Federal Register of Legislation - Australian Government

Primary content

Other as made
This instrument prescribes the Antarctic Science Collaboration Initiative Program.
Administered by: Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
Registered 20 Feb 2019
Tabling HistoryDate
Tabled HR21-Feb-2019
Tabled Senate02-Apr-2019

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Issued by the authority of the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology

Industry Research and Development Act 1986

Industry Research and Development (Antarctic Science Collaboration Initiative Program) Instrument 2019

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 (Antarctic Science Collaboration Initiative Program) Instrument 2019 (the Legislative Instrument) is to prescribe the Antarctic Science Collaboration Initiative Program (the Program). The funding for the Program has been secured through the Federal Government’s 2018-19 Budget. The Program provides $50 million over 10 years from 1 July 2019 as part of the Australian Government’s commitment to long-term strategic investment in Antarctic science. The Program will be designed in consultation with the Antarctic science community, who will form a new Australian Antarctic Program Partnership (the Partnership). The Program will provide funding to support the operation and activities of the Partnership, and will build upon the work carried out by the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre.

Funding will be available to the Partnership to undertake collaborative science, research and innovation activities in alignment with the Australian Antarctic Science Strategic Plan and the Australian Antarctic Strategy and 20 Year Action Plan. Funding will be made available to, and administered by, a member of the Partnership to support the critical activities of the Antarctic research sector.

Funding authorised by this Legislative Instrument comes from Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, 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. Details are set out in the Portfolio Budget Statements 2018-19, Budget Related Paper No. 1.13A, Jobs and Innovation Portfolio (Industry, Innovation and Science) (https://www.industry.gov.au/sites/g/files/net3906/f/2018-19-department-of-industry-innovation-and-science-pbs.pdf) at page 31.

The Program will be delivered by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (the Department) Business Grants Hub, which is a specialised design, management and delivery body with extensive expertise and capability in delivering similar programs.

The Program is a closed non-competitive grant program. The Program is administered by the Department in accordance with the Commonwealth Grant Rules and Guidelines 2017 (http://www.finance.gov.au/sites/default/files/commonwealth-grants-rules-and-guidelines.pdf). Eligibility and merit criteria are outlined in the Program guidelines, available at https://www.business.gov.au/assistance/antarctic-science-collaboration-initiative 

Spending decisions will be made by the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, taking into account the recommendations of the Department and advice of an independent council, the Australian Antarctic Science Council (the Council). If the Council has not been established or convened prior to the assessment process commencing, an independent committee of experts will be established to assess applications.

One grant will be provided for the full amount of available funding of $50 million, to be paid in instalments over 10 years from July 2019.

As this is a targeted one-off grant, the Program will not be subject to merits review.

The application will be assessed against the criteria set out in the Program guidelines in two stages. At first instance, the application will be assessed by the Department against the eligibility criteria. The application will be referred to the Council or committee of experts to assess the application against the merit criteria. The Council or committee of experts may also seek additional advice from other independent technical experts.

To recommend funding, the application must score highly against each merit criterion.

The Minister for Industry, Science and Technology will make the final decision about whether to approve the application, taking into consideration the recommendations of the Council or committee of experts.

If successful, the applicant will receive a written offer, including any specific conditions attached to the grant. If unsuccessful, the applicant with have the opportunity to discuss the outcome with the Department, and can submit a new application. Where this occurs, the applicant will be required to include new or more information to address the weaknesses identified in the previous application.

Persons who are otherwise affected by decisions or who have complaints about the Program will also have recourse to the Department. The Department investigates any complaints about the Program in accordance with its complaints policy and procedures. If a person is not satisfied with the way the Department handles the complaint, they may lodge a complaint with the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

The Legislative Instrument specifies that the Program spending is supported by the external affairs power in paragraph 51(xxix) of the Constitution, the territories power in section 122 of the Constitution, and the implied nationhood power.

Paragraph 51(xxix) of the Constitution empowers the Parliament to make laws with respect to ‘external affairs’. The external affairs power supports legislation with respect to matters or things outside the geographical limits of Australia. Funding provided under the Legislative Instrument will include funding for research that is carried out in, or in relation to, the Antarctic.

 

Section 122 of the Constitution empowers the Parliament to ‘make laws for the government of any territory’. Funding provided under the Legislative Instrument will include funding for research for Antarctic Science conducted, or in relation to, the Australian Antarctic Territory.

The implied nationhood power encompasses the Commonwealth’s ability to engage in activities which are peculiarly adapted to the government of a nation and cannot otherwise be carried on for the benefit of the nation (section 61 and paragraph 51(xxxix) of the Constitution). Funding provided under the Legislative Instrument will be research of national significance because of its relationship with Australia’s sovereign presence. The research interests in the Australian Antarctic Territory and Antarctica will advance key national priorities. The Project receiving funding will align with these national interests by contributing to the Government’s Australian Antarctic Science Strategic Plan and the Australian Antarctic Strategy and 20 Year Action Plan

Authority

Section 33 of the Industry Research and Development Act 1986 provides authority for the Legislative Instrument.

Consultation

In accordance with section 17 of the Legislation Act 2003, the Attorney-General’s Department has been consulted on this Legislative Instrument.

Regulatory Impact

It is estimated that the regulatory burden is likely to be minor. The OBPR has assessed this proposal as not likely to have a regulatory impact on business, community organisations or individuals (OBPR: 23616).


Details of the Industry Research and Development (Antarctic Science Collaboration Initiative Program) Instrument 2019

PART 1 – PRELIMINARY

Section 1 – Name of Instrument

This section specifies the name of the Legislative Instrument as the Industry Research and Development (Antarctic Science Collaboration Initiative Program) Instrument 2019.

Section 2 – Commencement

This section provides that the whole of the Legislative Instrument commences on the day after registration on the Federal Register of Legislation. 

Section 3 – Authority

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

Section 4 – Definitions

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

Section 5 – Prescribed Program

This section prescribes the Antarctic Science Collaboration Initiative Program (the Program) for the purposes of section 33 of the Act.

The Program provides $50 million funding over 10 years to the Australian Antarctic Program Partnership to undertake collaborative science, research and innovation activities in alignment with the Australian Antarctic Science Strategic Plan and the Australian Antarctic Strategy and 20 Year Action Plan

Section 6 – Specified Legislation Power

This section specifies that the legislative powers in respect of which the Legislative Instrument is made are the external affairs power in paragraph 51(xxix) of the Constitution, the territories power in section 122 of the Constitution, and measures that are peculiarly adapted to the government of a nation and cannot otherwise be carried on for the benefit of the nation (section 61 and paragraph 51(xxxix) of the Constitution).


Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

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

Industry Research and Development (Antarctic Science Collaboration Initiative Program) Instrument 2019

 This Disallowable 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

The Program provides $50 million over 10 years from 1 July 2019 as part of the Australian Government’s commitment to long-term strategic investment in Antarctic science. The Program will:

§  Support research that aims to understand the role of the Antarctic region in the global climate system and the implications on marine ecosystems;

§  Enable the Australian Antarctic Program Partnership to undertake collaborative science, research and innovation activities under the Australian Antarctic Science Strategic Plan and Australian Antarctic Strategy and 20 Year Action Plan; and

§   Secure Antarctic science jobs in Hobart.

Human rights implications

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

Conclusion

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

 

The Hon Karen Andrews MP

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology