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Thursday, 25 November 1993
Page: 3610

Senator COLSTON —On behalf of the Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances, I give notice that, 15 sitting days after today, I shall move:

  That the Guidelines for Determination of Eligible Child Care Centres (Childcare Assistance), CCA/4B/93/2, made under subsection 4C(1) of the Child Care Act 1972, be disallowed.

I seek leave to make a short statement about the concerns of the committee with this instrument.

  Leave granted.

Senator COLSTON —I thank the Senate. The guidelines confer important discretions on the minister which are not subject to review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The explanatory statement advises that such review will eventually be provided by act. In the meantime, however, the guidelines are scheduled to commence on 1 January 1994 without any review. The committee has written to the minister about this apparent defect. As usual, I seek leave to incorporate in Hansard a short statement of our concerns.

  Leave granted.

  The statement read as follows

Guidelines for Determination of Eligible Child Care Centres (Childcare Assistance), CCA/4B/93/2, made under s.4C(1) of the Child Care Act 1972

The Guidelines confer discretions on both the Minister and the Secretary or an authorised officer. The Ministerial discretions appear to affect personal and commercial rights to a significant degree. The Explanatory Statement, however, advises that new child care legislation presently being drafted by the Australian Law Reform Commission will provide for AAT review of ministerial decisions. This is an appropriate safeguard. Nevertheless, the Guidelines commence on 1 January 1994. The Committee considers that it would be appropriate to amend the Guidelines to provide for AAT review from 1 January 1994 and has written to the Minister accordingly.

In addition, the Explanatory Statement gives no such assurance about decisions of the Secretary or an authorised officer. The Committee accepts that these discretions appear to be less important than those exercisable by the Minister. Nevertheless, the Committee has sought advice on whether AAT review would also be suitable for these decisions.