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Notice given 13 March 2012

1694  Senator Abetz: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship—For the financial years 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11, how many:

(a) employer nominations were submitted under regulation 5.19(4) of the Migration Regulations 1994, listed separately by Regional Certifying Body (RCB);

(b) employer nominations were approved per each RCB;

(c) visas were approved for a Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa per each RCB;

(d) Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa holders were subject to a Notice of Intention to Cancel in line with section 137Q of the Migration Act 1958 ; and

 

 (e) previous Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme visa holders had a Subclass 857/121 visa cancelled in line with section 137Q of the Migration Act 1958 .

1695  Senator Abetz: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship—Can a breakdown be provided detailing all expenditure on or at the Pontville Immigration Detention Centre.

1696  Senator Abetz: To ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister—

(1) What is the annual catering budget for Cabinet.

(2) How much of the catering budget for the 2011-12 financial year has been used.

(3) What is the cost of catering an average Cabinet meeting.

1697  Senator Bob Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth—With reference to the answer to question on notice no. 1096 (Senate Hansard , 7 February 2012, proof p. 176), relating to corporal punishment in non-state schools:

(1) Can an explanation be provided regarding the situation of corporal punishment in non-state schools in Queensland.

(2) What is the Commonwealth Government’s understanding of Section 280 of the Queensland Criminal Code Act 1899 , in relation to the use of corporal punishment in non-state schools.

1698  Senator Scullion: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs—With reference to the National Indigenous Reform Agreement on the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Reform Council website:

(1) Given that the seven National Partnerships associated with the National Indigenous Reform Agreement are: the National Partnership on Indigenous Economic Participation; the National Partnership on Remote Indigenous Public Internet Access; the National Partnership on Remote Service Delivery; the National Partnership on Closing the Gap in the Northern Territory; the National Partnership on Closing the Gap in Indigenous Health Outcomes; the National Partnership on Remote Indigenous Housing; and the National Partnership on Indigenous Early Childhood Development, can details be provided of the:

(a) total funds committed to date for each National Partnership; and

(b) total funds expended for each National Partnership, including a breakdown by state and territory where applicable.

(2) Given that the six targets of the National Indigenous Reform Agreement are to: ‘close the life expectancy gap within a generation’; ‘halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five within a decade’; ‘ensure all Indigenous four year olds in remote communities have access to early childhood education within five years’; ‘halve the gap for Indigenous students in reading, writing, numeracy within a decade’; ‘halve the gap for Indigenous students in Year 12 attainment or equivalent attainment rates by 2020’; and ‘halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a decade’, which National Partnerships relate to the following targets:

 

 (a) ‘halve the gap for Indigenous students in reading, writing, numeracy within a decade’; and

(b) ‘halve the gap for Indigenous students in Year 12 attainment or equivalent attainment rates by 2020’.

Senator Cash: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 1699-1701)—With reference to the Australian Government Office for Women (OfW) website, which states: ‘The Office for Women delivers many of the programs and services relevant to women outlined in this website. The programs and services can be found as follows:

  • Reducing Violence: Relating to reducing violence against women and their children - National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, Women’s Safety Programs, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault help details, support for victims of people trafficking.
  • Equal Place in Society: Activities and engagement with women’s organisations, aimed at improving women’s equal place in society’.
  • International Engagement: The Australian Government’s work in international forums, and policy on international matters affecting women.
  • Research and Data: Research and data relating to women in Australia.
  • Economic Security: Aimed at increasing the economic security of Australian women - including pay equity, superannuation, managing money, women in business.
  • Australian Government Panel of Gender Experts (Gender Panel) User Guide: The Gender Panel supports the development of gender expertise across the Australian government by providing a range of services to promote the integration of gender equality into policy, programs and research.
  • Social and Community Sector Workers Equal Remuneration Case: The Prime Minister announced on 10 November 2011, that the Australian Government and the Australian Services Union have reached an agreement in the Social and Community Sector Workers Equal Remuneration Case’.

(1) In relation to each of the programs and services outlined above, can details be provided for every program and service delivered by the OfW, including how the program or service is delivered.

(2) Are there Key Performance Indicators for the delivery of each program and/or service; if so, what are they; if not, why not.

(3) Which programs and/or services are not delivered by the OfW, and can an explanation be provided as to why they are not delivered.

(4) For each program and/or service not delivered by the OfW, can details be provided as to:

(a) which office or department is responsible for the delivery;

(b) whether the OfW liaises with the office or department; if so, how; if not, why not; and

(c) how the OfW ensures that the program and/or service is delivered to a satisfactory standard.

1699 Minister representing the Minister for Community Services

1700 Minister representing the Minister for the Status of Women

 

 1701 Minister representing the Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development ( transferred to the Minister representing the Minister for the Status of Women on 15 March 2012)

1702  Senator Abetz: To ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General— 

(1) What feedback has the department received in relation to the proposal to impose a $600 annual fee upon marriage celebrants.

(2) Are submissions made in response to the department’s discussion paper available on its website.

(3) How will the proposed fee benefit marriage celebrants.

(4) Given that marriage celebrants already bear substantial costs, such as buying marriage certificates and registers, paying for mandatory ongoing professional development, along with all the other standard and significant costs of being in business, how can the department justify imposing yet another cost without measurable value to the celebrant.

(5) Will the imposition of a fee seriously damage the relationship between celebrants and the department.

(6) Has the department considered a more scalable solution, such as a per-wedding fee.

(7) How does the department intend to reduce the number of celebrants.

(8) Is the department hoping that the introduction of a fee will result in attrition of celebrant numbers.

(9) How does the department intend to improve its service to celebrants, including frequent communications and the provision of an extended hours (including weekends) help desk for celebrants.

(10) Has the department investigated improving the current processes for lodging the Notice of Intended Marriage.

(11) Has the department considered a moratorium on new marriage celebrant appointments, especially considering the current high number of celebrants.

(12) What disclosure is given to prospective or new celebrants on the state of the market.

(13) Why does the Government not provide budget funding for the regulation of the celebrant program , or pass on responsibility to the state registries of births, deaths and marriages.

(14) How many civil weddings have been held each year since 2002.

(15) How many celebrants have never performed a wedding.

(16) What is the average cost of ongoing professional development for celebrants.

(17) Who reviews the standard, of ongoing professional development training for celebrants, including the content and the training providers.

1703  Senator Abetz: To ask the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy—With reference to question no. 55 taken on notice during the 2011-12 Supplementary Budget estimates hearing of the Environment and Communications Legislation Committee:

(1) Why are Licensed Post Offices still experiencing lengthy delays in the supply of stock.

(2) Why is Australia Post unable to provide delivery invoices with stock.

(3) Is Australia Post up to date with the processing of credits owed to licensees.

 

 1704  Senator Abetz: To ask the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy—With reference to Australia Post and the carriage of parcels by street mail contractors:

(1) Given that Australia Post claims that, due to declining letter volumes, street mail contractors have the capacity to deliver small parcels, how can Australia Post expect a street mail contractor, who tendered for the mail contract on the basis that he or she would be delivering letters, to be expected to carry parcels.

(2) Does Australia Post compensate parcel contractors for income lost as a result of parcels being allocated to street mail contractors.

1705  Senator Abetz: To ask the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy—With reference to the partnership between Rural Bank and Australia Post announced in 2011:

(1) How is this business partnership progressing.

(2) What are the benefits to: (a) Licensed Post Office operators; and (b) Rural Bank customers.

1706  Senator Abetz: To ask the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy—With reference to Australia Post and cheque payment fees:

(1) What is the current cost of processing a cheque.

(2) Why has Australia Post failed to advise all not-for-profit bodies that they are eligible for a waiver of the $100 cheque payment fee.

(3) Have not-for-profit bodies been charged the $100 fee on their most recent Australia Post account without indication that they are eligible for the fee to be waived.

1707  Senator Abetz: To ask the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy—With reference to Australia Post and the delivery of parcels:

(1) Given that, in the 2010-11 annual report, Australia Post reported a 5.3 per cent increase in revenue through the parcel delivery business, has there been any corresponding growth in the number of parcel contractors delivering for Australia Post.

(2) How does Australia Post determine when a delivery area will receive a dedicated parcel delivery service, where previously there may have been only a general street mail delivery service.

(3) How is Australia Post progressing in the delivery of overweight or oversized parcels, with particular regard to how these parcels are being handled in a manner that minimises the handling risks to licensees and contractors.

(4) Why does Australia Post accept large items, such as clothes dryers, washing machines or fridges, for delivery through the postal delivery network.

1708  Senator Abetz: To ask the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy—With reference to Messenger Post Couriers:

(1) What provision is there in the standard Messenger Post contract for variations due to increased fuel prices.

(2) How does Australia Post determine the labour rate paid to Messenger Post contractors.

 

 1709  Senator Abetz: To ask the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy—Can details be provided relating to how Australia Post recruits its Product Managers, including:

(a) whether positions are advertised;

(b) whether appointments are handled by an external recruitment agency; and

(c) how position descriptions are developed.

1710  Senator Abetz: To ask the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy—With reference to Australia Post and the engagement of external consultants:

(1) How much did Australia Post spend on consultants in the 2010-11 financial year, broken down by consulting firm.

(2) Why does Australia Post engage external consulting firms.

1711  Senator Abetz: To ask the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy—With reference to the engagement of legal services by Australia Post:

(1) How much did Australia Post spend on legal services from external law firms in the 2010-11 financial year, broken down by firm.

(2) Has Australia Post reduced staff numbers in its internal legal division; if so, can details be provided as to which staff members were cut, such as whether they were administrative staff or solicitors.

1712  Senator Abetz: To ask the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy—Has Australia Post reduced its corporate security personnel numbers; if so, why.

1713  Senator Abetz: To ask the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy—With reference to Messenger Post Couriers:

(1) Given that Messenger Post has previously advised its customers that it will raise rates due to fuel costs, has any such increase ever been passed on to Messenger Post’s contractors in the form of an increase in their contract fee.

(2) What is the standard length of contract offered to Messenger Post contractors.

(3) Has the Western Australia division of Messenger Post been without a Regional Manager for the past 12 months; if so: (a) has anyone been appointed to this position on a temporary basis; and (b) why has this position been vacant for so long.

(4) What scope does a new contractor have to negotiate the terms of their contract when in preliminary discussions with Messenger Post.

(5) How does Messenger Post allocate ‘ad hoc’ work to its contractors.

(6) What undertakings does Messenger Post give to incoming contractors based on anticipated workloads, and are any written estimates of work given to contractors.

(7) Has Messenger Post received any complaints from its contractors that the amount of available work has been misrepresented.

(8) What provision is there in a standard Messenger Post contract to allow for increases in operating costs (other than fuel costs).

 

 (9) What is the cause of the recently high turnover of contractors observed in the Western Australia division of Messenger Post.

1714  Senator Bob Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General—Will the 5 000 United States of America military personnel to be rotated through the bases in northern Australia be subject to Australian laws; if not, from which laws will the personnel be exempted.

1715  Senator Macdonald: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Defence—

(1) When will a response be provided to the recommendations of the Defence Honours and Awards Appeals Tribunal relating to the recognition of Royal Australian Air Force personnel who served at Ubon air base in Thailand between 1965 and 1968 with the award of the Vietnam Logistic and Support Medal.

(2) Given that the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator Feeney, was provided the relevant inquiry report on 24 February 2011, can an explanation be provided for the 12 month delay in the provision of a response.

(3) Will the recommendations of the Tribunal be accepted; if so, will Letters Patent be drafted in order to give effect to the recommendations.

(4) If the recommendations of the Tribunal will not be accepted, with which of the Tribunal’s conclusions does the Government disagree and why.

1716  Senator Milne: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency—With reference to a media release available on the department’s website, dated 10 December 2010, which states ‘To date, Australia has allocated A$473 million of its A$599 million fast-start commitment, including new funding allocations announced in Cancun. These include:

  • A$15 million to the Adaptation Fund
  • A$169 million in additional adaptation allocations under our International Climate Change Adaptation Initiative, with up to A$80 million to the Pacific and East Timor, up to A$25 million to Africa, up to A$44 million to Southeast Asia, and up to A$20 million to South Asia
  • A$32 million under Australia’s International Forest Carbon Initiative for additional REDD+ activities in Indonesia and globally
  • A$10 million to the Partnership for Market Readiness
  • A$10 million to the Climate Investment Fund’s Program on Scaling-up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries’.

(1) For each of the five funds or programs listed above, as well as any more recent climate finance related funds or programs, can a breakdown be provided detailing:

(a) the total expenditure, both to date and projected, by financial year; and

(b) what these funds have been or will be spent on.

(2) What evidence is there that this expenditure has not and will not displace overseas development assistance funding.

 

 1717  Senator Milne: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency—Given that the Government’s ‘Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership’ fact sheet states ‘Initial work will aim to avoid deforestation of 50,000 hectares of peat swamp forest and rehabilitate an additional 50,000 hectares of degraded peatland to create a buffer around the existing forest and reduce further degradation. These activities may be extended as other funding becomes available. The location and types of activities under the KFCP have been endorsed by Indonesia and Australia. Based on the original funding target of $100 million, the KFCP aims to preserve up to 70,000 hectares of Kalimantan’s peat swamp forests and to re-flood, rehabilitate and reforest 200,000 hectares of degraded peatland’:

(1) When was the Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership (KFCP) agreed to.

(2) How much money has been spent on the KFCP, and how much does the Government still expect to spend, listed per year over the forward estimates.

(3) How many hectares of deforestation have been: (a) avoided; and (b) rehabilitated.

(4) Does the Government still aim to achieve the goals described in the KFCP factsheet.

(5) Can an update be provided outlining the progress with the Sumatra Forest Carbon Partnership (SFCP) announced in March 2010.

(6) How much money has been spent on the SFCP, and how much does the Government still expect to spend, listed per year over the forward estimates.

1718  Senator Milne: To ask the Minister for Human Services ( transferred to the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs on 16 March 2012)

(1) Can a list be provided detailing those pensions and allowances for which payments from feed-in tariffs for household solar energy systems are considered income.

(2) For each of the payments identified in (1), can a detailed breakdown be provided of how each is deemed, including:

(a) how income from feed-in tariffs is identified;

(b) the dollar threshold per allowance or pension at which monies from feed-in tariffs is considered income; and

(c) at what ratio pensions or allowances are then deemed (for example, a $0.50 reduction in pension/allowance per $1 of feed-in tariff income).

(3) Is the Minister aware of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) private ruling number 88668; if so, how does this ATO ruling inform the deeming of pensions and allowances administered by the department.

1719  Senator Milne: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities— 

(1) Can details be provided of the budget allocations to the National Reserve System (NRS) for the financial years 2009-10, 2010-11, and 2011-12, and any forward estimates commitments for the coming financial years.

 

 (2) In the design of the operational detail of the Biodiversity Fund, how was the strategic program for the NRS factored in, for example, will priority be given to Biodiversity Fund project proposals that help create habitat corridors or buffer existing or proposed National Reserves.

(3) When are Natural Resource Management regions expected to have completed revisions to their regional strategic plans to reflect potential landscape carbon projects.

(4) How will the revised plans inform the first two rounds of funding under the Biodiversity Fund.

1720  Senator Waters: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities—With reference to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) notice to extend the EPBC assessment time of the Abbot Point Multi Cargo Facility (EPBC ref. 2009/4837):

(1) What further information has been requested of the proponents relating to the direct, consequential and cumulative impacts of the proposal.

(2) What is involved in the ‘cumulative coordinated impact assessment studies’ currently being undertaken by the proponent.