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Notice given 4 December 2002

981  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—

(1) Did the Secretary of the department sign a statement on 30 August 2002 attesting that the departmental financial statements for the year ended 30 June 2002 were a ’true and fair view’ of the matters required by the Finance Minister’s Orders made under the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 :

(2) Did the Secretary read the annual report prior to signing the statement.

(3) Does Schedule 1 of the Commonwealth Auth orities and Companies (Fina ncial Statements 2001-2002) Orders require the disclosure in the notes to the financial statement of: (a) the aggregate remuneration of all managers of the entity whose remuneration for the financial year is $100 000 or more; and (b) the number of managers of the entity whose remuneration for the financial year falls within each successive $10 000 band commencing at $100 000.

(4) Is it the case that within the meaning of the Orders’ requirement to disclose director/manager remuneration, ‘managers’ includes executives.

(5) Does note 21 to Appendix 9 of the department’s annual report for the year ended 30 June 2002 declare the highest level of executive remuneration in 2000-01 to be within the band $250 000 to $260 000.

(6) Is it the case that the Secretary’s remuneration exceeded this band in 2000-01; if so, should the Secretary’s remuneration have been reported in the band $330 000 to $340 000.

(7) Does the declaration therefore fail to comply with the requirements of the Finance Minister’s Orders.

(8) (a) When did the department become aware that the notes to the financial statement for the year ended 30 June 2002 were not accurate; and (b) on what date did the department report the inaccurate remuneration figure for 2000-01 to the Minister.

(9) (a) What action has the department or the Minister taken to correct the remuneration figure in the note to the 2001-02 annual report; and (b) on what date was this action taken.

(10) Is the Secretary’s declared remuneration for 2001-02 accurate?

(11) Are any of the other notes to financial statements for the year ended 30 June 2002 inaccurate.

(12) With reference to evidence provided to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee during the estimates hearing on 20 November 2002 that the remuneration details required to be declared include a number of components: What was the detailed breakdown of the Secretary’s remuneration package for the 2001-02 financial year, including: (a) base salary; (b) performance pay; (c) productivity pay; (d) car; (e) fringe benefits tax; (f) car parking; (g) superannuation; (h) unused leave; and (i) any other components.

982  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—

(1) Did the Secretary of the department sign a statement on 11 September 2001 attesting that the departmental financial statements for the year ended 30 June 2001 were a ‘true and fair view’ of the matters required by the Finance Minister’s Orders made under section 63 of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 :

(2) Did the Secretary read the annual report prior to signing the statement.

(3) Does Schedule 1 of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies (Financial Statements 2000-2001) Orders require the disclosure in the notes to the financial statement of: (a) the aggregate remuneration of all managers of the entity whose remuneration for the financial year is $100 000 or more; and (b) the number of managers of the entity whose remuneration for the financial year falls within each successive $10 000 band commencing at $100 000.

(4) Is it the case that within the meaning of the Orders’ requirement to disclose director/manager remuneration, ‘managers’ includes executives.

(5) Does note 20 to Appendix 8 of the department’s annual report for the year ended 30 June 2001 declare the highest level of executive remuneration in 2000-01 to be within the band $250 000 to $260 000.

(6) Is it the case that the Secretary’s salary exceeded this band in 2000-01; if so, should the Secretary’s salary have been reported in the band $330 000 to $340 000.

(7) Does the declaration therefore fail to comply with the requirements of the Finance Minister’s Orders.

(8) (a) When did the department become aware that the notes to the financial statement for the year ended 30 June 2001 were not accurate; and (b) on what date did the department report the inaccurate remuneration figure to the Minister.

(9) (a) What action has the department or the Minister taken to correct the remuneration figure in the note to the 2000-01 annual report; and (b) on what date was this action taken.

(10) In respect to note 20 to Appendix 8 of the annual report for the year ended 30 June 2001, what corresponding amendments are required to provide a ‘true and fair view’ of the remuneration of executives in 2000-01 to: (a) the aggregate amount of total remuneration of executive officers; and (b) the aggregate amount of performance pay paid during the year to executive officers.

(11) Are any of the other notes to financial statements for the year ended 30 June 2001 inaccurate.

(12) With reference to evidence provided to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee during the estimates hearing on 20 November 2002 that the remuneration details required to be declared include a number of components: What was the detailed breakdown of the Secretary’s remuneration package for the 2000-01 financial year, including: (a) base salary; (b) performance pay; (c) productivity pay; (d) car; (e) fringe benefits tax; (f) car parking; (g) superannuation; (h) unused leave; and (i) any other components.

983  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry— With reference to the department’s toll-free 24-hour customer service telephone line:

(1) What is the telephone number.

(2) Which output area is responsible for the customer service line.

(3) What was the full cost of maintaining the customer service line in the financial year ended 30 June 2002.

(4) Can a breakdown of direct and indirect costs be provided, including: (a) staff costs; (b) infrastructure costs (including maintenance); (c) telephone costs; (d) departmental costs; and (e) any other costs.

(5) Is it the case that the customer service line received three calls in the year 2001-02 financial year and just one call related to a departmental program area.

(6) What action was taken in response to this single call.

(7) To which two agencies were the other two calls referred.

(8) On what days in the 2001-02 financial year were the three calls received.

(9) When was the customer service line established.

(10) Have the hours of operation, or other operational details, altered since it was established; if so, can details these of changes be provided.

(11) What has been the total cost of maintaining the customer service line since its establishment.

(12) How many calls have been received, by year, in each year of its operation.

984  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry— With reference to evidence given to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee during the estimates hearing on 20 November 2002, in relation to the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) uniform contracts held by Bizwear Pty Ltd: 

(1) Can a copy of the contract for the period 1996-2002, valued at $4.1 million, be made available; if not, why not.

(2) What was AQIS’ average staffing level in the period 1996-2002.

(3) During that time, how many staff were provided with the uniform supplied under the terms of the contract.

(4) Can a copy of the contract for the period 2002-04, valued at a maximum of $6 million, be made available; if not, why not.

(5) What is AQIS’ projected average staffing level for the period 2002-04.

(6) During that time, how many staff are projected to be provided with the uniform supplied under the terms of the contract.

985  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to evidence given to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee during the estimates hearing on 20 November 2002 that the department’s accounts were qualified by the Australian National Audit Office in the 1999-2000 financial year because a payment made in that year breached the Australian Constitution:

(1) What are the full details of the payment.

(2) When did the breach occur.

(3) What section of the Constitution did the action breach.

(4) On what date did the department become aware of the breach; if applicable, who brought the breach to the department’s attention.

(5) On what date was the breach brought to the attention of the Minister and/or his office.

(6) What action did the department take in response to this breach.

(7) Was the breach reported in the department’s annual reports for the years ending 30 June 2000 or 30 June 2001; if not, why not.

986  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to the Minister’s statement, ‘Sheep exports from Portland to resume if tough new conditions are met’, issued on 31 October 2002:

(1) What recommendations did the Independent Reference Group make to the Minister.

(2) Have any of these recommendations failed to be incorporated into the new action plan for live animal exports.

(3) (a) Who comprised the joint industry/Government working group that developed the action plan; and (b) when was this working group formed.

(4) On how many occasions has this working group met.

(5) Has the working group been disbanded; if so, when did this occur; if not, what tasks is the working group now undertaking.

987  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to the answer to the question on notice no. 725 (Senate Hansard , 2 December 2002, p. 6612) concerning live animal exports:

(1) Did the Chief Veterinary Officer recommend to the Secretary of the department that the livestock vessel Al Kuwait should be permitted to depart from Portland; if so, did the Chief Veterinary Officer recommend any conditions that were not subsequently applied to its departure; if not, why did the secretary disregard the recommendation of the Chief Veterinary Officer and revoke a direction that an export permit not be granted to the exporter.

(2) (a) How many sheep, if any, died aboard the Al Kuwait during the voyage that commenced in Portland on 29 September 2002; and (b) what was the principal identified cause of death.

988  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to evidence given to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee during the estimates hearing on 20 November 2002 in relation to the Exceptional Circumstances (EC) Program:

(1) Is it the case that the EC guidelines agreed at the Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand meeting, in March 1999, do not require the states to provide substantial financial support in a region subject to an EC application before an EC declaration can be made.

(2) Is it the case that the Commonwealth has imposed changes to the EC guidelines requiring disclosure of state drought expenditure without reaching agreement with any state on this change.

989  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—

(1) (a) What is the term of the current contract of the Secretary of the department; and (b) when did it commence.

(2) Has the Commonwealth entered into a previous contract, or contracts, with Mr Taylor as Secretary; if so, can details be provided of the relevant terms.

(3) Does the current contract contain an entitlement for reunion travel; if so, what is the maximum entitlement per year.

(4) (a) What are the details of the cost of reunion travel, by year, in the term of the current contract; and (b) can a detailed breakdown of these costs be provided, including: (a) air fares; (b) taxi fares; (c) parking charges; and (d) any other components.

(6) If different, can a detailed breakdown of all costs incurred in relation to reunion travel since the secretary’s appointment on 17 January 2000 be provided.