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Wednesday, 15 February 2017
Page: 1003

Presentation

Senator McKenzie, Senator Williams and Senator O'Sullivan to move:

That the Senate notes that:

(a) over many years, state and federal governments and local communities have seen the benefits of decentralisation through the relocation of government agencies to rural and regional areas;

(b) the New South Wales Nationals in government relocated the Department of Agriculture to Orange in 1992;

(c) the New South Wales Labor Government moved at least seven agencies from Sydney to a regional centre between 2000 and 2005;

(d) during that time the-then New South Wales Premier Mr Bob Carr confirmed that Labor was committed to relocating government jobs to rural and regional areas;

(e) the Victorian Labor Government relocated the Transport Accident Commission to Geelong in 2009, and has commenced relocating Worksafe Victoria to Geelong;

(f) the Keating Labor Government moved the Australian Securities and Investments Commission to Traralgon in the early 1990s;

(g) unlike its state and federal counterparts in previous years, the current Federal Labor Opposition does not show any interest in supporting the regions;

(h) the Australian Government is in the process of relocating several agencies, many to rural and regional areas, including:

   (i) the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to Armidale,

   (ii) the Grains Research and Development Corporation to Toowoomba, Dubbo, Perth and Adelaide,

   (iii) the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation to Wagga Wagga, and

   (iv) the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation to Adelaide;

(i) planning is underway for new regional offices of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority across New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia; and

(j) the movement of agricultural agencies to locations will result in unprecedented engagement with farmers, growers, scientists, research experts, business and the community in general.

Senator Gallagher to move:

That the following bill be introduced: A Bill for an Act to amend the law in relation to the costs of actions taken by persons who suffer loss or damage as a result of breaches of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, and for related purposes. Competition and Consumer Legislation Amendment (Small Business Access to Justice) Bill 2017.

Senator Di Natale to move:

That the following matter be referred to the Standing Committee of Senators' Interests for inquiry and report by 23 March 2017:

Whether the form of the register should be amended to include a declaration from senators as to whether they either:

(a) spend the money allocated to them known as an electorate allowance on their electorate and their electorate responsibilities, or

(b) take the money allocated to them known as an electorate allowance as a wage.

Senator Di Natale to move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) senators are paid an annual allowance of $32,000, known as an electorate allowance, and

   (ii) the purpose of this allowance is to cover expenses incurred by a senator in discharging their electoral responsibilities; and

(b) calls on all senators to commit to spending their electorate allowance on their electorate and their electorate responsibilities, rather than using it to top up their already generous salary.

Senator Watt to move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes the essential role of social security payments in the budgets of many struggling Australians and Australian families;

(b) notes the likely unfair impact on individual and family budgets of the Government's proposed cuts, including to Family Tax Benefits, Paid Parental Leave, Newstart, the Energy Supplement, the Pensioner Education Supplement and the Education Entry Payment, and to pensions of certain migrant pensioners;

(c) opposes the Government's proposed cuts, due to their unfair impact on individual and family budgets; and

(d) calls on the Government to scrap its proposed $50 billion tax cut for banks and other multinational companies, instead of making these harsh and unfair cuts to individual and family budgets.

Senator Hanson to move:

(1) That a select committee, to be known as the Select Committee on Lending to Primary Production Customers, be established to inquire into and report on the regulation and practices of financial institutions in relation to primary production industries, including agriculture, fisheries and forestry, with particular reference to:

(a) the lending, and foreclosure and default practices, including constructive and non-monetary default processes;

(b) the roles of other service providers to, and agents of, financial institutions, including valuers and insolvency practitioners, and the impact of these services;

(c) the appropriateness of internal complaints handling and dispute management procedures within financial institutions; and

(d) the appropriateness of loan contract terms particular to the primary production industries, including loan-to-value ratios and provision of reasonable written notice.

(2) That the committee present its final report on or before 18 October 2017.

(3) That the committee consist of seven senators:

(a) three nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate;

(b) two nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate;

(c) one nominated by the Leader of the Australian Greens; and

(d) one nominated by the Leader of Pauline Hanson's One Nation.

(4) That:

(a) participating members may be appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or any minority party or independent senator; and

(b) participating members may participate in hearings of evidence and deliberations of the committee, and have all the rights of members of the committee, but may not vote on any questions before the committee.

(5) That the presence of a quorum for the committee and any subcommittee be determined in accordance with the provisions of standing order 29.

(6) That the committee may proceed to the dispatch of business notwithstanding that not all members have been duly nominated and appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy.

(7) That the committee elect as chair the member nominated by the Leader of Pauline Hanson's One Nation and as deputy chair one of the members nominated by the Leader of Government in the Senate.

(8) That the deputy chair shall act as chair when the chair is absent from a meeting of the committee or the position of chair is temporarily vacant.

(9) That, in the event of an equality of voting, the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, have a casting vote.

(10) That the committee and any subcommittee have power to send for and examine persons and documents, to move from place to place, to sit in public or in private, notwithstanding any prorogation of the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives, and have leave to report from time to time its proceedings and the evidence taken and such interim recommendations as it may deem fit.

(11) That the committee be provided with all necessary staff, facilities and resources and be empowered to appoint persons with specialist knowledge for the purposes of the committee with the approval of the President.

(12) That the committee be empowered to print from day to day such papers and evidence as may be ordered by it, and a daily Hansard be published of such proceedings as take place in public.

Senator Kakoschke-Moore and Senator Lambie to move:

That the Family Law (Superannuation) (Provision of Information — Military Superannuation and Benefits Scheme) Amendment Determination 2016, made under the Family Law Act 1975, be disallowed.

Fifteen sitting days remain, including today, to resolve the motion or the instrument will be deemed to have been disallowed.

Senator Ludlam to move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

   (i) the deeply concerning United Nations report, released on 3 February 2017, documenting atrocities against the Rohingya people in Myanmar, based on interviews with Rohingya refugees fleeing their home country,

   (ii) that the Australian Government has a history of diplomatic and political influence in the region, and is therefore well-placed to play a role in resolving this escalating crisis, and

   (iii) that the Australian community is becoming more and more concerned about the human rights situation in Myanmar; and

(b) invites the Australian Government to consider:

   (i) calling on the Government of Myanmar to assert religious and ethnic equality of all people in Myanmar, including the persecuted Rohingya people in Rakhine State, and

   (ii) calling for a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into human rights abuses in Myanmar.

Senator Ludlam to move:

That—

(a) the Senate notes the failure to comply with the Senate orders for the production of documents agreed to on 13 February 2017 and 14 February 2017, relating to the Perth Freight Link;

(b) in order to investigate the subject of the Senate orders, the following matter be referred to the Environment and Communications References Committee for hearing on or before 24 February 2017 —The continuation of construction of the Perth Freight Link in the face of significant environmental breaches;

(c) it be an instruction to the committee that it hold at least one hearing in Perth; and

(d) the following witnesses be invited or, if necessary, required to appear and answer questions:

   (i) Department of the Environment and Energy compliance and environmental standards officers,

   (ii) the Minister for the Environment and Energy, Mr Josh Frydenberg,

   (iii) Federal Legal Counsel to the Minister and the Department,

   (iv) the Western Australian Minister for Environment, Mr Albert Jacob,

   (v) the Office of the Environmental Protection Authority, in particular, senior compliance managers Mr Ian Munro and Mr Paul Zahara,

   (vi) the proponent, Main Roads Western Australia,

   (vii) Leightons contractors,

   (viii) subcontractors completing the surveying work, fencing and trapping,

   (ix) witnesses who have directly documented breaches with federal approval conditions, and reported these to the minister, and

   (x) other witnesses as determined by the Environment and Communications References Committee.

Senator Watt to move:

That the Senate—

(a) requires that at its examination of the 2016-17 additional estimates on 2 March 2017, the Community Affairs Legislation Committee examine the Department of Human Services (Whole of Department—Corporate Matters and Outcome 1) prior to commencing any examination of the Department of Social Services; and

(b) notes that this requirement may be altered by unanimous agreement of voting members of the committee.

Senator Lambie and Senator Pratt to move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) pursuant to a decision of the 2016-17 Federal Budget, the Department of Social Services is currently undertaking a redesign of the Strengthening Communities Grants, to be known as the Strong and Resilient Communities Grants from 1 January 2018,

   (ii) the Strengthening Communities Grants currently provide around $18 million per year to projects which address disadvantage and build opportunity in communities around Australia,

   (iii) under the current Grants program, there is a specific funding stream for volunteer management programs, which in 2017 will fund volunteer support services in local communities to a total of around $7.4 million,

   (iv) the Department of Social Services has proposed that this volunteer management stream of grants funding will be abolished from 1 January 2018, meaning volunteer support services will be forced to compete with other worthwhile community services and removing any guarantee that they will be funded at all,

   (v) this is the latest reduction in funding allocated to volunteer management since the decision was made to transfer responsibility for volunteering from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to the Department of Social Services in 2014, a move which volunteering peak bodies and representatives opposed,

   (vi) the national peak body for volunteering, Volunteering Australia, states that this move will 'rip the heart out of local volunteer support services', organisations which play an important role in Australian communities by leading, enabling and building capacity to recruit and retain volunteers in a wide variety of organisations and services, from the human services and the arts to environmental, animal welfare and sporting groups,

   (vii) approximately 5.8 million Australians, or 31 per cent of the population, volunteer, with Dr Lisel O'Dwyer of Flinders University estimating their annual contribution to Australia as $290 billion,

   (viii) volunteering plays an important role in delivering the priorities of the Government, with volunteers contributing many thousands of hours per year to the aged care workforce, the disability services, schools and hospitals, art galleries, libraries and sporting clubs, and with volunteering often acting as a driver in bolstering economic participation, mitigating isolation and loneliness and increasing social inclusion and participation,

   (ix) while volunteering is defined as 'time willingly given, for the common good and without financial gain', it does not happen free, and requires the investment of resources in volunteer support services in order to maintain a professional, responsive and efficient volunteer workforce,

   (x) the withdrawal of funding to volunteer management services will threaten the viability of the thousands of volunteering organisations and will have a huge impact on the community; and

(b) calls on the Government to:

   (i) congratulate community-based volunteer support services for the work that they do to support strong, healthy and resilient Australian communities through an effective and professional volunteer workforce, and

   (ii) recognise the importance of funding volunteer management services and Volunteering Australia's campaign to retain funding for volunteer management as part of the Federal Budget.

Senator Xenophon to move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) dumping of imported goods on Australian shores puts the future of sustainable Australian manufacturing and agricultural production at risk,

   (ii) dumping of imported goods on Australian shores is harmful to Australian jobs throughout the entire supply chain and future economic diversity of the nation,

   (iii) the complexity and cost of Australia's anti-dumping system remains prohibitive to small and medium-sized manufacturers, especially at a time when Australian businesses are already suffering economic loss caused by dumped imports, and

   (iv) exporters and importers of dumped goods continue to circumvent anti-dumping measures causing Australian manufacturers further harm, placing further Australian jobs at risk and defrauding the Commonwealth of revenue; and

(b) calls on the Government to:

   (i) urgently introduce administrative reform to the Australian anti-dumping system to increase the effectiveness of the system with immediate focus on small and medium-sized businesses,

   (ii) immediately establish a joint taskforce between the Anti-Dumping Commission and the Australian Border Force to address the problem of circumvention of anti-dumping measures, and

   (iii) where countervailing measures are not successful, pursue illegal subsidy programs through the World Trade Organization disputes settlements process, and join as third-parties such disputes instituted by other member states.

Senator O'Sullivan, Senator Rice, Senator Bernardi, Senator Hanson, Senator Hinch and Senator Leyonhjelm to move:

That the following matter be referred to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee for inquiry and report by 30 June 2017:

The biosecurity risks associated with imports of seafood and seafood products, including, but not limited to, uncooked prawns and uncooked prawn meat into Australia, with particular reference to:

(a) the management of the emergency response measures implemented to control the outbreak of White Spot Syndrome Virus in the Logan and Albert river areas;

(b) the effectiveness of biosecurity controls imposed on the importation of seafood and seafood products, including, but not limited to, uncooked prawns and uncooked prawn meat into Australia, including the import risk analysis process concluded in 2009 that led to these conditions being established;

(c) the effectiveness of post-entry surveillance measures and 'end use' import conditions for seafood and seafood products, including, but not limited to, uncooked prawns and uncooked prawn meat into Australia, since the import conditions implemented in 2010 were put in place;

(d) the impact of the outbreak on the Australian prawn industry;

(e) domestic and foreign trade implications for Australian industries resulting from the suspension of importation of seafood and seafood products, including, but not limited to, uncooked prawns and uncooked prawn meat into Australia;

(f) the matters to be satisfied in the management of biosecurity risk before imports of seafood and seafood products, including, but not limited to, uncooked prawns and uncooked prawn meat into Australia, could recommence; and

(g) any related matters.

Senator Sterle to move—

That the following matter be referred to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee for inquiry and report:

The biosecurity risks associated with imports of seafood and seafood products, including, but not limited to, uncooked prawns and uncooked prawn meat into Australia, with particular reference to:

(a) the management of White Spot virus in Australia;

(b) the impact of the outbreak on Australia's wild and farm prawn sectors;

(c) the economic impact on Australian wholesalers and retailers;

(d) the adequacy and timeliness of the Commonwealth's response;

(e) the adequacy of Commonwealth resourcing of biosecurity measures, including Import Risk Assessments; and

(f) any related matters.