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Notice given 11 July 2002

450  Senator Harris: To ask the Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer—

(1) Is it a fact that loans to investors in the Active Cattle project were found by the Federal Court never to have been made.

(2) Is the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) now a shareholder in Active Cattle on the basis that tax has nevertheless been levied on the loan amounts as income in the hands of the project manager, and could not be paid.

(3) Is the ATO still the largest creditor of the Australian Tea Tree Oil Research Institute, even though the Federal Court found in the Phai See case that the Australian Research and Development Board had wrongly decided that the institute did not qualify as a research institute, and hence it was actually entitled to tax exempt status.

451  Senator Harris: To ask the Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer—

(1) Is it the case that it was possible up until 30 June 2002 to invest in an existing infrastructure bond, relinquished by another investor, through the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) or Westpac.

(2) Did that investment, by offering a large loan, potentially allow an upfront tax deduction such that the cash amount contributed was exceeded by the tax refund and hence would confer a tax benefit.

(3) Was that loan non-recourse, and for a term of as little as one year.

(4) Did the loan which could be taken out actually include an amount to be paid tax free to the investor as interest on the loan at the end of 12 months.

(5) Is it the case that the Economics References Committee inquiry into mass-marketed tax effective schemes was told by First Assistant Commissioner, Mr Peter Smith, that some of these infrastructure borrowings could fall under Part IVA of the Income Tax Assessment Act.

(6) Has any action been taken by the Australian Taxation Office to investigate whether Part IVA applies to the infrastructure bonds offered in 2002 to investors by the CBA and Westpac.

452  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—Can the following information be provided:

(1) The level of funding provided by the Commonwealth for each of the past 10 financial years for research and development specifically aimed at increasing efficiency or profitability in Australian agricultural sectors.

(2) The level of funding provided by the Commonwealth to each state and territory government for each of the past 10 financial years for research and development specifically aimed at increasing efficiency or profitability in Australian agricultural sectors.

(3) The level of funding provided by the Commonwealth to private or listed companies for each of the past 10 financial years for research and development specifically aimed at increasing efficiency or profitability in Australian agricultural sectors.

(4) The names of the five companies that have received the most Commonwealth funding over the past 10 financial years, and the quantum of funding each received for each of the past 10 financial years, for research and development specifically aimed at increasing efficiency or profitability in Australian agricultural sectors.

(5) The five specific agricultural industries that have received the most Commonwealth funding over the past 10 financial years, and the quantum of funding directed at each specific agricultural industry for each of the past 10 financial years, for research and development specifically aimed at increasing efficiency or profitability in Australian agricultural sectors.

453  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—

(1) What is the current process by which the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) or other relevant agency supplies and verifies Australian quarantine seals and health certificates to Australian exporters of meat (including poultry, beef, pork, lamb and other livestock).

(2) How many people are involved in this process.

(3) What is the proposed new process involving enhanced security features by which AQIS or other relevant agency will supply and verify Australian quarantine seals and health certificates to Australian exporters of meat, (including poultry, beef, pork, lamb and other livestock).

(4) How many people are expected to be involved in this process.

(5) What testing will be undertaken for this new process.

(6) When will the new process be fully operational.

(7) Since 1 January 2000, how many departmental staff (or former staff) have been interviewed by various police forces, departments of public prosecution, the Australian Taxation Office, the Australian Customs Service, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or Austrade (or their then equivalent agencies) in relation to the issue of the trade of non-Australian produced meat being sold under forged Australian quarantine seals and health certificates.

(8) Since 1 January 2000, how many other Commonwealth staff (or former staff) have been interviewed by various police forces, departments of public prosecution, the Australian Taxation Office, the Australian Customs Service, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade or Austrade (or their then equivalent agencies) in relation to the issue of the trade of non-Australian produced meat being sold under forged Australian quarantine seals and health certificates.

(9) How many such staff (or former staff) have been charged with an offence in relation to this matter and at which agencies were they working at the time of their alleged offence.

(10) How many such staff (or former staff) have been convicted of an offence in relation to this matter and at which agencies were they working at the time of the offence.

454  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—

(1) What is the total quantum of Commonwealth funding expended on the project to develop the Optim fibre.

(2) Does the Commonwealth expect to recoup its investment in Optim fibre; if so, over what period of time.

(3) What is the quantum of investment provided to the project by Woolmark.

(4) What modelling has been done to ensure that Optim will not ‘cannibalise’ the traditional domestic and international markets of traditionally-grown and harvested Australian wool.

(5) What is the quantum of international marketing support to be provided by the Commonwealth to the Optim project for each of the next 5 financial years.

(6) What is the quantum of domestic marketing support to be provided by the Commonwealth to the Optim project for each of the next 5 financial years.

(7) What is the quantum of international marketing support to be provided by the Commonwealth to the traditionally-grown and harvested wool industry for each of the next 5 financial years.

(8) What is the quantum of domestic marketing support to be provided by the Commonwealth to the traditionally-grown and harvested wool industry for each of the next 5 financial years.

455  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—Can the following information be provided:

(1) The level of direct funding provided by the Commonwealth Government for each of the past 5 financial years for diagnostic testing of suspected diseased animal samples for the purpose of detecting and preventing the spread of contagious disease in livestock.

(2) The level of funding provided by the Commonwealth to each state and territory government for each of the past 5 financial years for diagnostic testing of suspected diseased animal samples for the purpose of detecting and preventing the spread of contagious disease in livestock.

(3) The level of funding provided by the Commonwealth to private or listed companies for each of the past 5 financial years for diagnostic testing of suspected diseased animal samples for the purpose of detecting and preventing the spread of contagious disease in livestock.

(4) The names of the five companies that have received the most Commonwealth funding over the past 5 financial years, and the quantum of funding each received for each of the past 5 financial years, for the purpose of detecting and preventing the spread of contagious disease in livestock.

(5) The level of funding provided by the Commonwealth Government to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Australian Animal Health Laboratory for each of the past 5 financial years for the purpose of detecting and preventing the spread of contagious disease in livestock.

456  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Heritage—

(1) What was the total quantum of Commonwealth funding expended for each of the past 5 financial years on the study of the potential effects of climate change on the Australian livestock industry.

(2) What was the total quantum of Commonwealth funding expended for each of the past 5 financial years on the study of the potential effects of climate change on the Australian grains industry.

(3) What is the total projected quantum of Commonwealth funding for each of the next 5 financial years on the study of the potential effects of climate change on the Australian grains industry.

(4) What is the total projected quantum of Commonwealth funding for each of the next 5 financial years on the study of the potential effects of climate change on the Australian livestock industry.

(5) What are the highest ten potential disease risks to the Australian livestock industry resultant from climate change over the next 50 years identified by Commonwealth-funded studies to date.

(6) What are the highest ten potential disease risks to the Australian grains industry resultant from climate change over the next 50 years identified by Commonwealth-funded studies to date.

(7) Has the Commonwealth funded any research into the potential future economic impact of these diseases; if so, what are the projected costs for the next 50 years to: (a) the Australian economy as a whole; and (b) the ten most affected agricultural industries.

(8) What was the quantum of Commonwealth funding for each of the past 5 financial years in developing plans to mitigate the effects of the highest ten potential disease risks to the Australian grains industry resultant from climate change over the next 50 years identified by Commonwealth-funded studies to date.

(9) What was the quantum of Commonwealth funding for each of the past 5 financial years in developing plans to mitigate the effects of the highest ten potential disease risks to the Australian livestock industry resultant from climate change over the next 50 years identified by Commonwealth-funded studies to date.

(10) What is the projected quantum of Commonwealth funding for each of the next 5 financial years in developing plans to mitigate the effects of the highest ten potential disease risks to the Australian grains industry resultant from climate change over the next 50 years identified by Commonwealth-funded studies to date.

(11) What is the quantum of Commonwealth funding for each of the next 5 financial years in developing plans to mitigate the effects of the highest ten potential disease risks to the Australian livestock industry resultant from climate change over the next 50 years identified by Commonwealth-funded studies to date.

457  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—

(1) In Australian dollars, for each of the past 5 financial years, what was the total value of live sheep and cattle exports from Australia.

(2) What was the total number of head of live sheep and cattle exports from Australia for each of the past 5 financial years.

(3) Which five ports of destination took the most live exports of sheep and cattle from Australia in terms of head of animals for each of the past 5 financial years.

(4) At which Australian ports are cattle and sheep loaded for live export.

(5) What is the length of the ocean voyage, in terms of time and distance in kilometres, from each Australian port at which cattle and sheep are loaded for live export to each of the five ports of destination which took the most live exports of sheep and cattle from Australia in terms of head of animals over the past financial year.

(6) How many jobs within Australia are directly dependent upon the live-meat export trade.

(7) What are the current requirements imposed by the Commonwealth Government on live-meat exporters in terms of animal health during the voyage, specifically: (a) what is the minimum regulatory ratio requirement of veterinary surgeons per head of animals; (b) how is the performance of shippers in terms of the ratio of veterinary surgeons to head of animals monitored by the Federal Government; (c) what are the current penalties for shippers found not to comply with the Federal Government’s regulations as to this ratio; and (d) have these penalties been altered since 1 January 1998; if so, how.

(8) What steps have been taken by the Federal Government and/or the industry to ensure animal welfare during live export since 1 January 1998.