Significant Developments 2011–12

From 1 July 2011, the ALRC will become a prescribed agency under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (Cth) (FMA Act) and a statutory agency under the Public Service Act 1999 (Cth). This transition was effected on 17 December 2010 with the enactment of the Financial Framework Legislation Amendment Act 2010 (Cth). In early 2010, the Attorney-General advised that, following an assessment against the recommendations of the Review of the Corporate Governance of Statutory Authorities and Officeholders (Uhrig Review) and the Government’s policy on governance arrangements for agencies, the ALRC should operate under an executive management model, subject to amendment of the Australian Law Reform Commission Act 1996 (Cth). Formerly the ALRC’s governance framework was subject to the Commonwealth Authorities & Companies Act 1997 (Cth) (CAC Act).

Under the FMA Act, the ALRC’s governance will change and it will not retain its body corporate status. Instead of having its own Board of Management, currently consisting of the full-time and part-time members of the ALRC, the Attorney-General may appoint a Management Advisory Committee to oversee the ALRC.

A new Enterprise Agreement is currently being negotiated and will provide new employment arrangements for ALRC staff during 2011–14 that reflect both the requirements of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and associated transitional legislation, as well as the ALRC’s move to the Public Service.

The ALRC will complete two Inquiries, Commonwealth Laws & Family Violence and Censorship & Classification. A new Inquiry into Copyright Laws has been flagged for 2012 by the Attorney-General but no Terms of Reference have been received as of August 2011. The ALRC would expect referral of two new inquiries for 2012.

With the move to new premises and additional productivity savings, the ALRC will have aligned its operations with its reduced appropriation and is not expecting any operating loss for the year.