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Telecommunications (Regional Broadband Scheme) Charge Bill 2018

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2016-2017-2018

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Telecommunications (Regional Broadband Scheme) charge Bill 2017

SUPPLEMENTARY EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

Amendment to be moved on behalf of the Government

Clause 19 of the Telecommunications (Regional Broadband Scheme) Charge Bill 2017 (RBS Bill) provides the disallowance procedure applying to determinations made by the Minister, as legislative instruments, under subclauses 12(4) or 16(8). Subclause 12(4) allows the Minister to determine a single specified amount to be the base component of the charge, and subclause 16(8) allows the Minister to determine a single specified amount to be the administrative cost component of the charge. The disallowance procedure currently provides that section 42 of the Legislation Act 2003 does not apply to these determinations. In Scrutiny Digest 8 of 2017 tabled in the Senate on 9 August 2017, the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills criticised this approach. In its report about the RBS Bill and the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer) Bill 2017 tabled in the Senate on 6 September 2017, the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee also criticised this approach and recommended that clause 19 of the RBS Bill be amended to provide for deemed disallowance in specified circumstances. The amendment seeks to address these concerns by inserting into clause 19 of the RBS Bill a new subclause that closely reproduces subsection 42(2) of the Legislation Act 2003 , although in modified form. This Amendment does not have a financial impact.

AMENDMENT

Amendment (1)

This Amendment inserts new subclause 19(3A) to ensure that if a notice of motion to disallow is given in a House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days after a determination is tabled in that House, and at the end of 15 sitting days of that House after the notice of motion has been given either: (i) the notice has not been withdrawn and the motion has not been called on; or (ii) the motion has been called on, moved and (where relevant) seconded and has not been withdrawn or otherwise disposed of, the determination will be taken to have been disallowed.

This amendment enhances Parliamentary scrutiny of any Ministerial determinations by ensuring that where a notice to disallow a determination has been given in a House of Parliament, and the motion has not been considered within the 15 sitting days of that House after the giving of the notice so that the notice of motion to disallow remains unresolved at the end of the disallowance period, the determination will be taken to have been disallowed. In this case, the determination will not take effect.

As subclause 19(3) of the RBS Bill is contrary to section 12 of the Legislation Act 2003 , the usual commencement arrangement as set out in subsection 12(1) of that Act does not apply to these determinations. A determination made under subclauses 12(4) and 16(8) will only take effect if, and when, subclause 19(3) of the Bill is satisfied.

 (Circulated by authority of the Minister for Communications,

Senator the Honourable Mitch Fifield)