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Gene Technology Bill 2000

Part 9 Administration

Division 1 Simplified outline

117   Simplified outline

                   The following is a simplified outline of this Part:

This Part provides for various administrative matters.

Division 2 sets out matters relating to the appointment, conditions and remuneration of the Regulator.

Division 3 provides for financial matters, including the establishment of a Special Account, called the Gene Technology Account.

Division 4 provides for matters relating to staffing.

Division 5 sets out reporting requirements.

Division 6 requires the Regulator to maintain a record of GMOs and GM products.

Division 7 permits the Regulator to review notifiable low risk dealings and exemptions.



 

Division 2 Appointment and conditions of Regulator

118   Appointment of the Regulator

             (1)  The Regulator is to be appointed by the Governor-General by written instrument.

             (2)  The Regulator holds office for the period specified in the instrument of appointment. The period specified must not be less than 3 years or more than 5 years.

             (3)  The Regulator holds office on a full-time basis.

             (4)  The Governor-General must not appoint a person as the Regulator unless a majority of jurisdictions agree to the appointment.

             (5)  The Governor-General must not appoint a person as the Regulator if, at any time during the period of 2 years immediately before the proposed period of appointment, the person was employed by a body corporate whose primary commercial activity relates directly to the development and implementation of gene technologies.

             (6)  The Governor-General must not appoint a person as the Regulator if the person has a pecuniary interest in a body corporate whose primary commercial activity relates directly to the development and implementation of gene technologies.

119   Termination of appointment

             (1)  The Governor-General may terminate the appointment of the Regulator for misbehaviour or physical or mental incapacity.

             (2)  If the Regulator:

                     (a)  becomes bankrupt, applies to take the benefit of any law for the relief of bankrupt or insolvent debtors, compounds with his or her creditors or makes an assignment of his or her remuneration for their benefit; or

                     (b)  fails to comply with his or her obligations under section 120; or

                     (c)  without the consent of the Minister, engages in any paid employment outside the duties of his or her office; or

                     (d)  is absent from duty, except on leave of absence, for 14 consecutive days or for 28 days in any 12 months;

the Governor-General must terminate his or her appointment.

             (3)  The Governor-General must not terminate the appointment of the Regulator under subsection (1) unless a majority of jurisdictions agree to the termination of the appointment.

             (4)  If the Regulator is:

                     (a)  an eligible employee for the purposes of the Superannuation Act 1976 ; or

                     (b)  a member of the superannuation scheme established by deed under the Superannuation Act 1990 ;

the Governor-General may, with the consent of the Regulator, retire the Regulator from office on the grounds of physical or mental incapacity.

             (5)  For the purposes of the Superannuation Act 1976 , the Regulator is taken to have been retired from office on the grounds of invalidity if:

                     (a)  the Regulator is removed or retired from office on the grounds of physical or mental incapacity; and

                     (b)  the Commonwealth Superannuation Board of Trustees No. 2 gives a certificate under section 54C of the Superannuation Act 1976 .

             (6)  For the purposes of the Superannuation Act 1990 , the Regulator is taken to have been retired from office on the grounds of invalidity if:

                     (a)  the Regulator is removed or retired from office on the grounds of physical or mental incapacity; and

                     (b)  the Commonwealth Superannuation Board of Trustees No. 1 gives a certificate under section 13 of the Superannuation Act 1990 .

120   Disclosure of interests

                   The Regulator must give written notice to the Minister of all interests, pecuniary or otherwise, that the Regulator has or acquires and that could conflict with the proper performance of the Regulator’s functions.

121   Acting appointment

             (1)  The Minister may appoint a person to act as the Regulator:

                     (a)  during a vacancy in the office of Regulator, (whether or not an appointment has previously been made to the office); or

                     (b)  during any period, or during all periods, when the Regulator is absent from duty or from Australia, or is, for any reason, unable to perform the duties of the office.

             (2)  Anything done by or in relation to a person purporting to act under an appointment is not invalid merely because:

                     (a)  the occasion for the appointment had not arisen; or

                     (b)  there was a defect or irregularity in connection with the appointment; or

                     (c)  the appointment had ceased to have effect; or

                     (d)  the occasion to act had not arisen or had ceased.

122   Terms and conditions

                   The Regulator holds office on the terms and conditions (if any) in relation to matters not covered by this Act that are determined by the Governor-General.

123   Outside employment

                   The Regulator must not engage in paid employment outside the duties of the Regulator’s office without the approval of the Minister.

124   Remuneration

             (1)  The Regulator is to be paid the remuneration that is determined by the Remuneration Tribunal. If no determination of that remuneration by the Tribunal is in operation, the Regulator is to be paid the remuneration that is prescribed by the regulations.

             (2)  The Regulator is to be paid the allowances that are prescribed by the regulations.

             (3)  This section has effect subject to the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 .

125   Leave of absence

             (1)  The Regulator has the recreation leave entitlements that are determined by the Remuneration Tribunal.

             (2)  The Minister may grant the Regulator leave of absence, other than recreation leave, on the terms and conditions as to remuneration or otherwise that the Minister determines.

126   Resignation

                   The Regulator may resign his or her appointment by giving the Governor-General a written resignation.



 

Division 3 Money

127   Regulator may charge for services

                   The Regulator may charge for services provided by, or on behalf of, the Regulator in the performance of the Regulator’s functions.

128   Notional payments by the Commonwealth

             (1)  The purpose of this section is to ensure that fees and charges under this Act and the regulations, and charges under the Gene Technology (Licence Charges) Act 2000 , are notionally payable by the Commonwealth (or parts of the Commonwealth).

             (2)  The Minister responsible for administering the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997  may give written directions for the purpose of this section, including directions relating to the transfer of amounts within, or between, accounts operated by the Commonwealth.

129  Gene Technology Account

             (1)  The Gene Technology Account is established.

             (2)  The Account is a Special Account for the purposes of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 .

130   Credits to Account

             (1)  There must be credited to the Account the following:

                     (a)  all money appropriated by the Parliament for the purposes of the Account;

                     (b)  amounts equal to money from time to time received by the Commonwealth under the Gene Technology (Licence Charges) Act 2000 ;

                     (c)  amounts equal to fees received by the Commonwealth under subsections 40(6) and 83(3);

                     (d)  amounts equal to amounts received by the Commonwealth in connection with the performance of the Regulator’s functions under this Act, the regulations or a corresponding State law;

                     (e)  amounts equal to interest received by the Commonwealth from the investment of money from the Account;

                      (f)  amounts equal to money received by the Commonwealth in relation to property paid for with money from the Account;

                     (g)  amounts equal to amounts recovered by the Commonwealth under subsection 146(5) or 158(4), to the extent that they are referable to amounts paid out of the Account;

                     (h)  amounts equal to amounts of any gifts given or bequests made for the purposes of the Account.

             (2)  The purposes of the Account are to make payments:

                     (a)  to further the object of this Act (as set out in section 3); and

                     (b)  otherwise in connection with the performance of the Regulator’s functions under this Act, the regulations or a corresponding State law.

131   Recovery of amounts

                   The following amounts may be recovered in a court of competent jurisdiction as debts due to the Commonwealth:

                     (a)  amounts payable to the Commonwealth under the Gene Technology (Licence Charges) Act 2000 ;

                     (b)  fees payable to the Commonwealth under this Act, the regulations or a corresponding State law;

                     (c)  amounts payable to the Commonwealth in connection with the performance of the Regulator’s functions.

132   Purposes of Account

                   Amounts standing to the credit of the Account may be expended:

                     (a)  in payment or discharge of the costs, expenses and other obligations incurred:

                              (i)  by the Regulator in the performance of the Regulator’s functions or in the exercise of the Regulator’s powers under this Act, the regulations or a corresponding State law; or

                             (ii)  by an inspector under paragraph 158(2)(e) or under a corresponding State law; and

                     (b)  in payment of any remuneration and allowances payable to any person under this Act or the regulations.



 

Division 4 Staffing

133   Staff assisting the Regulator

                   The staff assisting the Regulator are to be persons engaged under the Public Service Act 1999 and made available for the purpose by the Secretary of the Department.

134   Consultants

             (1)  The Regulator may engage persons with suitable qualifications and experience as consultants to the Regulator.

             (2)  The terms and conditions of engagement of consultants are such as the Regulator determines.

135   Seconded officers

                   The Regulator may be assisted by the following:

                     (a)  persons engaged under the Public Service Act 1999 ;

                     (b)  officers and employees of Commonwealth authorities;

                     (c)  officers and employees of State agencies;

whose services are made available to the Regulator in connection with the performance or exercise of any of the Regulator’s functions or powers.



 

Division 5 Reporting requirements

136   Annual Report

             (1)  As soon as practicable after the end of each financial year, the Regulator must prepare and give to the Minister a report on the operations of the Regulator during that year.

             (2)  The Minister must cause a copy of the report to be laid before each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of the day on which the report was given to the Minister.

             (3)  The Regulator must give a copy of the report to each State.

136A  Quarterly reports

             (1)  As soon as practicable after the end of each quarter, the Regulator must prepare and give to the Minister a report on the operations of the Regulator during that quarter.

             (2)  The report must include information about the following:

                     (a)  GMO licences issued during the quarter;

                     (b)  any breaches of conditions of a GMO licence that have come to the Regulator’s attention during the quarter;

                     (c)  auditing and monitoring of dealings with GMOs under this Act by the Regulator or an inspector during the quarter.

Note:       Auditing and monitoring may include spot checks.

             (3)  The Minister must cause a copy of the report to be laid before each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of the day on which the report was given to the Minister.

             (4)  In this section:

quarter means a period of 3 months beginning on 1 January, 1 April, 1 July or 1 October of any year.

137   Reports to Parliament

             (1)  The Regulator may at any time cause a report about matters relating to the Regulator’s functions to be tabled in either House of the Parliament.

             (2)  The Regulator must give a copy of the report to the Minister and to each State.



 

Division 6 Record of GMO and GM Product Dealings

138   Record of GMO and GM Product Dealings

             (1)  The Regulator must maintain a Record of GMO and GM Product Dealings (the Record ).

             (2)  The purpose of the Record is to maintain a comprehensive record of all dealings in Australia that involve GMOs or GM products.

             (3)  The Record must contain the following information, other than confidential commercial information, in relation to each licence issued under section 55:

                     (a)  the name of the licence holder;

                     (b)  the persons covered by the licence;

                     (c)  the dealings authorised by the licence and the GMO to which those dealings relate;

                     (d)  any licence conditions;

                     (e)  the date on which the licence was issued, and its expiry date (if any).

             (4)  The Record must contain the following information, other than confidential commercial information, in relation to each notifiable low risk dealing that is notified to the Regulator in accordance with regulations under section 75:

                     (a)  the name of the person who notified the dealing;

                     (b)  such particulars of the dealing as are prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph.

             (5)  The Record must contain such information as is prescribed by the regulations, other than confidential commercial information, in relation to GM products mentioned in designated notifications given to the Regulator under the following Acts:

                     (a)  the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Administration) Act 1992 ;

                     (b)  the Australia New Zealand Food Authority Act 1991 ;

                     (c)  the Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act 1989 ;

                     (d)  the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 .

             (6)  The Record must also contain:

                     (a)  a description of each dealing on the GMO Register; and

                     (b)  any condition to which the dealing is subject.

             (7)  The Record may be kept in a computerised form.

             (8)  The Regulator must ensure that information mentioned in subsection (3), (4), (5) or (6) is entered on the Record as soon as reasonably practicable.

             (9)  In this section:

designated notification means a notification required because of the amendments made by the Gene Technology (Consequential Amendments) Act 2000 .

139   Inspection of Record

                   The Regulator must permit any person to inspect any part of the Record.



 

Division 7 Reviews of notifiable low risk dealings and exemptions

140   Regulator may review notifiable low risk dealings

             (1)  The Regulator may, at any time, in accordance with this Division, consider the following matters:

                     (a)  whether a dealing with a GMO should be a notifiable low risk dealing;

                     (b)  whether an existing notifiable low risk dealing should no longer be a notifiable low risk dealing.

             (2)  The basis of the Regulator’s consideration must relate to:

                     (a)  the matters of which the Regulator must be satisfied under subsection 74(2); or

                     (b)  the matters the Regulator must consider under subsection 74(3).

141   Regulator may review exemptions

                   The Regulator may, at any time, in accordance with this Division, consider the following matters:

                     (a)  whether a dealing that is an exempt dealing within the meaning of subsection 32(3) should not be an exempt dealing;

                     (b)  whether a dealing should be an exempt dealing within the meaning of that subsection.

142   Regulator may give notice of consideration

             (1)  The Regulator may publish a notice inviting written submissions in relation to any matter that the Regulator may consider under section 140 or 141. The notice must:

                     (a)  specify the matters to which submissions are to relate; and

                     (b)  specify the closing date for submissions, which must not be earlier than 30 days after the date on which the notice was published.

             (2)  If the Regulator publishes a notice under subsection (1), the Regulator must also give written notice, stating the matters mentioned in subsection (1), to:

                     (a)  the States; and

                     (b)  the Gene Technology Technical Advisory Committee; and

                     (c)  each Commonwealth authority or agency prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this paragraph.

             (3)  A notice under this section may relate to a single matter or to a class of matters.

143   What Regulator may do after consideration

             (1)  If:

                     (a)  the matter relates to whether a dealing should be a notifiable low risk dealing; and

                     (b)  the Regulator is satisfied as mentioned in subsection 74(2); and

                     (c)  the Regulator has considered the matters mentioned in subsection 74(3);

the Regulator may recommend to the Ministerial Council that the dealing be declared to be a notifiable low risk dealing.

             (2)  If:

                     (a)  the matter relates to whether an existing notifiable low risk dealing be reconsidered; and

                     (b)  after having had regard to the matters mentioned in section 74, the Regulator considers that the dealing should not be a notifiable low risk dealing;

the Regulator may recommend to the Ministerial Council that the regulations be amended accordingly.

             (3)  If the matter relates to whether a dealing:

                     (a)  should be an exempt dealing; or

                     (b)  should cease to be an exempt dealing;

the Regulator may recommend to the Ministerial Council that the regulations be amended accordingly.

144   Regulator not required to review matters

                   Nothing in this Division requires the Regulator to consider a matter under section 140 or 141.