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Notice given 16 May 2002

317  Senator Ludwig: To ask the Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer—(a) How much revenue has been foregone to the Commonwealth through the non-payment of excise duty on fuel for the vessel CSL Pacific ; and (b) what is the total amount foregone by all foreign vessels operating on single or continuing voyage permits in each year since 1996.

318  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister representing the Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence—

(1) Can a copy be provided of the current exit survey form given to Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel, as well as those used in the past 3 years, if the questions asked have changed at all over this period.

(2) If the current attitudinal survey form asks any different questions to those in the past 3 years, can copies of the latter be provided.

(3) Are the same exit and attitudinal survey forms used across the ADF, or are they different for each service.

(4) Can copies be provided of the ‘executive summary’ (or similar type of document) of Defence’s attempt to analyse the results of exit and attitudinal survey responses for the past 3 years.

(5) Are all personnel leaving the ADF obliged to fill out an exit survey form (or similar document); if not, are any categories of personnel obliged to fill out exit surveys (for example, personnel from a certain category, such as all totally and permanently incapacitated personnel; all personnel who leave within 2 years of joining, etc) (please list the categories of personnel that are obliged to fill out exit surveys).

(6) Are attitudinal survey forms given to all ADF personnel, or only to particular groups selected within the ADF (please detail the selection or distribution criteria for these forms, and how often surveys are done).

(7) (a) Which part or parts of Defence currently construct, distribute, collect and analyse the data obtained from exit and attitudinal surveys; and (b) if this is different to the part or parts responsible for administering any stage of the survey process over the past 3 years, please list these as well.

(8) (a) How many ADF censuses have been conducted; and (b) when were they conducted.

(9) Can a copy be provided of the most recent census form circulated to ADF personnel, as well as copies of any ‘executive summary’ (or similar type of document) analysing the results of each of the censuses.

319  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister representing the Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence—

(1) For the 2000-01 financial year: (a) how much did it cost per permanent recruit to recruit him or her to the Australian Defence Force (ADF), including the total cost of: (i) advertising on all forms of recruitment (ie, brand, single and tri-service advertisements and marketing exercises), (ii) operating ADF career and call centres, and (iii) physical and psychological assessments pre-enlistment etc; and (b) what were the precise types of costs used to calculate this per person figure.

For this or any other part of this question for which particular cost types cannot be calculated, please specify what the cost relates to (ie, what goods, service, salary etc) and why it cannot be calculated.

(2) Can the same figures be provided for each financial year since 1995-96.

(3) For each financial year since, and including, 1998-99, what was the total cost (ie, including lease or building maintenance costs, salaries with on-costs of employees involved in relevant administration etc) to Defence of providing each of the following services: (a) ADF information/career centres; (b) call or inquiry centres; (c) promotional and information material about Defence jobs, other than direct advertising in the media; (d) compulsory screening and assessment procedures for potential ADF entrants; and (e) any other recruitment-related service.

(4) Can a list be provided of: (a) the location of all current ADF career and call centres; and (b) those that have either opened or closed since the 1998-99 financial year.

(5) What is the cost per trainee of training a permanent entrant to the ADF (broken down for each of the services) after each of the first, second, third and fourth years of service for: (a) officer employment groups; and (b) other rank employment groups (for the Navy, sailor employment groups and for the Air Force, airmen and airwomen employment groups).

(6) What is the cost per trainee of training the following specific employment groups: (a) pilot (Navy); (b) weapons electrical aircraft engineering (Navy); (c) operator special vehicle-engineer (Army); (d) air traffic control (Air Force); and (e) communications electronics (Air Force).

(7) With reference to the May 2001 Defence submission to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee which indicates that, in general terms, fixed Return of Service Obligation (ROSO) has been replaced with a ROSO determined proportionally to the training investment: (a) can the figures on which the various ROSO levels are currently based be provided (that is, the calculation of the training investment for each category of entrant to the three services); and (b) can these figures be provided in tabular and formulaic form, if available.

(8) Can information be provided on the length of service of each permanent member of the ADF who separated from each of the services since the 1998-99 financial year, setting out how many in each service left: (a) before completing 12 months of service; (b) between 12 and 24 months of service; (c) between 24 and 48 months of service; and (d) above 4 years of service.

320  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister representing the Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence—

(1) (a) How many injuries were there in each of the services in the past 3 years; (b) for each year since 1998, how many individuals in the Navy, Army and Air Force were injured (separately for each service, and for permanent personnel and reserves); and (c) can these figures be broken down into the types of injury (for example, muscular strain, fractured bone, ligament damage, tropical diseases contracted).

(2) For each of the injury types identified in (1): (a) what is the average length of rehabilitation (using approximate figures based upon standard medical advice for treating the type of injury, if there are no statistics on actual rehabilitation periods experienced by Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel); and (b) for how many days on average is a serviceman or woman with that type of injury unable to engage in military training, and/or perform their regular job.

(3) How many personnel in each year since 1998 separated from the ADF indicating injury as the sole or main reason for separation (please list separately voluntary and involuntary separations).

(4) What is the system within Defence for recording injuries in the ADF (for instance, who is responsible for reporting injuries to an individual in a unit to what level in the chain of command, is there an administrative area responsible for collecting health and injury records of personnel, etc).

(5) For each year from 1998, how many injuries immediately or ultimately led to members being classed as Totally and Permanently Incapacitated.

(6) Has there been analysis done of the costs to Defence of injuries, both in terms of actual medical costs and costs involved in a member being unable to perform their regular duties for a period of time.

(7) (a) How often is such an analysis conducted; (b) when was it last done; and (c) can a copy of the most recent analysis be provided; if there is no such document, can a 2-3 page summary of ADF performance in this area over the past few years be provided, including trends and issues of concern.

(8) With reference page 327 of the Defence Annual Report 2000-01 which states that a report was commissioned to look into the management reporting requirements needed by senior executives, commanders and managers from the Defcare system: (a) what changes were recommended in the report; and (b) what are the outcomes.

(9) With reference to page 329 of the Defence Annual Report 2000-01 which notes that certain organisational changes left personnel uncertain as to who should report and when: (a) were these changes within Defence or Comcare; and (b) what was the nature of the changes.

(10) For each year from 1998 onwards can the following information be provided: (a) the workers’ compensation premiums paid to cover the costs of injuries sustained in the ADF; (b) how much was spent in the ADF on occupational health and safety training and education and other injury prevention initiatives; (c) how many personnel were receiving ongoing compensation payments as a result of an injury sustained in the ADF (indicating the total amount paid to these people); and (d) how much in total was paid by Defence to people in the form of compensation for injuries sustained in the ADF.

321  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister for Defence—With reference to the sale of Defence assets, the Government’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) document for the 2001-02 financial year indicates that since the 2001-02 Budget there was a decision made to sell additional Defence assets (see attachment B of the MYEFO document, page 33):

(1) (a) Can the Minister confirm that the MYEFO indicates that an additional $74 million will be returned to the Government in the 2001-02 financial year through the sale of excess property, and sale and lease-back arrangements; (b) when was this decision taken; and (c) can a list be provided of the additional properties to be sold.

(2) (a) Can the Minister confirm that the MYEFO indicates that an additional $272 million will be returned to the Government in the 2002-03 financial year through the sale of excess property, and sale and lease-back arrangements; (b) when was this decision taken; and (c) can a list be provided of the additional properties to be sold.

(3) (a) Can the Minister confirm that the MYEFO indicates that an additional $166 million will be returned to the Government in the 2003-04 financial year through the sale of excess property, and sale and lease-back arrangements; (b) when was this decision taken; and (c) can a list be provided of the additional properties to be sold.

(4) (a) Can the Minister confirm that the MYEFO indicates that an additional $166 million will be returned to the Government in the 2004-05 financial year through the sale of excess property, and sale and lease-back arrangements; (b) when was this decision taken; and (c) can a list be provided of the additional properties to be sold.

(5) (a) Can the Minister explain why the amounts shown in the 2001-02 Defence Additional Estimates Statements, released after the MYEFO, show no increase in the projected proceeds from asset sales to the Government for the 2003-04 and 2004-05 financial years, when compared with the 2001-02 Defence Budget Statement; and (b) why were the measures included in the MYEFO not reflected in the Additional Estimates Statements.

322  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister for Defence—With reference to project Sea 1229:

(1) (a) Has the Nulka System been fully accepted into service; and (b) can the Minister confirm that the target date for full acceptance was the end of 2001, as noted on the Defence Materiel Organisation website.

(2) If full acceptance has not been achieved: (a) why not; and (b) when is it anticipated that it will be fully accepted into service.

(3) Have there been any additional costs associated with the process of fully accepting the system, for example, modifications required to the ship or system.

(4) If fully accepted, is the Nulka System now fully meeting all requirements in the Detailed Operational Requirement.

(5) In terms of phases 2 and 3 of this project, what is the total contracted price for installing the Nulka System on all frigates.

(6) To date, what has been spent on: (a) phase 1 of the project; and (b) phases 2 and 3 of the project.

(7) Has the Nulka System been installed on all three commissioned Anzac frigates; if not, when will all Anzac frigates have this system installed.

323  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister for Defence—With reference to project Sea 1431:

(1) (a) When were the four ‘attrition’ Seahawks purchased under project 1308; and (b) when were they delivered.

(2) What was the cost of each of these helicopters.

(3) What was the rationale of purchasing four helicopters without the logistic support to use them.

(4) Were these four attrition helicopters exactly the same as the other Seahawk helicopters used by the Royal Australian Navy; if not, what modifications or equipment differences exist between these four helicopters and the other Seahawks.

(5) Prior to the implementation of project Sea 1431 were these four helicopters flown; if so, for how many hours.

(6) (a) What was the total cost of storing the four helicopters at Nowra prior to Sea 1431; and (b) how many people were employed to maintain these helicopters while stored.

(7) Does this project now allow the four helicopters to be fully used in addition to the existing capability.

(8) (a) What was the total funding for project Sea 1431; and (b) what was the funding for its first year and each subsequent year.

(9) When did this project commence.

(10) Is it still due to be completed in mid-2002; if not: (a) what is the new completion date; and (b) what were the causes for the delay.

324  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister for Defence—With reference to project Sea 1390 and the 2001-02 Additional Estimates Statement which indicates that there are delays with the FFG upgrade program:

(1) What are the reasons for the delays.

(2) What is the latest estimate on: (a) when the first ship will commence the upgrade program; and (b) when the last ship will complete the upgrade program.

(3) Are there any costs associated with these delays; if so, what is the latest estimate of those costs.

(4) Under the contract is the Government liable for any increased costs due to the delays.

(5) (a) What impact does the delay have on the capability of the FFGs; (b) are the ships as they are currently configured more vulnerable to attack; and (c) does this have implications for the deployment of the ships on operations, including in the Persian Gulf.

(6) (a) Given that the Defence Materiel Organisation website notes that the combat system is expensive to maintain due to its age, what are the additional costs associated with the continued maintenance of the existing combat systems during the delayed start to the project; and (b) will the Government pay these costs.

325  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister for Defence—With reference to Seasprite helicopters:

(1) Have any payments been made to Kaman in 2002; if so, can the Minister indicate: (a) the type of payment made; (b) the date; and (c) the value of the payment.

(2) In terms of the service contract: (a) what payments were made to Kaman; (b) on what date; and (c) what was the value of the payments.

(3) The Defence Annual Report 2001-02 notes that 805 Squadron has been ‘commissioned’: (a) when was this squadron commissioned; and (b) have any personnel been assigned to the squadron; if so, how many (or does it exist as a notional unit).

(4) Has a facility been established to house the squadron.

(5) To date, what has been the full cost of funding the squadron, that is, all personnel costs, administration costs, supplier costs, and facility costs.

(6) Is the principal role of this squadron to fly the Seasprite helicopters.

(7) When was the Chief Petty Officer assigned to the integrated service team for the Seasprite (as indicated in an answer to a question at Senate estimates hearings).

327  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister for Defence—

(1) What are the initiatives funded under the $507 million allocated for the implementation of the White Paper in the 2001-02 financial year.

(2) With reference to the $507 million, for each initiative, what is the projected expenditure for the 2001-02 financial year.

(3) If there is a shortfall between the $507 million and the projected expenditure, what is the explanation for the shortfall.

(4) For each initiative can the Minister indicate whether its implementation is on schedule, completed, delayed or halted; if delayed or halted, can an explanation be provided as to why.

(5) Given that the Defence Annual Report notes that the quarterly reports on the implementation of the White Paper are provided to the Minister, can a copy of each of these reports be provided.

328  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister for Defence—With reference to the Defence Annual Report which notes that in the 2000-01 financial year, the Government made a decision to accelerate $190 million of capital works projects:

(1) (a) What projects were funded as a result of this decision; (b) what funding was allocated to each project; and (c) where the project involved a base facility, what was the name of the facility.

(2) When was the decision to accelerate this funding made.

(3) Why was this funding accelerated.

329  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister for Defence—On 8 May 2002, the Secretary of Defence indicated that the senior leadership in the department get a monthly briefing on the top 20 capital projects and others of ‘significant concern’: can a copy of these briefings for each of the months in 2002 to date be provided.

330  Senator West: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government—

(1) How much money has been allocated from the Regional Solutions Program as at 30 May 2002.

(2) Of this amount: (a) how much has been allocated to each federal electorate; and (b) which party represents each of these electorates.

(3) For each federal electorate: (a) how much was allocated in the 2000-01 financial year; and (b) how much has been allocated in the 2001-02 financial year.

(4) How much money has been allocated for projects that extend across federal electorate boundaries in each of these years.

(5) What has been the length of time taken to process applications.

(6) Have there been any delays in the processing of applications.

331  Senator Bartlett: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Heritage—

(1) What prosecution action, if any, did Environment Australia take in relation to the culling of Spectacled Flying Foxes by Rohan Bosworth in November-December 2000.

(2) If no action was taken, in light of the Federal Court’s finding that in the order of 18 000 Spectacled Flying Foxes were culled and that this had a significant impact on the world heritage values of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, why was no enforcement action taken.

(3) In light of the finding of significant impact by the Federal Court, what was the basis for the decision to assess the permit based on preliminary information and not a more rigorous assessment such as an environmental impact assessment.

(4) Is it not the case that granting an approval to Rohan Bosworth to cull 5 500 Spectacled Flying Foxes in 2002 (EPBC Referral 2002/571) would effectively be an open licence to cull unlimited Spectacled Flying Foxes, as the total of 5 500 could not be enforced in any practical term.

333  Senator Cook: To ask the Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer—With reference to the settlement offers sent to investors in mass-marketed tax effective schemes by the Commissioner of Taxation recently:

(1) What is the Commissioner’s estimate of the number of taxpayers who will take up the settlement offer.

(2) How many taxpayers have already taken up the settlement offer.

(3) What is the Commissioner’s estimate of the number of taxpayers who will accept the offer at the different levels of settlement.

(4) Excluding film investors, what portion of overall taxpayers involved does this figure represent.

(5) As taxpayers are required to declare the level of cash contributions made to their project and then send this declaration back to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) for verification, what are the specific costs that have been incurred to date and are forecast for the next 12 months in finalising the settlement amount for each investor.

(6) When does the ATO anticipate that the process of assessing each offer will be completed.

(7) What is the estimated level of staff required for this process.

(8) Has the Commissioner investigated the potential effect of an option for taxpayers to have a discount for up-front payment of the settlement amount rather than spread the payment over the possible 2-year interest-free period; if so, what are his findings.

(9) Have estimates been made for default amongst taxpayers who take up the offer; if so, what are those estimates: (a) by number of taxpayers; (b) by amounts of original disputed debt; and (c) by amounts of settlement debt.

(10) Will the Commissioner follow through on his documented right (contained on the settlement deed) to re-activate the original disputed debt, including penalties and interest if a taxpayer defaults on the payment of the settlement amount; if so, what criteria would be used in determining the actions and the taxpayers against whom the action would be taken.

(11) With reference to the methodology of the current settlement offer: (a) how can the Commissioner remain in compliance with the law by offering a deduction for an amount (as in the Budplan case) that has been determined by a court to be non-deductible; (b) what are the legislative changes that have been made which enable deductibility to be a discretionary allowance; and (c) as the usual settlement process is that the Commissioner may concede items as deductible where there is doubt or ambiguity, what are the provisions in legislation which enable the Commissioner to allow deductions for amounts that are not deductible where (as in the Budplan case) that doubt and ambiguity was removed both by the Federal Court ruling and the plaintiffs’ failure to appeal.

(12) As a consequence of the Commissioner’s decision to tie the settlement offer to cash contributions made rather than a fixed percentage of either the original deduction claimed or the resulting amended assessment: is it the case that several thousand investors in film projects are returned to virtually the same financial position (some are given a further deferral) they held when they commenced the alleged tax mischief; if so, why has the Commissioner decided to disadvantage a large group of taxpayers in such a way whilst advantaging the remainder to a significant extent.

(13) Given that the first report of the Economics References Committee inquiry into mass-marketed tax effective investments documented serious failings in the ATO management of the legislation affecting these projects and the way the ATO went about auditing promoters, drawing conclusions, advising taxpayers, amending their assessments and attempting to collect disputed tax: (a) will the ATO take account of its mishandling (at whatever stage of the process) and offer further settlement allowances to bring the matter to a close in a fairer and more equitable manner; and (b) what is the estimated liability to the Commonwealth to claims for compensation due to the conduct of the ATO as documented in the report, or future adverse court decisions on projects for which taxpayers have not settled.

(14) With reference to the recommendation contained in Senator Murphy’s minority report that, due to the ambiguity and inequity of the ATO’s position and conduct, the Government should instruct the ATO to withdraw from the dispute and cease all legal, settlement and collection activity: (a) has the Commissioner considered this view; and (b) why does the current level of settlement offered not include any allowance for ATO mishandling.

(15) (a) Is it the case that in September-October 2001 Deputy Commissioner Peter Smith received legal advice from the Australian Government Solicitor that the Commissioner could not exclude one or more taxpayers (the Budplan plaintiffs) from a global settlement offer; and (b) what is the Commissioner’s legal justification for excluding one group of taxpayers from the settlement offer.

(16) Has the Commissioner considered the potential costs of maintaining this position if challenged; and, if so, what are those costs.

(17) In the case of his broad-brush exclusion of tax agents, advisers and planners from the waiver of penalties and interest, along with the 2-year interest-free payment period, has the Commissioner considered the course of providing the Australian Securities and Investments Commission with details of advisers it feels may have breached statutory and/or professional standards.

(18) What considerations is the Commissioner using to justify his specific exclusion against tax agents, advisers and planners.

(19) (a) Has the Commissioner taken into account the financial consequences of this exclusion on tax agents, advisers and planners; and (b) are those consequences negative or positive to the revenue.

(20) How does the Commissioner justify the consequence that advisers who sold investments in schemes but did not personally invest in them are not affected, disadvantaged or penalised in any way by the settlement process and are free to continue their activity without consequence.

(21) (a) Has the Commissioner taken into account the view of the Commonwealth Ombudsman that the ATO has breached the Taxpayers’ Charter in its dealings with investors in these products; (b) is he prepared to compensate them for this breach; and (c) if this has been considered, what is the estimated cost of such a remedy.

(22) Is the Commissioner prepared to accept a responsibility for this breach by reducing the amount of the settlement offer.

(23) Given the serious nature of these outstanding issues, as well as pending court decisions and cases already listed for hearing in June 2002, will the Commissioner immediately suspend the deadline for acceptance of the settlement offer until these matters are resolved.