Commonwealth Numbered Regulations - Explanatory Statements

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COMMONWEALTH AUTHORITIES AND COMPANIES AMENDMENT REGULATIONS 2004 (NO. 1) 2004 NO. 116

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

STATUTORY RULES 2004 No. 116

Issued by the Authority of the Minister for Finance and Administration

Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997

Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Amendment Regulations 2004 (No. 1)

The Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (the Act) provides reporting, accountability and other rules for Commonwealth authorities and companies.

Subsection 49(1) of the Act provides that the Governor-General may make regulations prescribing matters required or permitted by the Act to be prescribed, or necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to the Act.

The Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Amendment Regulations 2004 (the Amendment Regulations) amended the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Regulations 1997 (the Principal Regulations) to update the lists of prescribed government business enterprises (GBEs) and statutory marketing authorities (SMAs) and the list of Commonwealth companies for which the Minister for Finance and Administration is prescribed as the responsible Minister. The Amendment Regulations also require the unique company identifier of the relevant company to be included in the notice that is to be tabled in the Parliament under section 45 of the Act when the Commonwealth acquires or disposes of an interest in a company, or a variation occurs in the Commonwealth's rights as a member of a company.

Section 5 of the Act includes the following definitions:

       a 'GBE' is a Commonwealth authority or Commonwealth company that is prescribed by the regulations to be a GBE;

       the 'responsible Minister' for a Commonwealth company is the Minister who is prescribed by the regulations as the Minister responsible for the company, or if no Minister is prescribed, the Minister who is responsible for the company; and

       an 'SMA' is a Commonwealth authority that is prescribed by the regulations to be an SMA.

For the purposes of section 5 of the Act, the Principal Regulations prescribe:

       Commonwealth authorities and companies that are GBEs (Regulation 4);

       Commonwealth companies for which the Minister for Finance and Administration is the responsible Minister (Regulation 4A); and

       Commonwealth authorities that are SMAs (Regulation 5).

Subsection 45(1) of the Act provides that the Minister responsible for specified events involving a company must table a notice in each House of the Parliament as soon as practicable after an event happens. These events relate to the variation of the Commonwealth's interest in a company, including share acquisition or disposal.

Subsection 45(2) states that the notice must include the particulars required by the regulations.

Regulation 7 of the Principal Regulations identifies the particulars that must be included in a notice made under subsection 45(1) of the Act.

The Amendment Regulations:

       Add the Australian Submarine Corporation Pty Limited (ASC) to the list of prescribed GBEs.

-       The Government announced on 27 May 2004 that the sale of the ASC was unlikely to occur until 2006 and the ASC would be established as a GBE. The Government also announced that the ASC would be permitted to tender for forthcoming major naval shipbuilding contracts.

       Remove Bankstown Airport Limited (BAL), Camden Airport Limited (CAL), Hoxton Park Airport Limited (HPAL) and the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority (SMHEA) from the list of Commonwealth authorities and companies that are prescribed as GBEs for the purposes of the Act.

-       BAL, CAL and HPAL were sold on 15 December 2003. SMHEA ceased to exist on 28 June 2002 when it was corporatised, with its assets and liabilities transferring to Snowy Hydro Limited.

       Remove BAL, CAL and HPAL from, and include the ASC and Medibank Private Limited (MPL) in, the list of Commonwealth companies for which the Minister for Finance and Administration is prescribed as the responsible Minister.

-       On 17 June 2003, the Minister for Finance and Administration became the sole shareholder of MPL, a shareholding previously held jointly with the Minister for Health and Ageing.

       Remove the Australian Dairy Corporation (ADC) from the list of Commonwealth authorities that are prescribed as SMAs for the purposes of the Act.

-       ADC ceased to exist on 1 July 2003 when its functions, and those of the Dairy Research and Development Corporation, were transferred to the industry-owned Dairy Australia Limited under the Dairy Industry Service Reform Act 2003.

       Require responsible Ministers to include additional information in notices tabled in the Parliament under section 45 of the Act.

-       This amendment requires the Australian Company Number (ACN) or, where applicable, the Australian Registered Body Number (ARBN) of the relevant company, to be included in the notice.

-       Also, where there is an ultimate holding company, before and/or after the relevant event, its ACN or ARBN, where applicable, is required to be included in the notice.

The Regulations commenced on the date of their notification in the Gazette.


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