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Tuesday, 15 October 2002
Page: 5217


Senator O'Brien asked the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, upon notice, on August 8 2002:

(1) Does the Minister support the National Drought Strategy's underlying principle of promoting self-reliance and risk management capability.

(2) Has the Minister, or his office, received a copy of the review of the Climate Variability in Agriculture Program (CVAP), prepared by Hassall & Associates and released in April 2002.

(3) When did the Minister, or his office, receive a copy of the report.

(4) Has the Minister made a formal response to the report?

(5) Is the Minister aware the report recommends the extension of funding for the CVAP with a focus on the adoption of climate variability risk management and CVAP tools?

(6) Is the Minister aware the report finds that, without additional funding for the purpose of refining and promoting the adoption of current CVAP tools, there is the prospect that the return on funds already invested in the program will not be fully realised.

(7) Does the Minister agree with the view of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry that climatic risk is the most significant uncertainty facing Australian farmers, and CVAP has a major role to play in funding and promoting better forecasting systems and better ways of using those forecasts.

(8) What funding has been allocated to the CVAP through the Agriculture Advancing Australia initiative in the following financial years: (a) 1997-98; (b) 1998-99; (c) 1999-2000; (d) 2000-01; (e) 2001-02; and (f) 2002-03.


Senator Ian Macdonald (Minister for Forestry and Conservation) —The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Yes.

(2) The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and his office have received briefings on the progress of the Hassall & Associates review, but have not received a formal copy of this report. The report forms only one part of an overall evaluation of the CVAP being undertaken by the Department that is expected to be completed shortly and provided to the Minister.

(3) See answer to 2 above.

(4) The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry will respond to the full evaluation of the CVAP when it is completed, and not to individual elements of the evaluation.

(5) Yes.

(6) Before any future investment can be considered the Commonwealth and the Minister will be carefully assessing any research proposals to ensure that the Commonwealth continues to get the best return for its money.

(7) The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry agrees that climatic risk is one of the most significant uncertainties facing Australian farmers and that CVAP has made a valuable contribution by improving and promoting climate forecasting systems and by developing tactical, industry specific tools.

(8) The funding allocation to CVAP through the Agriculture Advancing Australia initiative is as follows:

(a) 1997- 98 - $1.5 million

(b) 1998- 99 - $0.4 million

(c) 1999- 00 - $1.1 million

(d) 2000- 01 - $0.5 million

(e) 2001- 02 - no allocation

(f) 002- 03 - no allocation