in which the additional allowance was either excessive or insufficient;

the Chairperson has, however, not had to exercise the power to reduce the allowance.

In the circumstances, it has been decided that the Determination will be amended to delete the power under clause 3.1(2) to reduce the allowance.

Yours sincerely

Laurie Brereton