ALC backs Truss move on IA independence


Infrastructure Australia Amendment Bill amendments said to free it from specific ministerial direction

ALC backs Truss move on IA independence
Warren Truss: response to stakeholder feedback

 

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has urged senators to support Federal Government moves aimed at securing the independence of Infrastructure Australia (IA).

After much discussion over the status of the restructured IA, the Federal Government has sought amendments to its Act.

"Ministers Truss and Briggs have acknowledged a number of the concerns put to them by stakeholders during the Senate inquiry and I welcome their willingness to amend the bill to address those issues," ALC managing director Michael Kilgariff says.

"Australia’s infrastructure task is too important to be left to ad-hoc political whim and uncoordinated state-by-state processes."

Infrastructure and Regional Development Minister Warren Truss says the revisions are in response to stakeholder feedback.  

"The government has moved to clear up ambiguities in the Bill, which led to a misunderstanding of the government’s reforms to make Infrastructure Australia more independent," Truss says in explaining the changes.

"By deleting three clauses from the Bill, we will provide even greater assurance around the responsibilities and independence of Infrastructure Australia.

"Infrastructure Australia needs to move away from assessing lists based on already announced government priorities and focus strategically on Australia’s future infrastructure needs – to inform decisions, rather than play catch-up."

"We propose to delete Section 5A(2), the intent of which was to exclude Defence projects and projects seeking Commonwealth funding of under $100 million from evaluation. By deleting this reference, the misunderstanding that the Minister could prevent IA from assessing classes of proposals is eliminated.

"We will move to delete Section 5D, which was intended as a positive power to direct IA to publish its findings, while striking a balance with commercial-in-confidence matters. By deleting this provision, it is clear that it is the responsibility of IA to determine what it will and will not publish in accordance with general law principles, including in relation to breach of confidence, the Privacy Act, other common law principles and the FOI Act.

"We also propose to delete Item 9, subsections 6(3) and 6(4), which were designed to ensure that IA undertook its functions in a timely manner and provided advice on key policy issues relating to Government priorities. The effect of this deletion means that the legislation will revert to what is currently in the Act, whereby, the Minister will be able to provide directions of a general nature only."

 

 

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