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Thursday, 29 November 2012
Page: 10265


Senator SIEWERT (Western AustraliaAustralian Greens Whip) (15:47): by leave—I move Australian Greens amendments (1) and (3) on sheet 7294 revised 2 together:

(1) Clause 2, page 2 (table item 1), omit "3", substitute "4".

(3) Page 2 (after line 11), after clause 3, insert:

4 National wheat industry advisory taskforce to be established

The Minister must cause to be established a wheat industry advisory taskforce by no later than 5 February 2013.

I will try and move through these amendments quickly, because I know we have a short amount of time. These amendments relate to the wheat industry advisory task force. As I articulated in my speech on the second reading , the Greens have spent a lot of time consulting and talking to people about the bill. We indicated during my speech on the second reading that without these amendments the Greens would not be supporting the bill. We recognise there are still some issues that need to be resolved in the full deregulation of this market. There are still issues around access to stocks information, there are still issues around wheat quality and there are other issues around the efficiency and effectiveness of the market.

We then decided it would be a good idea if there were an expert body established—an advisory task force—to specifically look at these issues. These are the issues that were identified in the dissenting report that was put in to the inquiry on this bill. The letters that I tabled in the chamber yesterday—a series of three letters—clearly articulate the purpose of this advisory group and the way they will report the issues around independence, transparency and all those sorts of things. What I want to do, though, is ask a question of the minister on this. I realise that advisers are not here yet.

Senator Wong interjecting

The CHAIRMAN: Just a moment. People cannot speak without getting permission from the chair. That is the first issue. Secondly, Senator Siewert was just ensuring, Minister, that you were listening.

Senator Wong: She asked me a question.

The CHAIRMAN: But Senator Siewert has not concluded. You have concluded?

Senator SIEWERT: No, sorry.

The CHAIRMAN: I did not think you had.

Senator SIEWERT: I was going to ask a question, but I realised—and I was not trying to be rude—that there was no point in me asking the question without actually having someone able to hear. I also appreciate that the advisers are not here yet. My question relates to the independence of this task force. I understand that, through the correspondence, the minister has agreed to the points that we have been discussing. However, I want to clarify and make absolutely sure that it is the government's understanding that this advisory body will be as independent as possible both from the minister and from DAFF.

The CHAIRMAN: Do you want to take further questions first, Minister? Senator Nash was going to get to her feet. It might assist you with the advisers on the way.