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Monday, 9 December 2002
Page: 7526


Senator O'Brien asked the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, upon notice, on 7 November 2002:

(1) When did the Minister determine to outsource the administration of the National Food Industry Strategy to National Food Industry Limited.

(2) When was the company established.

(3) What is the structure of the company.

(4) What is the role of the company.

(5) What premises does the company occupy.

(6) What public funding will the company receive.

(7) What measures are in place to ensure accountability for public expenditure.

(8) What role does the department have in the implementation of the National Food Industry Strategy.


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

(1) The Government decided to outsource the administration of the National Food Industry Strategy to National Food Industry Strategy Ltd (NFIS Ltd) on 14 April 2002.

(2) The company Supermarket to Asia Ltd was established on 1 November 1996 and it was renamed “National Food Industry Strategy Ltd”, with a new constitution, on 2 September 2002.

(3) The structure of the company is a company limited by guarantee.

(4) The role of the company is set out in the company's constitution as follows:

“2. OBJECTS

2.1 The objects for which the Company is established are to promote, develop and implement strategies (including the National Food Industry Strategy) to ensure the Australian Food Industry continues to provide significant contributions to Australian economic growth, exports, employment and investment, and without limitation to:

(Science, Technology, Education & Training)

(a) assist in making Australia a recognised centre for innovation in food product, process and systems development, anticipating and meeting consumer needs and attracting follow through investment;

(Exports)

(b) assist in growing Australian Food Industry exports, enabling Australian Food Industry participants to optimise opportunities for profitability, investment and employment;

(Business Environment)

(c) assist in creating a globally competitive business operating environment for the Australian Food Industry to enhance competitiveness and improved food industry investment;

(Environmental Sustainability)

(d) assist in promoting growth in the Australian Food Industry through ensuring long term resource availability and responsible management of environment, energy and waste support; and

(Incidental Objects)

(e) undertake anything incidental to any of the above objects.”

(5) The company occupies premises located at 3rd floor, Boeing House, 55 Blackall Street, Barton ACT.

(6) The company will receive up to $76.5 million of Commonwealth funding under the National Food Industry Strategy, over the financial years 2002/03 to 2006/07.

(7) The contract between NFIS Ltd and the Commonwealth has been developed after extensive consultation with legal and audit experts and with the advice and approval of the Department of Finance and Administration.

(8) The role of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in the implementation of the National Food Industry Strategy is as follows:

(a) Management of the outsourced contractual arrangements with NFIS Ltd;

(b) Management of three NFIS programs which involve government to government negotiations (Technical Market Access Program, International Food Standards program and Food Safety and Quality Assurance program);

(c) Support for the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry as Chair of the National Food Industry Council; and

(d) The Secretary of the Department is also a member of the National Food Industry Council and other senior executives of the Department are members of its sub-committees.