Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

Primary content

Other as made
This instrument prescribes the Digital Careers Program.
Administered by: Industry, Innovation and Science
Registered 24 Oct 2017
Tabling HistoryDate
Tabled HR26-Oct-2017
Tabled Senate13-Nov-2017

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Issued by the authority of the Acting Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science

Industry Research and Development Act 1986

Industry Research and Development (Digital Careers Program) Instrument 2017

Purpose and Operation

Section 33 of the Industry Research and Development Act 1986 (the IR&D Act) provides a mechanism for the Minister to prescribe programs, by disallowable legislative instrument, in relation to industry, innovation, science or research, including in relation to the expenditure of Commonwealth money under such programs.

The statutory framework provided by s33 of the IR&D Act enables a level of flexibility to provide authority for Commonwealth spending activities in relation to industry, innovation, science and research programs. This allows the Government to respond quickly and appropriately to the need to implement innovative ideas and pilot programs on an ongoing basis and as opportunities arise. Prescribing programs in legislative instruments provides transparency and parliamentary oversight of Government programs and spending activities, whilst reducing administrative burden on the Commonwealth.

Once a program is prescribed by the Minister under s33, subsection 34(1) allows the Commonwealth to make, vary or administer arrangements in relation to activities under the prescribed program. Arrangements may include contracts, funding agreements or other arrangements, and may provide for money to be payable by the Commonwealth to one or more third parties. The power conferred on the Commonwealth by subsection 34(1) may be exercised on behalf of the Commonwealth by a Minister or an accountable authority of a non-corporate entity, or by their delegate (under s36).

The purpose of the Industry Research and Development (Digital Careers Program) Instrument 2017 (the Legislative Instrument) is to prescribe the Digital Careers Program (the Program), the remaining sub program of the Digital Productivity Program. The Digital Careers Program is an ongoing program established in 2012-13. The aim of the Program is to help address Australia’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) skills shortage through three interrelated objectives:

                     increasing awareness, interest and participation amongst school students in computational thinking and digital technologies, particularly in those groups who traditionally do not have a great interest in ICT;

                     increasing awareness of career diversity and job opportunities for students studying ICT, Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) and related fields; and

                     providing education and training material and professional development for educators delivering digital technology curriculum and activities.

These objectives will be met through activities administered under the Program which include, but are not limited to:

                     Ribit, an online job matching platform that links university students in ICT, STEM and related disciplines to job opportunities in high growth businesses;

                     Social media engagement through the Program’s website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts;

                     Bebras, a student challenge which aims to promote computational thinking for students in school years 3-12; and

                     Young ICT Explorers, a non-profit competition to encourage school students to create their best ICT related projects.

The Australian Government has provided administered funding of $1.5 million (plus GST) per year. The funding is provided as a grant (consistent with the Commonwealth Grant Guidelines), $0.05 million of which is be set aside by the Australian Government for the review and evaluation of the Program.

Funding authorised by this Legislative Instrument comes from Program 1: Supporting Science and Commercialisation, Outcome 1: Enabling growth and productivity for globally competitive industries through supporting science and commercialisation, growing business investment and improving business capability and streamlining regulation, as set out in the Portfolio Budget Statements 2016-17, Budget Related Paper No. 1.12, Industry, Innovation and Science Portfolio at page 30.

The Program is administered by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science. Spending decisions will be made by a s34 IR&D Act delegate, who is the Head of Division with responsibility for Portfolio Policy and Innovation Strategy Division. The Program is administered in accordance with the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines (https://www.finance.gov.au/sites/default/files/commonwealth-grants-rules-and-guidelines-July2014.pdf).

The Program is delivered by CSIRO. A non-competitive process was chosen in awarding CSIRO the grant as it has the capability, capacity, scale, brand, track record and expertise to deliver and to meet the policy objectives of the Commonwealth. Given the non-competitive nature of the Program, merits review will not apply to decisions made on the grant for this Program. This is appropriate as the grant to CSIRO represents a budgetary decision of a policy nature, and does not affect any particular person’s interests.

The Legislative Instrument specifies that the legislative powers on the basis in respect of which the Legislative Instrument is made are the external affairs power (s 51(xxix)) and the postal, telegraphic, telephonic, and other like services power (s 51(v)) (the communications power).


 

Consultation

In accordance with section 17 of the Legislation Act 2003, the Department of Education and Training, CSIRO/Data61, Questacon, the Australian Computer Society and representatives from SAP and the Smith Family (who run the Young ICT Explorers competition) were consulted on the development of the Program.

The Attorney-General’s Department and the Department of Finance were consulted on this Legislative Instrument.

Regulatory Impact

In 2013, during development of the original program, the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR) deemed a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) was not required. As this is an ongoing program, it was again considered that a RIS was not required. The Program is not likely to have a measurable impact on business, community organisations or individuals.


Details of the Industry Research and Development (Digital Careers Program) Instrument 2017

PART 1 – PRELIMINARY

This section specifies the name of the Legislative Instrument as the Industry Research and Development (Digital Careers Program) Instrument 2017.

Section 2 – Commencement

This section provides that the Legislative Instrument commenced on the day after registration.

Section 3 – Authority

This section specifies the provision of the Industry, Research and Development Act 1986 under which the Legislative Instrument is made.

Section 4 – Definitions

This section provides for definitions of terms used in the Legislative Instrument.

Section 5 – Prescribed program

This section prescribes the Digital Careers Program (the Program) under which financial assistance will be provided to deliver activities to foster interest in information and communications technology (ICT) skills, education and career options.

The table specifies in column 1 the name of the Program, and in column 2 the description and purpose of the Program.

Section 6 – Specified legislative power

This section specifies the legislative powers on the basis of which the Legislative Instrument is made are the powers of the Parliament to make laws with respect to the:

(a)    external affairs power (s51(xxix)); and

(b)   postal, telegraphic, telephonic, and other like services (s51(v)) (communications power).

With respect to the external affairs power, the Program prescribed by the Legislative Instrument is aimed at raising awareness of the ICT and Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) industries, amongst students, parents and teachers and relevant job opportunities for students in STEM and related fields (in accordance with Australia’s obligations under the International Labour Organization’s Convention concerning Employment Policy). This will encourage students to consider the potential for a full and productive career in the ICT and STEM industries (in accordance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights).

With respect to the communications power, the Program prescribed by the Legislative Instrument is aimed at increasing awareness, interest and participation amongst school students in computational thinking and digital technologies through activities, which are distributed via the internet, mobile devices, social media, and other forms of electronic communication. Additionally, social media will be utilised to distribute information concerning the ICT and STEM industries and career diversity online.


Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

Prepared in accordance with Part 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011

Industry Research and Development (Digital Careers Program) Instrument 2017

 

 

The Industry Research and Development (Digital Careers Program) Instrument 2017 (Legislative Instrument) is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011.

Overview of the Legislative Instrument

This Legislative Instrument provides legislative authority to commit Commonwealth funds for the Digital Careers Program.

Human rights implications

The Legislative Instrument does not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms.

Conclusion

This Legislative Instrument is compatible with human rights as it does not raise any human rights issues.

 

Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash

Acting Minister for Industry, Innovation & Science