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Report 179
1. 1. Introduction

Purpose of the report

1.1
This report contains the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties’ review of the following treaty actions:
Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the French Republic Concerning the Reprocessing in France of Australian Irradiated Nuclear Fuel Elements, (Canberra, 23 November 2017); and
Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus (PACER Plus), (Nuku’alofa, 14 June 2017).
1.2
The Committee’s resolution of appointment empowers it to inquire into any treaty action to which Australia has become a signatory, on the treaty being tabled in Parliament.
1.3
Treaties, and matters arising from them, are evaluated to ensure that ratification is in the national interest, and that unintended or negative effects on Australia will not arise.
1.4
Prior to tabling, major treaty actions are subject to a National Interest Analysis (NIA), prepared by the Government. This document considers arguments for and against the treaty and outlines the treaty obligations and any consultations undertaken with State and Territory Government, Federal and State and Territory agencies, and with industry and non-government organisations.
1.5
A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) may accompany the NIA. The RIS provides an account of the regulatory impact of the treaty action where adoption of the treaty will involve a change in the regulatory environment for Australian business. The treaties examined in this report did not require a RIS.
1.6
Copies of the treaty actions considered in this report and their associated documentation may be obtained from the Committee Secretariat or accessed through the Committee’s website at:
https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Treaties/NuclearFuel-France/Treaty_being_considered; and
https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Joint/Treaties/PACERPlus-Agreement/Treaty_being_considered.
1.7
This report also contains the Committee’s views on two minor treaty actions:
amendments to the Code of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006 approved at Geneva on 9 June 2016; and
amendment to Annex III of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade.

Conduct of the Committee’s review

1.8
The treaty actions reviewed in this Report were advertised on the Committee’s website from the date of tabling. The Committee received seven submissions for the inquiry into the reprocessing of Australian irradiated nuclear fuel elements in France and thirteen submissions for the PACER Plus inquiry.
1.9
The Committee held one public hearing for the inquiry into the reprocessing of Australian irradiated nuclear fuel elements in France in Canberra on 12 February 2018, and conducted a site inspection of the Open Pool Australian Lightwater (OPAL) Research Reactor at Lucas Heights in Sydney on 13 March 2018.
1.10
The Committee held two public hearings for PACER Plus inquiry. Both were held in Canberra: one on the 12 February 2018 and the other on 26 March 2018.
1.11
Transcripts of the evidence from the public hearing may be obtained from the Committee Secretariat or accessed through the Committee’s website. A list of submissions received is at Appendix A and exhibits received at Appendix B. A list of witnesses who appeared at the public hearing is at Appendix C.