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Wednesday, 18 October 2017
Page: 7830

Senator CAROL BROWN (Tasmania) (11:20): I now move opposition amendment (5):

(5) Clause 12, page 11 (lines 20 and 21), omit "responsible Ministers may give a written direction to the Corporation about", substitute "rules must provide for".

This amendment removes the minister's being able to direct where the corporation must be located. Instead, the rules must provide for where the corporation is to be located.

Minister Ruston earlier referenced the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and made an implication that there is no difference between how that corporation was established and how the RIC is established. Minister Ruston should familiarise herself with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation Act. It certainly does not have a clause whereby the responsible minister can direct where the corporation is to be located.

To ensure the proper, efficient and effective performance of the corporation, the board should be allowed to make decisions as to where best the corporation will function. Minister Ruston has provided no detailed information about what process was undertaken to determine that Orange is the best location for the corporation and whether any other regional centre was considered before Orange was selected. Concerns have been raised by stakeholders that the location of the RIC has been unilaterally decided without any apparent economic analysis or even a discussion with the agricultural industry stakeholders, and this in turn has highlighted another dimension of the non-commercial nature of the corporation.

The location of the corporation should not be decided by the minister of the day. The location should be decided on the grounds of where it can best do its job, and this decision should be made by the board of the RIC.