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Thursday, 16 May 2002
Page: 1837

Senator O'Brien asked the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, upon notice, on 12 February 2002:

(1) Did an engineer acting on behalf of Mrs and Mr Bauer request, on 26 May 1999, access to the Mack trucks F4 and F26, owned by the Bauers, at the Driver Trainer Education Centre of Australia in Melbourne, to facilitate a superficial inspection (reference K99804221 in documents tabled in the Senate on 27 November 2000).

(2) Was the request refused; if so: (a) who refused the request; (b) what was the basis for the refusal; and (c) was the Minister or his office aware of the request and did the Minister or his office approve the decision to refuse the request.

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

The questions asked by Senator O'Brien refer to processes and actions in relation to the Investigation Into The Specification Of Heavy Trucks And Consequent Effects On Truck Dynamics And Drivers, conducted for the Department of Transport and Regional Services by consultants Roaduser International. Many of the questions are based on speculation or refer to the actions of third parties that could not be known to either the Department or the Minister.

While the Minister for Transport and Regional Services was briefed on the overall progress of the Roaduser International investigation, the Minister was not involved in the investigation or operational processes, nor was he provided with detail at the level that is raised by the questions. Some of the questions relate to papers tabled on 27 November 2000. The consultants' report was tabled on 18 April 2000, the investigation has been finalised and is reported on the Australian Transport Safety Bureau website. The Minister is not prepared to commit further resources to this matter.