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Thursday, 31 October 1996
Page: 4877


Senator BROWNHILL (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Trade and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy)(12.46 p.m.) —I table a supplementary explanatory memorandum relating to the government amendment to be moved to this bill. For the information of honourable senators, this memorandum was circulated in the chamber earlier this morning. I move:

(1)   Schedule 6, page 13, lines 1 to 9, omit the Schedule, substitute:

Schedule 6—Amendment of the Imported Food Control Act 1992

1 Subsection 3(1) (definition of authorised officer )

   Repeal the definition, substitute:

      authorised officer means:

      (a) the Secretary; or

      (b)   an officer of AQIS appointed by the Secretary under subsection 40(1); or

      (c)   when used in a provision of this Act other than section 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 or 32—a person appointed by the Secretary under subsection 40(2).

2 Section 40

   Repeal the section, substitute:

40 Authorised officers

   (1)   The Secretary may, by signed instrument, appoint an officer of AQIS to be an authorised officer for the purposes of this Act.

   (2)   The Secretary may, by signed instrument, appoint a person to be an authorised officer for the purposes of all the provisions of this Act other than sections 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 and 32.


Senator Margetts —Just so that I can be clear, can the parliamentary secretary give me a brief explanation of what the amendment is?


Senator BROWNHILL —The purpose of the amendment is to allow persons other than officers of the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service to be appointed as authorised officers under the Imported Food Control Act of 1992 with all the powers of an authorised officer other than the specified enforcement powers. It is sought by the government as a result of concerns raised by the Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills regarding the unlimited nature of the enforcement powers which would flow to persons authorised under the Imported Food Control Act 1992.

As a result of the amendment, AQIS anticipates a more effective, more efficient service to industry as it not only minimises the duplication of inspection activities but also provides a more flexible approach to inspection service delivery and locations where an AQIS officer is not readily available. That point has been brought up numerous times. The importing industry has been consulted at length and strongly supports the amendment.


Senator Margetts —Just to check, has the minister's office talked to Senator Brown's office in any way in relation to this amendment?


Senator BROWNHILL —As I understand it, all officers in the Senate were consulted. All participants in this debate were consulted and I am quite sure he would have been consulted, like Senator Harradine and others.


Senator Margetts —I was not trying to be difficult; I was just trying to make sure that, in the non-controversial debate time, we were dealing with issues that really had been properly canvassed. Thank you.


Senator BROWNHILL —Thank you, Senator Margetts, for bringing that up; that is why all those persons were consulted.

Amendment agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Bill reported with amendment; report adopted.