The Crown Entities Act 2004 came into force on 25 January 2005. It is an “umbrella” Act covering all Crown entities, and it fits with individual entities’ empowering Acts. The Crown Entities Act prevails over entities’ Acts in the event of any conflict, unless the entity’s Act expressly provides otherwise. School Boards of Trustees and Tertiary Education Institutions are exceptions. Only a small number of provisions from the Crown Entities Act apply to them and they are listed in Schedules to the Act, and in the Education Act 1989.
The main purposes of the Crown Entities Act are to:
Provide a consistent framework for the establishment, governance, and operation of Crown entities.
Clarify accountability relationships between Crown entities, their board members, their responsible Ministers on behalf of the Crown, and the House of Representatives.
The Act provides for different categories of Crown entities and for each category to have its own framework for governance. This includes tailored provisions on appointment and removal of board members, and on whether the entities will be required to have regard to or give effect to government policy.
The Act also clarifies the powers and duties of board members regarding the governance and operation of Crown entities, and they have duties such as to ensure the financial responsibility of the Crown entity.
Reporting and accountability requirements are in Part 4 of the Act, which is administered by Treasury. The rest of the Act is administered by the State Services Commission.