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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 the Federal Office of Road Safety invite Mack Trucks Australia, Ford/Stirling and Kenworth Australia to attend a technical briefing in Melbourne on 10 June 1999, conducted by Roaduser International relating to its inquiry into heavy vehicles (reference K99804268 in documents tabled in the Senate on 27 November 2000).

(2) Were any of the owners of vehicles that were the subject of testing by Roaduser International or independent engineers representing those owners invited to attend the briefing; if not, why not.

(3) (a) Who made the decision not to invite the vehicle owners or their technical advisers; (b) was the Minister or his office advised of the decision; and (c) did the Minister or his office endorse the decision.

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.