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Notice given 5 March 2008

354  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Education—In regard to braille education in Australia:

(1) Does the Government recognise that, despite being designed, developed and manufactured in Australia for more than 15 years, several leading educational tools for early braille literacy, including the Mountbatten Brailler and Jot-a-Dot, have not been made available to blind or vision impaired children.

(2) Does the Government consider it acceptable that the two devices used for early braille learning in Australian schools date from the 1830’s and 1950, the Slate and Stylus and the Perkins Brailler respectively.

(3) Will the Government ensure that the ‘education revolution’ is extended to children who are blind or vision impaired.

(4) Will the program to provide a ‘computer for every student’ include basic assistive technology solutions for children who are blind or vision impaired.

(5) How will the Government address the inequity in early education for children who are blind or vision impaired.

355  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing—With reference to proposals by the Council of Australian Government to introduce national systems of registration and accreditation for the Australian health workforce by July 2008:

(1) Has the Government identified a final model for the registration and accreditation systems; if so: (a) can a copy of the models be provided; (b) has it been agreed to by the nine health care professions included in the initiative; and (c) have all states and territories signed on to it.

(2) Will the systems be operational by July 2008; if not, what is the new timeline.

(3) Is the Government still committed to national registration and accreditation systems for the health workforce.


 356  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Resources and Energy—

(1) What is the current status of planning for a proposed national nuclear waste repository, or repositories, for: (a) low-level radioactive waste; (b) short-lived intermediate-level radioactive waste; and (c) long-lived intermediate-level radioactive waste, including reprocessed spent fuel rods from the High Flux Australian Reactor and the Open Pool Australian Lightwater research reactor.

(2) What sites are being considered for each of these categories of radioactive waste product.

(3) Will the Government proceed with the former Government’s acceptance of the application by the Northern Land Council (NLC) for a repository to be sited at Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory.

(4) (a) Has the proposed $12 million grant, in consideration of the application, been paid to the NLC; if not, when will it be paid; (b) what conditions, if any, were imposed on the use of the grant; and (c) can a copy of the agreement between the Government and the NLC be provided.

(5) (a) Has the previously announced detailed assessment of the Muckaty Station site’s physical and biological suitability been completed; if not, when will this be done; if so, can a copy of the assessment be provided.

(6) What is the time frame in which the environmental assessment will be completed.

(7) Will the proposal be a controlled action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conversation Act 1999 .

(8) How is waste proposed to be transported to the repository.

357  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research—

(1) What progress has been made towards repairing the Open Pool Australian Lightwater research reactor following its shutdown in July 2007.

(2) What is the anticipated date of the reactor recommencing operation.

(3) What has been the cost, so far, of lost income for: (a) nuclear medicine production; (b) neutron beam research; and (c) industrial irradiation services.

(4) (a) What is the anticipated final amount for lost income from the reactor; and (b) will INVAP S.E. be required to pay compensation for these losses.

(5) Have the process improvements described in the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation report, Summary - Fuel assembly design modification to incorporate a stopper - E0083 , dated 19 December 2007, been implemented; if so, what is the additional operational cost of these improvements.