Explanatory MemorandumCirculation with the authority of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, the Hon Christian Porter MP)
Schedule 1 - Agriculture
Schedule 1 will repeal seven redundant Acts administered in the Agriculture portfolio, abolish the Australian Landcare Council and make minor consequential amendments to update references in four additional Acts.
Part 1-Repeals of Acts
Part 1 will repeal redundant Acts from the Agriculture portfolio.
Notes on Clauses
Dairy Adjustment Act 1974
Item 1: The whole of the Act
Item 1 will repeal the Dairy Adjustment Act 1974 (the DA Act), which was enacted to provide financial assistance to dairy adjustment programs. The DA Act enabled the Commonwealth to enter into agreements and make payments to the states. States carried out the payments in accordance with the arrangements set out in the agreement and the latest agreement came into effect in 1976.
The period for the approval of a new agreement with the states, pursuant to the DA Act, lapsed in 1977. There are no agreements currently in place between the Commonwealth and a state regarding the DA Act. All agreements entered into with the states have run their course and all loans, payments and repayment obligations have been finalised. As such, the DA Act is redundant.
Domestic Meat Premises Charge Act 1993
Item 2: The whole of the Act
Item 2 will repeal the Domestic Meat Premises Charge Act 1993 (the DMPC Act), which will be redundant upon repeal of the Meat Inspection Act 1983 (MI Act) (Item 5 below).
The DMPC Act provides for the imposition of a prescribed charge payable by an accredited operator or owner of an accredited killing or processing plant (meat premises), located in a state or territory to which the Meat Inspection Act 1983 extends, and where the plant is not an establishment within the meaning of the Export Inspection and Meat Charges Collection Act 1985. As the MI Act is not currently extended to any Australian state or territory, there are no meat premises that meet the charge criteria. The Department of Agriculture deregistered the last two meat establishments captured by the DMPC Act on 12 June 2009.
Meat Export Charge Act 1984
Item 3: The whole of the Act
Item 3 will repeal the Meat Export Charge Act 1984 (the MEC Act), which is redundant. The MEC Act was enacted to impose a charge on applications for the inspection of export meat and meat products.
The inspection of meat and meat products for export was overhauled in the Australian Government's Export Certification Reform Package in October 2011. Cost recovery arrangements are now set out under the Australian Export Meat Inspection System and fees are collected under other Commonwealth legislation.
Meat Export Charge Collection Act 1984
Item 4: The whole of the Act
Item 4 will repeal the Meat Export Charge Collection Act 1984 (the MECC Act), which will be redundant upon repeal of the MEC Act (Item 3 above). The MECC Act was enacted to provide for the collection of the charge imposed by the MEC Act.
Meat Inspection Act 1983
Item 5: The whole of the Act
Item 5 will repeal the Meat Inspection Act 1983 (the MI Act), which is redundant. The MI Act was enacted to provide for the domestic inspection of meat that is intended for human consumption or for use as animal food.
None of the activities empowered by the MI Act are currently carried out by the Commonwealth. Domestic meat inspection is carried out by the states and territories under their own legislation.
Meat Inspection Arrangements Act 1964
Item 6: The whole of the Act
Item 6 will repeal the Meat Inspection Arrangements Act 1964 (the MIA Act), which is redundant. The MIA Act was enacted to enable the Commonwealth to enter into an arrangement with a state or state meat authority for Commonwealth inspectors to inspect meat for consumption in Australia.
The Commonwealth no longer employs any domestic state meat inspectors. Inspection for the purpose of domestic meat consumption is undertaken solely by state or state meat authority employees. There are no current arrangements in place under the MIA Act.
Primary Industry Councils Act 1991
Item 7: The whole of the Act
Item 7 will repeal the Primary Industry Councils Act 1991 (the PIC Act), which is redundant. The PIC Act was enacted to establish industry councils for primary industries. The objectives of the councils are to assist the Government with the development of sound, consistent and comprehensive policies concerning primary industries.
At present, no industry councils established by the PIC Act exist and none have been established under this Act since 1993. Two councils were previously established under the PIC Act but are now ceased-the Grains Industry Council (established in 1991 and ceased in 1999) and the Australian Pig Industry Council (established in 1993 and ceased in 1998).
The proposed repeal of the PIC Act is consistent with recommendations made by the National Commission of Audit for rationalising Government bodies (Towards Responsible Government, February 2014) and the Smaller Government initiatives announced in the 2014-15 Federal Budget.
The Minister for Agriculture is currently supported by the Agricultural Industry Advisory Council for advice on contemporary issues affecting Australia's agricultural, fishing and forestry sectors. Additionally, the Forest Industry Advisory Council provides advice on proposed legislation or policies affecting the forestry sector.
Part 2-Abolition of the Australian Landcare Council
Part 2 will amend the Natural Resources Management (Financial Assistance) Act 1992 (the NRMFA Act) to abolish the Australian Landcare Council (the ALC). In May 2014, the Government announced that to reduce unnecessary duplication and red tape, the ALC and the Natural Heritage Trust Advisory Committee (NHTA Committee) would be consolidated into one committee.
There are currently no members on the ALC as the appointment terms for the majority of ALC members lapsed in 2013 and the remainder have resigned or their tenure expired. A new advisory committee, the National Landcare Advisory Committee has been established and will combine the functions of the ALC and the Natural Heritage Trust Advisory Committee, which is being abolished in Part 1 of Schedule 2.
Notes on Clauses
Natural Resources Management (Financial Assistance) Act 1992
Item 8: Title
Item 8 will delete 'to establish an Australian Landcare Council' from the title at the beginning of the NRMFA Act.
Item 9: Subsection 4(1) (definition of Chairperson)
Item 10: Subsection 4(1) (definition of Council)
Item 11: Subsection 4(1) (definition of Environment Minister)
Item 12: Subsection 4(1) (definition of member)
Items 9 to 12 will repeal obsolete definitions from the 'Interpretation' section of the NRMFA Act relating to the ALC for Chairperson, Council, Environment Minister and member.
Item 13: Paragraph 11(5)(b)
Item 13 will repeal paragraph 11(5)(b) of the NRMFA Act. Section 11 deals with the operation of the Natural Resources Management special account and paragraph 11(5)(b) provides for making payments from the account in respect of the expenses incurred by the ALC in the performance of its functions.
Item 14: Part 4
Item 14 will repeal Part 4 of the NRMFA Act in its entirety, which deals with the establishment, constitution, meetings and members of the ALC.
Item 15: Section 27
Item 15 will repeal section 27 of the NRMFA Act, which requires the ALC to prepare an annual report and for the minister to table the annual report in Parliament. The final annual report of the ALC was tabled in Parliament on 13 May 2014.
Item 16: Application provision
Item 16 provides that the proposed repeal of paragraph 11(5)(b) of the NRMFA Act, at Item 13 above, will not apply in relation to expenses incurred before the commencement of this Part. This will ensure that amounts may be debited from the Natural Resources Management account for expenses incurred by the ALC before its abolition.
Part 3-Other amendments
Part 3 will make consequential amendments to four other Acts administered in the Agriculture portfolio arising from the proposed repeal of Acts under Part 1.
Notes on Clauses
Export Inspection and Meat Charges Collection Act 1985
Item 17: Title
Item 17 will delete 'Domestic Meat Premises Charge Act 1993' from the title at the beginning of the Export Inspection and Meat Charges Collection Act 1985 (the EIMCC Act).
Item 18: Section 1
Item 18 will amend the short title of the EIMCC Act by deleting 'and Meat'. Therefore, following commencement of this Part, the new short title of the EIMCC Act will be 'Export Inspection Charges Collection Act 1985'.
Item 19: Subsection 3(1) (paragraph (c) of the definition of charge)
Item 20: Subsection 3(1) (paragraph (d) of the definition of charge)
Item 21: Subsection 3(1) (definition of domestic meat premises charge)
Item 22: Subsection 3(1) (definition of killing or processing plant)
Items 19 to 22 will repeal obsolete definitions from the 'Interpretation' section of the EIMCC Act for 'domestic meat premises charge' and 'killing or processing plant' and make associated updates to punctuation.
Item 23: Subsection 5(4)
Item 23 will repeal subsection 5(4) of the EIMCC Act, which deals with the manner of payment of the domestic meat premises charge.
Item 24: Section 12A
Item 24 will repeal section 12A of the EIMCC Act, which provides that the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture may issue a direction for the withdrawal of services if a domestic meat premises charge has not been paid.
Item 25: Subsection 16(1) (definition of relevant decision)
Item 25 will delete a reference to a decision of the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture made under section 12A of the EIMCC Act, which will be obsolete following commencement of this Part. Section 16 of the EIMCC Act deals with reviewable decisions.
Item 26: Section 16B
Item 26 will repeal section 16B of the EIMCC Act, which is a delegation power relating to section 12A of the EIMCC Act. The delegation power will be obsolete following commencement of this Part.
Item 27: Application provisions
Item 27 will ensure that the EIMCC Act continues to apply in relation to any domestic meat charge imposed before the commencement of this Item. Item 27 also confirms that decisions made on or after the commencement of this Item are made by an authorised person under subsection 11(2), consistent with the amendment made by Item 25.
Export Inspection (Establishment Registration Charges) Act 1985
Item 28: Section 3
Item 28 will amend the reference to the EIMCC Act in Section 3 of the Export Inspection (Establishment Registration Charges) Act 1985 by deleting 'and Meat'.
Export Inspection (Quantity Charge) Act 1985
Item 29: Section 3
Item 29 will amend the reference to the EIMCC Act in Section 3 of the Export Inspection (Quantity Charge) Act 1985 by deleting 'and Meat'.
Export Inspection (Service Charge) Act 1985
Item 30: Section 3
Item 30 will amend the reference to the EIMCC Act in Section 3 of the Export Inspection (Service Charge) Act 1985 by deleting 'and Meat'.