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23 May 2011

374  MR CHRISTENSEN: To ask the Assistant Treasurer—

(1) What is the status of the investigation by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) into allegations of impropriety surrounding Australian Property Custodian Holding Limited (APCH) and its management of the Prime Retirement and Aged Care Property Trust (PRACPT).

(2) Can he provide the findings (to date) of the investigation.

(3) By when will the investigation conclude, and the outcome be made public.

(4) What assurance can he provide that (a) this matter will be treated seriously and investigated thoroughly by ASIC, irrespective of whether or not PRACPT is still a solvent entity, (b) individuals associated with APCH will be penalised and/or prosecuted to the full extent of the law if ASIC determines its actions in managing PRACPT were criminal and/or negligent, and (c) funds will be tracked down and seized to repay PRACPT if it is determined by ASIC that illegal transactions were made on its behalf by APCH.

377  MR COBB: To ask the Treasurer—

(1)  Why did he make the announcement for the blocking of the Australian Stock Exchange Ltd, but left it to Cargill International to tell Australia it had been approved in its takeover of AWB Ltd.

(2) Is it a fact that the Government has placed no conditions on the sale of AWB Ltd to Cargill International.

(3) Can Cargill International refuse to accept grain for other buyers at its sites; if so, how will the Government tackle regional monopolies with farmers restricted by freight, from accessing competition.

(4) What mechanisms are in place to ensure continued competition in this sector, given the Cargill International takeover of AWB Ltd has resulted in a reduction from three to two companies co-owning the Australian flour mills.

(5) What processes are in place to consider the cumulative impacts of foreign takeovers, in particular industries along the supply chain, that over time may change the nature of foreign ownerships from a competitive market to a monopoly or near monopoly arrangement.

(6) Were such cumulative impacts considered in the case of Cargill International’s takeover of AWB Ltd; if so, how.