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Tuesday, 14 May 2002
Page: 1481

Senator O'Brien asked the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, upon notice, on 28 February 2002:

(1) (a) What is the budget for the Action Plan for Australian Agriculture (APAA) for the 2001-02 financial year; and (b) what funding is provided for the out years.

(2) Is the APAA still largely built around the Rural Vision magazine.

(3) When was the last time that the APAA was under review.

(4) (a) When did that review commence: (b) When was it completed; and (c) what were the findings from the review.

(5) Has the Government responded to the recommendations of the review; if so: (a) which of those recommendations have been picked up, and why; and (b) which of those recommendations have been rejected, and why.

Senator Ian Macdonald (Minister for Forestry and Conservation) —The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) (a and b) There is no specific budget for the Action Plan for Australian Agriculture Food and Fibre for the 2001-02 financial year or for out years. Administrative activities associated with the Plan (principally the preparation and printing of the Rural Vision magazine) are being paid for by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Two editions of the magazine are produced each year. The total cost of producing and distributing the two editions is about $100,000.

(2) No. The Action Plan for Australian Agriculture Food and Fibre, was not built around the Rural Vision Magazine but provided a framework of key strategies in a range of areas that stakeholders in the plan made an `in principle' commitment to pursue. There were no specific programs identified under the Action Plan. The Rural Vision Magazine has provided a vehicle for the stakeholders to showcase some of their activities. Recent editions have also been used to help demonstrate successful grant proposals under the Farm Innovation Program.

(3-5) The review of the Action Plan, initially scheduled for 2001, was overtaken by other events and has not occurred.

Recently the Government reviewed the Action Agenda/Action Plan process and there is now a more rigorous process of deriving Action Agendas. The Government's `Developments in Australian Industry Policy 2001' initiative and the subsequent publication `Action Agendas 2002', define this process and describe its aims.

In line with this initiative, the Action Plan has been superseded by the development or strengthening of separate action plans for individual components of Australia's industries—such as the Government's National Food Industry Strategy.