Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum(Circulated by Authority of the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, the Hon Warren Truss MP)
The Infrastructure Australia Amendment Bill 2013 (the Bill) strengthens the role of Infrastructure Australia, as an independent, transparent and expert advisory body through a change in its governance structure and through better clarification of its functions.
The Bill was passed by the House of Representatives on 10 December 2013 and introduced into the Senate on 11 December 2013. The Senate Selection of Bills Committee referred the Bill to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee (Senate Committee) for inquiry and report by 17 March 2014.
While the Senate Committee recommended the Bill to be passed in its current form, the amendments to the Bill are in response to issues raised by some stakeholders through the Parliamentary inquiry and through other Government consultative processes.
Financial impact statement
There will be no impact on the Australian Government Budget flowing from these amendments to the Bill.
Notes on clauses
Schedule 1 - Amendments
Item 8 - Subsection 5A(2) - Functions - evaluating infrastructure proposals
This amendment deletes this Subsection that provided for the Minister to determine a class of proposals that Infrastructure Australia must not evaluate.
This has the effect of removing the authority for the Minister to determine that Infrastructure Australia must not evaluate certain proposals.
The original intent of referring to a class of proposals was to exclude proposals seeking Commonwealth funding under $100 million.
Item 8 - Subsection 5A(3) - Functions - evaluating infrastructure proposals
This amendment deletes the text in Subsection 5A(3) "or Subsection (2)". It is a consequential amendment from deleting Subsection 5A(2).
Item 8 - Section 5D - Functions only performed when directed by the Minister
This amendment deletes Section 5D that provided for functions to be performed only when directed by the Minister.
This has the effect of removing the Minister's authority to direct Infrastructure Australia on the publication of materials and to confer additional functions such as provisions for advice on the harmonisation of policies and laws relating to development and investment of infrastructure.
The original intent of this section was to provide a positive power which allowed the Minister to direct Infrastructure Australia to publish its findings, while striking the right balance with commercial in confidence matters. This will now be the responsibility of Infrastructure Australia in accordance with general law principles.
Item 9 - Subsections 6(3) and (4)
This amendment deletes Subsections 6(3) and (4) which provided a ministerial power to specify requirements related to the scope and manner in which Infrastructure Australia was to perform the function. This has the effect of retaining Subsections 6(3) and (4) of the Infrastructure Australia Act 2008.
The original intent of these Subsections was to ensure that Infrastructure Australia undertook its functions in a timely manner and provided advice on key policy issues relating to Government priorities.
Item 39 - Subsection 39C(a) - Additional Content For Annual Report
This amendment deletes the text in Subsection 39C(a) "paragraph 5D(1)(c) or" . It is a consequential amendment from deleting Section 5D.
Item 41 - Section 40
This amendment deletes the text in Section 40 "paragraph 5D(1)(c) or". It is a consequential amendment from deleting Section 5D.