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House of Representatives

Public Employment (Consequential and Transitional) Amendment Bill 1999

Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum

Amendments and new clauses to be moved on behalf of the Government (Circulated by Authority of the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs and the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, the Honourable David Kemp, MP)

Amendments of the Public Employment (Consequential and Transitional) Amendment Bill 1999

Background

1. The Public Employment (Consequential and Transitional) Amendment Bill 1999 (hereafter CTA Bill) deals with the consequential and transitional matters arising from the repeal of the Public Service Act 1922 (1922 PSA) and the enactment of replacement legislation, namely, the Public Service Act 1999 (currently before the Parliament - hereafter referred to as PS Bill).

2. Since 19 July 1923, the 1922 PSA has provided a regulatory framework for the people management of agencies staffed under the Act (the staff in these agencies are collectively referred to as the Australian Public Service (APS).

3. Following the establishment of the new legal framework for APS employees set out in the PS Bill, certain provisions will be necessary to validate actions and decisions taken under the former legislation; cover some aspects of the transition from the old to the new employment framework; and make consequential amendments to other legislation, which incorporate references to the 1922 PSA framework.

4. These proposed provisions are set out in the CTA Bill which will enable an orderly transition to the new employment framework for the APS that will operate within the general workplace relations framework provided by the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (WRA).

5. Following the introduction of the above two Bills into the House of Representatives on 26 June 1997, they were referred to the Joint Committee of Public Accounts ('JCPA'). The Committee's Report 353, An Advisory Report on the Public Service Bill 1997 and the Public Employment (Consequential and Transitional) Amendment Bill 1997 ('JCPA Report') was subsequently handed down on 29 September 1997.

6. The Committee made no specific recommendations concerning the CTA Bill. On 30 October 1997, the Government moved a number of amendments to the earlier Consequential and Transitional Bill in the House of Representatives. Those amendments included the substitution of a new Schedule 1, which deals with repeals and amendments to a range of Commonwealth legislation to take account of legislative changes which had occurred since the original Bill was introduced on 26 June 1997.

7. The amended Public Employment (Consequential and Transitional) Amendment Bill 1997 was introduced into the Senate on 11 November 1997, together with the Public Service Bill 1997. The Senate amended both Bills and they were returned to the House of Representatives at the end of November 1997.

8. On 5 December 1997, the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service informed the House of Representatives that the Government had rejected outright the amendments made to both Bills, and that the legislation would be returned to the Senate unchanged after three months. Both Bills were formally laid aside in the House of Representatives on 5 December 1997.

9. The Bills were subsequently reintroduced unchanged into the House of Representatives on 5 March 1998. After passage through the House, the legislation was returned to the Senate which made the same amendments to the Bills as it had in November 1997. On 6 April 1998 the Government again rejected outright the amendments made by the Senate, and the Bills were laid aside.

10. The CTA Bill was reintroduced into the House of Representatives on 30 March 1999 unamended. The Bill was identical to the amended CTA Bill introduced into the Senate on 11 November 1997 (apart from changing the relevant dates from 1997 to 1999).

11. For convenient reference, the list of abbreviations included at Attachment C of the Explanatory Memorandum circulated with the CTA Bill at the time of its introduction is reproduced at Attachment B to this Supplementary Explanatory Memorandum.

Outline of amendments

12. The amendments proposed by the Government amend the Public Employment (Consequential and Transitional) Amendment Bill 1999 and, through the insertion of a new Schedule 1 to the CTA Bill, a number of other Acts.

13. The principal amendments to the CTA Bill are in the following areas:

·
ensuring that APS officers engaged in eligible public employment under first tier mobility convert to second tier mobility coverage;
·
converting the current Merit Protection Commissioner under the MP(AGE)A to the Merit Protection Commissioner appointed under the new Act;
·
increasing the options available to the Remuneration Tribunal in terms of its advice on the annual salary of Members of Parliament;
·
expanding the functions of the Remuneration Tribunal;
·
extending the transitional period, from up to twelve months to up to three years, before a continued determination made under the former s.82D of the 1922 PSA ceases to be in force; and
·
maintaining access to the Commonwealth superannuation schemes for persons covered by the mobility provisions of the 1922 PSA.

14. There are also amendments which have been made to ensure that references and terminology within the CTA Bill are consistent with the PS Bill 1999.

15. The principal purpose of the CTA Bill, as outlined in paragraphs 3 and 4 above, is not affected by the amendments now being proposed.

Financial impact statement

16. The proposed amendments have no financial impact.


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