Monday, 15 June 2015
Governance of Australian Government Superannuation Schemes Legislation Amendment Bill 2015; Consideration of Senate Message
I appreciate that the Opposition has taken a constructive stance in relation to this bill, recognising that it makes sense to put the administration staff into the same structure as the trustee, rather than have an artificial single-client service arrangement.
The main substantive issue that the opposition has raised is the question of APS mobility. The amendments to the bill moved by the opposition and adopted in the Senate would provide transferring ComSuper staff with mobility rights broadly equivalent to those they would have had if they had remained in the APS, for a three-year period. While the government would see a shorter defined period as being more appropriate, we do appreciate that these amendments have temporary effect only and cease to apply after three years.
When this amendment was first contemplated and raised by the opposition with the government, the interim recruitment restrictions for the APS were still in place. On budget night, 12 May, this year the government announced that new arrangements would be introduced from 1 July 2015 providing greater latitude for agency heads to elect staff from outside the APS without extra vetting by the Australian Public Service Commission. As a result, ComSuper staff who transfer to CSC employment at commencement of the merger will, regardless of the opposition amendments, have opportunities to seek to return to APS employment if they wish to do so.
The government will not consider this amendment to be a precedent for future cases. While our smaller government reforms are resulting in the merger of a number of agencies, it is not common to move APS agency staff to a non-APS general government sector body. The unique single-client relationship between ComSuper and the CSC was the reason for the current merger, and this model of merger is not a scenario which we see as likely to be readily replicated. Future governments should be able to reorganise functions between agencies on a case-by-case basis, without viewing the transitional arrangements for ComSuper staff as a precedent which creates a restriction to normal practices.
To ensure the passage of the legislative amendments needed to give effect to the merger of ComSuper and CSC from 1 July 2015, the government will be agreeing to the bill as amended. I move that the amendment be agreed to.
Question agreed to.