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Wednesday, 27 November 1974
Page: 2838

The PRESIDENT -Is leave granted? There being no dissent, leave is granted. (The document read as follows)-

The purpose of this Bill is to correct some anomalies in connection with the conditions of employment of staff of the River Murray Commission. An almost identical Bill was passed by the House of Representatives in March this year but lapsed when the double dissolution occurred before it was debated in this House. Because the River Murray Waters Act preceded the Officers' Rights Declaration Act and the Superannuation Act, there have been problems in the application of those Acts to staff of the River Murray Commission. Furthermore, the Commission is not an agency of the Australian Government.

The proposed amendments will ensure that members of the Australian Government services will not be disadvantaged if they obtain employment with the River Murray Commission, and will enable staff recruited by the Commission from other sources, who are not covered by superannuation elsewhere, to be covered by the Superannuation Act 1922-1973. In addition, under the Remunerations Act 1973, salaries of statutory officers are now to be determined by that Tribunal. Section 6 in the River Murray Waters Act is being amended accordingly, although under present conditions no salaries are payable to the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner.

I would stress that this Bill deals with amendments to the River Murray Waters Act which refers only to the Australian Government, and does not affect the River Murray Waters Agreement in which the 3 River Murray States are also involved. In addition, I should mention that a good deal of thought is being given to much more extensive amendments to the River Murray administration, but these must be expected to take a good deal of time to develop, and in the meantime, it is desired to correct existing anomalies in staff conditions. Mr President, I commend the Bill to the Senate.

Debate (on motion by Senator Carrick) adjourned.

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