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This instrument provides Commonwealth registered marriage celebrants with a list of activities to choose from to complete their ongoing professional development obligations for 2020.
Administered by: Attorney-General's
Registered 13 Feb 2020
Tabling HistoryDate
Tabled HR24-Feb-2020
Tabled Senate24-Feb-2020

Marriage (Celebrant professional development) statement 2020

 

 

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

 

Issued by the Registrar of Marriage Celebrants under subsection 53(3) of the Marriage Regulations 2017

Purpose and operation of the Instrument

The Marriage Act 1961 (the Act) establishes the legal framework for marriage in Australia, including the requirements for marriages to be validly solemnised under Australian law. This includes a requirement that marriages must be solemnised by an ‘authorised celebrant’. An ‘authorised celebrant’ can be a Minister of religion of a recognised denomination; a person authorised by a State or Territory; or a ‘marriage celebrant’ (which includes a ‘religious marriage celebrant’). Marriage celebrants are the only category of authorised celebrants regulated by the Commonwealth under the Act and the Marriage Regulations 2017 (the Regulations). Ministers of religion of recognised denominations and persons authorised by a State or Territory, are regulated by state and territory authorities.

The Act establishes the position of ‘Registrar of Marriage Celebrants’ (section 39A of the Act) (the Registrar). The Registrar is required to maintain the Register of Marriage Celebrants (section 39B of the Act), and is responsible for administering the Marriage Celebrants Program (the Program). The Registrar registers and regulates marriage celebrants. The Program has the legitimate aims of applying appropriate scrutiny to aspiring marriage celebrants; supporting the availability of marriage services across Australia; and regulating marriage celebrants’ performance to ensure delivery of professional, knowledgeable and legally correct marriage services to the community.

Section 120 of the Act provides that the Governor‑General may make regulations, not inconsistent with the Act, prescribing all matters that the Act requires or permits to be prescribed or are necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out and giving effect to the Act.

Paragraph 39G(1)(b) of the Act requires that a marriage celebrant must undertake all professional development activities required by the Registrar in accordance with the Regulations.

Subsection 53(1) of the Regulations provides that a marriage celebrant must, each calendar year, undertake listed professional development activities that take at least five hours to complete. This must include the completion of any activities determined by the Registrar as compulsory activities for the year.

The Registrar may take disciplinary measures against a celebrant who has not complied with their professional development obligations for a given year (paragraph 39I(1)(b) of the Act).

Subsection 53(3) of the Regulations requires that the Registrar must, as soon as practicable after the start of each calendar year, publish a written statement that sets out the professional development activities for the year, and specify which of those activities (if any) are compulsory.

The Marriage (Celebrant Professional Development) Statement 2020 (the Statement) lists the professional development activities, approved by the Registrar, available to marriage celebrants in meeting their obligations for 2020 under paragraph 39G(1)(b) of the Act.

Delivery of an activity is limited to certain providers. The Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) has established a panel of four approved Ongoing Professional Development (OPD) providers. Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) with a Certificate IV in Celebrancy within their scope can also apply to AGD to deliver units to count as OPD. Six RTOs have been approved to deliver Certificate IV units for OPD purposes in 2020. In addition, celebrant associations/networks can apply for their conferences to count towards OPD obligations. Five associations/networks have approved conferences in 2020.

An activity is defined in the Statement as:

·         an OPD activity delivered by a provider on AGD’s OPD panel, or

·         a Certificate IV in Celebrancy unit, or

·         a conference delivered by a celebrant association.

The Registrar has not specified a single activity as a compulsory activity for 2020 (paragraph 53(3)(b)). In lieu of no single compulsory activity in 2020, the Registrar requires that celebrants complete at least one of the 70 activities listed in Table 1 of Schedule 1 to the Statement. These activities may include one of the OPD activities with marriage celebrancy content; one of the Certificate IV in Celebrancy units; or attendance at an approved conference delivered by a celebrant association or network. Celebrants are free to choose, if further hours are required, from other activities listed in either Table 1 or Table 2 to make up the five hour OPD requirement.

It is up to each individual celebrant to identify OPD activities from the list and apply to an organisation listed as delivering the activity, unit, or conference to undertake that activity within the year.

Subsection 53(5) of the Regulations requires that the Registrar publish the Statement on the internet and in any other way the Registrar considers appropriate. The Statement will be available from the Attorney-General’s Department website, www.ag.gov.au as soon as the Statement commences. The Statement is also available at the Federal Register of Legislation, www.legislation.gov.au.

Subsection 53(6) of the Regulations provides that the Registrar may add professional development activities to a list that is set out in a statement published under subsection 53(3) for a calendar year; however, those activities cannot be compulsory activities for that year. If the Registrar approves further professional development activities during the year, the list set out in the Statement at Schedule 1 of this Instrument will be amended.

The Statement repeals the Marriage (Celebrant Professional Development) Statement 2019.

Consultation

From 25 November 2016 – 20 March 2017, AGD consulted with key stakeholders, including Commonwealth‑registered marriage celebrants, RTOs, state and territory registries of births, deaths and marriages, and celebrant associations about OPD requirements, including the types of activities that could count as OPD for marriage celebrants.

Following this consultation, a policy on OPD was published in August 2017 (available on AGD’s website). This policy expanded the types of activities the Registrar would consider as elective activities for OPD; confirmed that the Registrar would continue to approve the activities; and confirmed that completion of a compulsory activity will only be required where there are significant changes to legislation, guidelines or the Program.

On 31 October 2017, following an open selection process undertaken by AGD in 2017, a panel of OPD providers (the OPD panel) was established to deliver OPD activities from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2020.

The OPD panel are requested to submit a full list of their training activities for delivery in the 2020 OPD year to the Registrar for assessment and approval. Celebrant associations or networks can also apply to the Registrar for their conferences to count towards a celebrant’s OPD obligation. RTOs delivering the Certificate IV in Celebrancy can deliver units from that qualification to count as OPD where they have applied to the department to do so.

AGD consulted with the OPD Panel, associations, and RTOs between 10 September 2019 and 24 January 2020 in the development of this statement. As part of this consultation, the OPD panel nominated courses proposed for delivery in 2020. The Registrar reviewed each panel member’s outline of nominated activities, which describes how the activity would meet previously established OPD principles and objectives, namely:

·         assist celebrants to keep up to date and informed about changes and issues relevant to their role as a marriage celebrant

·         assist celebrants to broaden their skills, improve their practices, enhance and refine their work as a practitioner and improve their confidence and personal fulfilment as a marriage celebrant

·         build and strengthen celebrant networks to support and mentor each other and share ideas and experiences as a marriage celebrant

·         utilise adult learning principles, and

·         build upon the existing knowledge and skills of marriage celebrants.

The Registrar approved all 215 activities put forward by OPD panel members for inclusion on the Statement.

The Registrar wrote to celebrant associations/networks on 9 October 2019 inviting submissions for association/network conferences to count towards OPD in 2020. Celebrant associations/networks were required to advise the Registrar of conferences they proposed for inclusion on the Statement by 13 December 2019. The Registrar approved all five applications received for inclusion in the Statement.

The application form (in the form of a Declaration) for RTOs to deliver the Certificate IV in Celebrancy units so that the units can count towards OPD obligations is available on AGD’s website. Applications can be made by RTOs at any time. For the purposes of the Statement, the Registrar consulted with RTOs that had already confirmed their intention to deliver Certificate IV units by completing a new Declaration for 2020 by 24 January 2020. Six RTOs have been included in the Statement as delivering Certificate IV units to count towards OPD. RTOs do not need to submit activities for approval. The Registrar does not reconsider the content proposed for the Certificate IV units, as the units and their content have already been separately accredited by the Australian Skills Quality Authority. Accordingly, all units which make up the Certificate IV in Celebrancy can be undertaken and count towards meeting 2020 OPD obligations.

A total of 227 activities are included in the Statement.

Marriage celebrants were not consulted separately in the development of the Statement. This is because AGD requires the OPD panel and celebrant associations/networks to incorporate feedback they receive from celebrants before they submit activities and conferences to the Registrar for approval. In addition, celebrants were consulted in detail in 2016 as part of a broader review of the professional development framework undertaken by AGD. Following this review, the Registrar expanded the number and variety of activities available to celebrants to undertake to meet their annual professional development obligations. These changes took effect from 2018.

There were no significant issues raised during the consultation process for the 2020 Statement. Any issues relating to activity content have been communicated to the relevant OPD panel members.

The Statement is a legislative instrument for the purposes of the Legislation Act 2003. Details of the instrument are set out in Attachment A.

Regulation Impact Statement

The Office of Best Practice Regulation was consulted about the Statement and advised that a Regulatory Impact Statement was not necessary (OBPR ID 26119).

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

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

The Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights is at Attachment B.


 

 

Attachment A

PART 1 – Preliminary

Section 1 – Name

Section 1 provides that the title of the instrument is the Marriage (Celebrant Professional Development) Statement 2020.

Section 2 – Commencement

The instrument commences on the day after the instrument is registered.

Section 3 – Authority

Section 3 provides that the instrument is made by the Registrar of Marriage Celebrants under subsection 53(3) of the Marriage Regulations 2017.

Section 4 – Definitions

Section 4 defines the following terms:

In this instrument:

ACQ means Alliance of Celebrants Queensland.

Activity means an OPD activity delivered by a provider on the Attorney-General’s Department OPD Panel, or a Certificate IV in Celebrancy unit, or a celebrant association conference.

AFCC means Australian Federation of Civil Celebrants.

Australian Celebrations Training means Australian Celebrations Training Pty Ltd (ACN 104 287 112).

Gordon Institute of TAFE means the Gordon Institute of Technical and Further Education (ABN 27 241 053 246).

Life Skills Training means Life Skills Training Pty Ltd (ACN 059 479 159).

Nepean Industry Edge Training means Nepean Industry Edge Training Pty Ltd (ACN 144 553 300).

QualTrain means QualTrain Australia Pty Ltd (ACN 622 208 182).

Regulations means the Marriage Regulations 2017.

Rose Training means Rose Training (ACN 605 893 810).

The Unleashed Collective means The Unleashed Collective (ABN 53 906 894 024)

 

Section 5 – Schedules

Section 5 provides that each instrument that is specified in a Schedule to this instrument is amended or repealed as set out in the applicable items in the Schedule concerned, and any other item in a Schedule to this instrument has effect according to its terms.

Section 6 – List of professional development activities

Subsection 6(1) provides that the list of professional development activities for 2020 are set out in Schedule 1.

Subsection 6(2) provides that a celebrant must complete at least one activity which falls within Table 1 of Schedule 1 as part of meeting their obligation to complete five hours of OPD in 2020.

SCHEDULE 1 – Professional development activities

Schedule 1 provides the full list of professional development activities for 2020 separated into Table 1 and Table 2. In order to meet the obligation in subparagraph 39G(1)(b) of the Act for 2020, a celebrant must complete at least one activity from Table 1.

Table 1 and Table 2 both list:

·         the activity, unit or conference

·         the length in minutes, and

·         the name of the provider or association offering the activity, unit, or conference.

SCHEDULE 2 – Repeals

Schedule 2 repeals the Marriage (Celebrant Professional Development) Statement 2019.


 

Attachment B

Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights

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

 

Marriage (Celebrant Professional Development) Statement 2020

 

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 Disallowable Legislative Instrument

 

The Marriage (Celebrant Professional Development) Statement 2020 (the Statement) is a published list of activities which Commonwealth-registered celebrants can complete to meet their ongoing professional development obligations. The Statement is only applicable to marriage celebrants, including religious marriage celebrants, who are registered under Subdivisions C and D of Division 1 of Part IV of the Marriage Act 1961 (the Marriage Act).

Under paragraph 39G(1)(b) of the Marriage Act, Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants are required to undertake all professional development activities required by the Registrar of Marriage Celebrants in accordance with the Marriage Regulations 2017 (the Regulations).

Under subsection 53(3) of the Regulations, the Registrar must, as soon as practicable, after the start of each calendar year, publish a written statement that sets out the professional development activities for the year, and specifies which of those activities (if any) are compulsory.

The purpose of this Legislative Instrument is to list the professional development activities available to marriage celebrants in accordance with subsection 53(3) of the Regulations.

Human rights implications

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

Conclusion

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