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Monday, 8 March 1999
Page: 2435


Senator O'Brien asked the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, upon notice, on 10 December 1998.

(1) Did the Bureau of Resource Sciences as part of its work program priority projects for the 1998-99 financial year engage Professor Snow Barlow to undertake a study entitled `Re-evaluation Rural Australia'.

(2) Did Professor Barlow investigate the effectiveness and efficiency of the various government programs offering farm assistance.

(3) (a) When did the study commence; and (b) when was it completed.

(4) (a) Which programs did Professor Barlow evaluate; (b) against what criteria was each program assessed; and (c) what was the outcome for each program.

(5) Can a copy be provided of Professor Barlow's report.


Senator Alston (Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) —The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's questions:

(1) The Bureau of Rural Sciences undertakes Priority Projects as part of its annual work program to provide integrated scientific advice to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—Australia. Professor Snow Barlow, a staff member of the Bureau of Rural Sciences, is overseeing a project entitled `Revaluing Rural Australia' in the 1998/99 financial year.

(2) The project aims to provide evidence on the potential for redevelopment and further development of Australia's rural regions. The project focuses on specifying biophysical and socio-economic parameters to identify opportunities for revaluing rural Australia. The project is not aimed at evaluating government programs.

(3) (a) the project commenced 1 July 1998 and (b) is due to be completed 30 June 1999.

(4) See (2). The project is not evaluating government programs.

(5) Discussion papers and maps will be available when the project is complete.