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Notice given 1 November 2002

831  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister for Health and Ageing—How many medical practitioners rendering unreferred attendances were there in each Australian postcode zone for the 12 months ending: (a) 30 June 2000; (b) 30 June 2001; and (c) 30 June 2002 (period of processing).

832  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister for Defence—

(1) How many: (a) full protective suits; and (b) components of protective suits, does the Australian Defence Force (ADF) currently have for personnel operating in combat environments where there is a possibility of chemical or biological agents being used.

(2) For (1)(a), what type of protective suits; and for (1)(b), what components and how many (eg 20 masks).

(3) Have any additional: (a) protective suits; and (b) components of protective suits, been ordered; if so: (i) what type and how many of each type have been ordered; and (ii) when are they expected to arrive.

(4) What units have been trained to operate in combat environments wearing: (a) protective suits; and (b) components of protective suits.

(5) How many personnel in each of the units detailed in (4) have been so trained, including as a percentage of the total personnel that form each of these units (eg 25 out of a total of 150 in one unit of the SAS are trained to operate in a full protective suit, 25 out of 100 in the Chemical, Biological and Radiological Squadron in the Incident Response Regiment, etc).

(6) How long does it take to train personnel to operate wearing: (a) protective suits; and (b) components of protective suits.

(7) How many personnel can be decontaminated, per hour, in the event of involvement in a combat environment where chemical and/or biological agents might be used.

(8) What unit or units have the capability to decontaminate personnel.

(9) Can the Incident Response Regiment (IRR) decontaminate trucks, tanks, or any vehicle; if so: (a) what vehicles; and (b) how many per hour is possible.

(10) Can the IRR be called out within Australia by a decision of the federal Government acting alone, or can it be called out only after a request for assistance from the relevant state or territory.

(11) Can the following be provided: any unclassified documents that describe the current legal requirements and administrative arrangements/guidelines that exist to coordinate the resources of the federal Department of Health and Ageing and the Department of Defence, in respect of responding to any domestic terrorist threat.

(12) Are these arrangements, guidelines or protocols currently being revised; if so: (a) when is the decision on any changes expected to be made; and (b) will it be made public.

(13) Does the department have any agreements with health agencies or state emergency agencies in the states or territories with respect to emergency responses; if so: (a) which agencies in which states and territories; and (b) can copies of these agreements be provided.

(14) Does the IRR have capability to defuse bombs; if not, do any other units in the ADF have this capability; if so, which ones.

(15) (a) What equipment does the ADF have for detecting, identifying and monitoring biological and chemical hazards; and (b) can information be provided on the capability the ADF has for predicting bio/chemical hazard duration and movement.

(16) (a) Does the ADF have any of the following: (i) the Man-portable Chemical Agent Detector, (ii) the Fuchs Nuclear and Chemical Reconnaissance and Survey Vehicle (and how many), (iii) the Prototype Biological Detection System, and (iv) the Multi Purpose Decontamination System; and (b) in relation to any of these technologies which the ADF does not have, can details be provided of any alternative capabilities, and how the latter differ from the technologies listed at (i) to (iv).

833  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister for Defence—

(1) What action has the Australian Air Force taken to address the significant shortfall of air traffic controllers that existed on 1 July 2001.

(2) How many air traffic controllers have been newly recruited to the Australian Air Force since 1 July 2001.

(3) (a) How many air traffic controllers have separated from the Australian Air Force since 1 July 2001 (can the information on separations be broken down to show the length of service of those personnel that separated from the Air Force).

(4) Does the Australian Air Force conduct exit surveys as a means of determining why personnel with specialist skills are separating from the Air Force. if so, what do the findings of these surveys show; if not, why not.

(5) What is the current strength of air traffic controllers on air force bases.

(6) What is the required strength of air traffic controllers on air force bases.

(7) What action is the Australian Air Force taking to overcome the ongoing shortage of air traffic controllers.

834  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister for Defence—

(1) What action has the Australian Army taken to address the significant shortfall of personnel with specialist skills that existed as at 1 July 2001.

(2) How many medical assistants, infantry combat clerks, linguists, bearer systems operators, radar operators, special vehicle engineers, supply operators and terminal operators have been newly recruited to the Australian Army since 1 July 2001.

(3) How many medical assistants, infantry combat clerks, linguists, bearer systems operators, radar operators, special vehicle engineers, supply operators and terminal operators have separated from the Australian Army since 1 July 2001 (can the information on separations be broken down to show the length of service of those personnel that separated from the Army).

(4) Does the Australian Army conduct exit surveys as a means of determining why personnel with specialist skills are separating from the Army; if so, what do the findings of these surveys show; if not, why not.

(5) What is the current strength of medical assistants, infantry combat clerks, linguists, bearer systems operators, radar operators, special vehicle engineers, supply operators and terminal operators at army bases.

(6) What is the required strength of medical assistants, infantry combat clerks, linguists, bearer systems operators, radar operators, special vehicle engineers, supply operators and terminal operators at army bases.

(7) What action is the Australian Army taking to overcome the ongoing shortage of personnel with specialist skills.

835  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister for Defence—

(1) (a) What are the most recent figures on how many permanent members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) there are; (b) can these figures be provided for each of the services; and (c) can this information be broken down by gender.

(2) For each of the services, are the current figures above or below expectations.

(3) For each of the services, why are the current figures above or below expectations.

(4) (a) What were the targets for the total numbers for each of the services over the past 5 financial years; and (b) what were the actual numbers for each of the services over the past 5 financial years.

(6) What are the targets for the total numbers for each of the services over the next 5 financial years.

(7) With reference to (e) of question W36 from February 2002 (Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee, Additional Estimates 2001-02), can an update to the tables for each of the services be provided.

(8) With reference to part (f) of question W36, can an update to the tables for each of the Services be provided, showing the same information as at 31 December 2001 and 30 June 2002.

(9) With reference to part (f) of question W36, are there any other specialist areas in the ADF experiencing shortages of personnel (that is, areas of specialist skill that were not identified in the previous answer to this question).

836  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister for Defence—

(1) What action has the Royal Australian Navy taken to address the significant shortfall of pilots, seaman officers, weapons electrical aircraft engineers, electronic technicians and marine technicians that existed as at 1 July 2001.

(2) How many pilots, seaman officers, weapons electrical aircraft engineers, electronic technicians and marine technicians have been newly recruited to the Royal Australian Navy since 1 July 2001.

(3) How many pilots, seaman officers, weapons electrical aircraft engineers, electronic technicians and marine technicians have separated from the Royal Australian Navy since 1 July 2001 (can the information on separations be broken down to show the length of service of those personnel that separated from the Royal Australian Navy).

(4) Does the Royal Australian Navy conduct exit surveys as a means of determining why personnel with specialist skills are separating from the Royal Australian Navy; if so, what do the findings of these surveys show; if not, why not.

(5) What is the current strength of pilots, seaman officers, weapons electrical aircraft engineers, electronic technicians and marine technicians at navy bases.

(6) What is the required strength of pilots, seaman officers, weapons electrical aircraft engineers, electronic technicians and marine technicians at navy bases.

(7) What action is the Royal Australian Navy taking to overcome the ongoing shortage of pilots, seaman officers, weapons electrical aircraft engineers, electronic technicians and marine technicians.

837  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister for Defence—

(1) (a) What were the enlistment targets for each of the services over the past 5 financial years; (b) what are the enlistment targets for each of the services for the 2002-03 financial year; and (c) what are the enlistment targets for each of the services for the next 4 financial years.

(2) With reference to the answers to parts (1) and (2) of question on notice no. 205 (Senate Hansard , 15 May 2002, p.1668) on enquires about joining the services: Can the table be updated to provide final figures for the 2001-02 financial year and year-to-date figures for the 2002-03 financial year.

(3) With reference to the answer to part (3) of question on notice no. 205 on applications to join each of the services: Can the table be updated to provide final figures for the 2001-02 financial year and year-to-date figures for the 2002-03 financial year.

(4) With reference to the answer to part (4) of question on notice no. 205 on enlistments to each of the services: Can the table be updated to provide final figures for the 2001-02 financial year and year-to-date figures for the 2002-03 financial year.

(5) With reference to the answer to part (5) of question on notice no. 205 on separations from each of the services: Can the table be updated to provide final figures for the 2001-02 financial year and year-to-date figures for the 2002-03 financial year.

838  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister for Defence—With reference to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee’s Estimates hearings of June 2002, at which Defence indicated that the Incident Response Regiment (IRR) would number 309 personnel when fully staffed, and that 117 new recruits would be required to fully staff the IRR, with the remaining personnel to be ‘regathered’ from those soldiers that were part of an earlier incident response initiative during the Sydney Olympics:

(1) Is 309 personnel still considered adequate for the IRR; if not, what is the revised number of personnel that is required to fully staff the IRR.

(2) Is the IRR now fully staffed; if not: (a) how many more personnel are required before the IRR is fully staffed; (b) when is it expected that the IRR personnel target will be achieved; and (c) what action is being taken to recruit more personnel.

(3) (a) How many separations from the IRR have there been since it was established; and (b) can a breakdown be provided to indicate whether the separations were by personnel who had been regathered, or whether they were by new recruits.

(4) How many new personnel have been recruited to the IRR since its establishment (that is, not counting the personnel that were regathered from elsewhere in the ADF).

(5) (a) How many of the new personnel were new recruits to the Australian Army; (b) how many were recruited from other parts of the Australian Defence Force (not counting the personnel that were being regathered); and (c) from where were the other personnel recruited.

(6) (a) Who is providing the training program; (b) has the training program commenced; (c) can a list of activities that are undertaken as part of the training program be provided.

(7) Is the IRR able to be deployed now; if not, when will the IRR be ready to be deployed.

(8) Can a breakdown be provided of exactly what the $18.5 million in the 2002-03 financial year will be spent on.

(9) (a) How much of the $18.5 million allocated for the 2002-03 financial year has been spent already; and (b) is additional funding likely to be required.