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21 November 2011

* 739  MR BALDWIN: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs—How many Australian Government staff are currently deployed at each of Australia's international airports, what are their roles and what sum did these officers cost the Government in (a) 2007-08, (b) 2008-09, (c) 2009-10, (d) 2010-11, and (e) 2011-12 (to date), including their salaries and other costs associated with their work.

* 740  MR OAKESHOTT: To ask the Minister for Human Services—In respect of Centrelink concession cards, (a) why do they not contain photo identification, and (b) has she received reports of (i) cards being used by family and friends, (ii) cards being used when scanned or photocopied, (iii) cards being used after they have expired, and (iv) multiple cards, and/or addresses, and/or names being connected to one person; if so, what actions have been or are being taken to prevent such card misuse.

* 741  MR FLETCHER: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy—In respect of the connection by NBN Co. Limited of its fibre network to Australian households, (a) what is the average power in watts that an average household connection will utilise, and (b) how does this compare to the power used with existing (i) voice telephone, and (ii) Digital Subscriber Line modem with a personal computer.

* 742  MR FLETCHER: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy—What proportion of NBN Co. Limited’s assets are leased as opposed to owned.

* 743  MR ROBB: To ask the Treasurer—

(1) Is it a fact that the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has implemented a new regulatory policy under which it will be conducting ‘real time’ audits on Australia’s top 200 companies, thereby moving away from the long-standing policy of self-assessment and post lodgement audit.

(2) Are all major changes in regulatory policy the subjects of regulatory impact statements and examination and consultation with the Office of Best Practice Regulation (OBPR); if not, under what circumstances are proposed changes exempt from such scrutiny.

(3) Did the ATO consult with the OBPR in relation to the ‘real time’ policy initiative; if so, what was the outcome; if not, why not.

(4)  Did the ATO complete a regulatory impact statement in relation to this policy initiative under the Government’s best practice regulation policies; if not, why not.

(5) Did the ATO discuss its ‘real time’ audit proposals with representatives of umbrella groups such as the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Business Council of Australia and others who uphold principles of good corporate governance in Australia, and report its findings to the OBPR; if not, why not.

(6) Did the ATO conduct any trials or pilot studies to gauge the impact of its new regulation on corporate productivity and governance; if not, why not.

(7) What is the anticipated cost to the Government of this new policy over the forward estimates, including the details of additional human and capital resources; and has an estimate been made on any additional cost to business; if so, can he indicate this sum for the same period.

(8) Is the OBPR aware that in the United States the Internal Revenue Service developed a similar policy by seeking volunteers from the corporate sector, thereby avoiding unnecessary expense and lost productivity; and would he consider introducing a similar system here.

* 744  MR ROBB: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Finance and Deregulation—

(1) What sum was the Australian Government’s total gross debt (a) when the 2007-08 Budget was delivered, and (b) on 17 November 2011.

(2) What is the percentage of growth in gross Government debt between the two periods in part (1), and can the Minister indicate how this percentage compares to that of OECD countries including Germany, France, Italy, the United States, Spain, Norway, Iceland, Ireland, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Israel and Chile.

(3) In which financial year does the Government estimate it will reach the new Commonwealth debt ceiling of $250 billion.

(4) Is the Government considering increasing the debt ceiling beyond $250 billion.

(5) Between the two periods in part (1), what total sum of interest has the Commonwealth paid on its total borrowings.

(6) What is the latest estimate for the (a) Government retiring all Commonwealth net debt, and (b) Federal Budget’s ‘structural deficit’; and as a percentage of GDP, how does this compare with other OECD countries.

* 745  MR ROBB: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Finance and Deregulation—As of 17 November 2011, what sum had the Government borrowed for financing the National Broadband Network project.




Clerk of the House of Representatives