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Notice given 7 August 2001

3822  Senator Carr: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs—

(1) What level of consultation has the department entered into with peak education industry organisations when considering amendments to the regulations governing visas for overseas students wishing to study in Australia.

(2) More generally, what level of consultation did the department undertake with individual providers and agents when considering these changes.

(3) What complaints concerning the visa regulations have been registered from these bodies.

(4) To what extent were these addressed by the new regulations.

(5) What transitional arrangements have been put in place for students who commenced under the old regulations but who are now seeking to extend their studies under the new regulations.

(6) (a) Which students who are currently in Australia are now required to apply for new visas off-shore; and (b) how does this amend previous practice.

3823  Senator Carr: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs—

(1) How many students at Edith Cowan University have been threatened with visa cancellation and deportation by the department.

(2) How many students have been threatened with visa cancellation and deportation by the department.

(3) Have the requirements for fiduciary information from family bank accounts changed in regard to prospective students from India, China, Iran, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka; if so, in what ways.

(4) Does the department anticipate that the number of off-shore student visa applications from India, China, Iran, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka will increase or decline, and by what degree.

(5) What is the expectation in regard to the refusal rate as a result of the changes to visa regulations.

(6) (a) What was the rate of refusals for the countries for the 2000-01 financial year; and (b) what equivalent figures are projected for the 2001-02 and 2002-03 financial years.

(7) What is the projected increase or decrease in approvals for student visas from these countries.

3824  Senator Carr: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs—

(1) How many students have sought a change in visa status as a result of a change in their provider (please provide details for 2000 and for 2001).

(2) What is the most recent figure for on-shore students seeking an extension to their visas as a result of the non-completion of their course.

(3) How many of these applications have been granted.

(4) Over the past 3 years, how many students: (a) have entered Australia to study at a university and have subsequently changed their provider to another university; and (b) have changed to another category of provider altogether, eg. a VET college (please provide the answers to the highest level of detail).

3825  Senator Carr: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs—

(1) Have any educational agents either in Australia or overseas made any representation to the Government or to officers of the department concerning the new regulations; if so, what was the nature of these concerns.

(2) Is the Minister aware of recent media reports indicating concern that students are being re-directed to other countries as a result of these recent changes.

(3) Has any research been undertaken by the department into the impact on agents’ commissions as a result of changes to the visa regulations.

(4) Has any undertaking been entered into with any agents regarding maintenance of commission income.

(5) Will enforcement measures be directed at unregistered agents operating in Australia; if so, what measures are proposed.

3826  Senator Schacht: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Defence—With reference to the following exchange in an estimates hearing on 6 June 2001: Question: Why was material relating to allegations of a security breach destroyed. Answer: The DIO officer who made the allegations was physically located at a United States military base.  He told investigators that he decided it was best to destroy the DFAT AUSTEO cables, as he was unable to provide the required level of protection necessary for such documents.

(1) Does the department accept the DIO officer’s explanation that it was deemed best to destroy important documents due to insufficient security.

(2) What is the reason that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade cannot provide adequate security to protect AUSTEO Cables on the said United States military base.

(3) Has a review been carried out in order to determine whether the above situation is occurring elsewhere.

(4) Has the Government taken steps to ensure that this security deficiency will not occur again.

3827  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources—

(1) What is the $5 million Regional Minerals Development Program funding made available to Tasmania being spent on.

(2) Is $800 000 being used to do an environmental study of the north west industrial area near Port Latta.

(3) (a) What studies were done to determine that the site selected for the north west industrial area was potentially suitable for the purpose; (b) what was the total area investigated; (c) which other sites were considered; (d) what factors made the selected site the only one short-listed for further consideration; and (e) how much money was spent on these studies and when were they done.

(4) Is it usual for the Regional Minerals Development Program to fund detailed environmental studies of a single site for a proposal such as this.

(5) What analysis assured the Minister that spending $800 000 on environmental studies on this site alone did not risk the expenditure being a complete waste of money.

3828  Senator Brown: To ask the Special Minister of State—What correspondence has the Minister received or sent in relation to logging issues in Tasmania since 1 January 2001. In each case, what was the name of the correspondent, his or her organisation and position, the date of the correspondence and what did it deal with.

3829  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Heritage—

(1) What impact does the disposal of lithium batteries have on the environment.

(2) What do camera shops currently do with used batteries.

(3) (a) What program does the Government have to minimise the environmental impacts of lithium batteries; (b) is there a recycling program; and (c) is there a program to prevent used batteries being dumped.

3830  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister—

(1) (a) What is Australia’s program to prepare for the Rio+10 Summit in Johannesburg in 2002; and (b) what are the key dates and consultation procedures, both within Australia and within the Asia Pacific region.

(2) Has Australia appointed a national preparatory committee; if so: (a) who is on it; (b) how and when were they appointed; and (c) who do they represent and what are their qualifications.

(3) How is Australia’s national assessment report being prepared.