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Reform of Employment Services (Consequential Provisions) Bill 1996



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D E P A R T M E N T O F T H E P A R L I A M E N T A R Y L I B R A R Y

Information and Research Services

Reform of Employment Services (Consequential Provisions) Bill 1996

Bills Digest

No.112 1996-97

ISSN 1323-9031

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Information and Research Services

Reform of Employment Services (Consequential Provisions) Bill 1996

Chris Field Law and Bills Digest Group 27 February 1997

Bills Digest No. 112 1996-97

Contents

Purpose ...................................................................................................................................... 1

Background .............................................................................................................................. 1

Main Provisions ........................................................................................................................ 1

Warning:

This Digest was prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments.

This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the Bill.

Reform of Employment Services (Consequential Provisions) Bill 1996

Date Introduced: 12 December 1996

House: Senate

Portfolio: Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs

Commencement: On the day on which the Reform of Employment Services Bill 1996 commences (ie. 1 December 1997)

Purpose

The Bill will amend a number of Acts as a consequence of the proposals contained in the Reform of Employment Services Bill 1996 to allow greater private participation in the provision of services to the unemployed. The main amendments relate to the repeal of the Employment Services Act 1994 and bringing certain actions within the scope of Commonwealth privacy and freedom of information laws.

Background

Refer to the Digest for the Reform of Employment Services Bill 1996.

Main Provisions

The Employment Services Act 1994 (the Act) established a case management system for long term unemployed and introduced private case management. Many of the provisions of the Act are similar, although not as extensive, as those proposed by the Reform of Employment Services Bill 1996 (RES Bill). The scheme established by the Act will be replaced by those contained in the RES Bill, and as a result, Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Bill will repeal the Act.

The Act also established the Employment Services Regulatory Authority (ESRA) which had the main functions of regulating case management, promoting competition in the

2 Reform of Employment Services (Consequential Provisions) Bill 1996

Warning:

This Digest was prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments.

This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the Bill.

provision of case management and monitoring the operation of the case management system. As with the rest of the Act, the RES Bill, if passed, will make ESRA redundant as other institutions (the Employment Secretary) will be responsible for the management of private case management. While Part 1 of Schedule 1 will abolish ESRA, Part 2 of the Schedule contains transitional provisions relating to the transfer of ESRAs assets, liabilities and contracts to the Commonwealth. Specifically:

• Item 3 of Part 2 of Schedule 1 will transfer the assets and liabilities of ESRA to the Commonwealth;

• Item 4 will substitute the Commonwealth, rather than ESRA, in any contract to which ESRA is a party; and

• Item 5 will allow regulations to be made relating to the repeal of the Act.

Part 3 of the Bill will amend a number of Acts as a result of the abolition of ESRA and the transfer of functions to the Employment Secretary. The amendments have no policy implications.

Similarly, the amendments contained in Schedule 2 of the Bill have no direct policy implications but relate to the introduction of private employment providers. More important provisions of Schedule 2 relate to:

• bringing employment service providers within the scope of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 for actions undertaken under the proposed Reform of Employment Services Act 1996;

• allowing the Commonwealth Ombudsman to refer matters to the Employment Secretary where the Ombudsman considers this a more appropriate course of action than investigating the complaint (this reflects the power of the Employment Secretary to refer matters to the Ombudsman); and

• bringing actions taken by a Minister relating to the provision of employment services under the proposed Employment Services Reform Act 1996 under the ambit of the Privacy Act 1988.