Title National Health Amendment (COVID-19) Bill 2021
Database Explanatory Memoranda
Date 15-09-2021 10:03 AM
Source House of Reps
System Id legislation/ems/r6763_ems_757dab6f-29bb-4c9b-9a6b-327604b7cc0d


National Health Amendment (COVID-19) Bill 2021

 

 

 

 

 

2019-2020-2021

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NATIONAL HEALTH AMENDMENT (COVID-19) BILL 2021

 

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Greg Hunt MP)


 



NATIONAL HEALTH AMENDMENT (COVID-19) BILL 2021

 

 

OUTLINE

The National Health Amendment (COVID-19) Bill 2021 (the Bill) amends the National Health Act 1953 (National Health Act) to facilitate the purchasing of COVID‑19 vaccines, inclusive of boosters, and necessary consumables, and COVID-19 treatments.

 

The Bill confers a spending power on the Minister for Health to enter into arrangements and make payments in relation to securing COVID-19 vaccines and related goods and services (such as boosters, necessary consumables, COVID-19 treatments). This power will be time-limited to 30 June 2022.

 

Financial Impact Statement

The unpredictable nature of COVID-19 vaccine, treatment and consumable requirements, development and availability makes it difficult to forecast the financial impact.

 

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

The Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights appears at the end of this explanatory memorandum.

 


NATIONAL HEALTH AMENDMENT (COVID-19) BILL 2021

 

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1 – Short Title

Clause 1 provides for the short title of the Act to be the National Health Amendment (COVID‑19) Act 2021.

 

Clause 2 – Commencement

This clause sets out when the Act commences. The Act will commence on the day it receives Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3 – Schedule(s)

This clause provides that each Act that is specified in a Schedule to this Bill is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule concerned, and any other item has effect according to its terms. This is a technical provision which gives operational effect to the amendments contained in the Schedules.

 

SCHEDULE 1 — AMENDMENT OF THE NATIONAL HEALTH ACT 1953

Schedule 1 amends the National Health Act.

 

Item 1 – After Part VIIIA

This item inserts a new Part VIIIB - COVID‑19 vaccines and treatments.

 

Section 132G ‘Provision of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments’ will allow the Minister for Health to provide or arrange for the provision of:

·         COVID-19 vaccines (including boosters);

·         treatments for COVID-19; and

·         consumables related to the use of such vaccines and treatments.

This section will provide the Minister for Health with a spending power which relies on the standing appropriation in subsection 137(1) of the National Health Act. Subsection 137(1) allows payments for the purposes of the Act (other than Part VII) to be made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund and appropriated accordingly.

 

Subsection 132G(2) clarifies that the new power in section 132G would allow the Minister to make payments for vaccines, treatments or consumables under existing arrangements that were entered into prior to the commencement of this section.

 

The Minister will only have this new spending power until 30 June 2022.


 

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

NATIONAL HEALTH AMENDMENT (COVID-19) BILL 2021

 

This Bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011.

Overview of the Bill

The National Health Amendment (COVID-19) Bill 2021 provides the Minister for Health with the power to enter into arrangements and make payments in relation to procuring COVID‑19 vaccines, inclusive of boosters, and necessary consumables, and COVID-19 treatments.

 

Human rights implications

This Bill engages the right to health in Article 12(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

 

 

Right to health

Article 12(1) of the ICESCR promotes the right of all individuals to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. Under the ICESCR, Australia is obliged to achieve the full realisation of the right to health, by taking steps necessary for the prevention, treatment and control of epidemic, endemic, occupational and other diseases.

 

This Bill will allow the Minister for Health to procure necessary vaccines for the prevention, treatment and control of the COVID-19 virus in order to ensure the health of all Australians.

 

Conclusion

The Bill is compatible with human rights because it supports the right to health.

 

 

[Circulated by the authority of the Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Greg Hunt MP]