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Notice given 26 August 2002

577  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister—

(1) On what date was the Sustainable Environment Committee of the Cabinet formed.

(2) When did the committee first meet.

(3) How many times has the committee met since its formation.

(4) Has the Prime Minister personally chaired and been present at all meetings of the committee; if not, at which meetings was the Prime Minister absent from the chair of the committee.

(5) Who chaired each meeting of the committee.

(6) What records are kept of matters discussed at these meetings.

578  Senator Sherry: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations—With reference to the Building and Construction Industry Interim Taskforce announced by the Government on 20 August 2002:

(1) Will the taskforce have a written charter or mission; if so, what will it be.

(2) Apart from law enforcement, will the taskforce be concerned with productivity and general industrial relations issues.

(3) How is the success or performance of the taskforce to be measured (eg. the number of prosecutions, improved performance and productivity in the industry, etc).

(4) Will the taskforce consult with industry (eg. employers, unions, etc).

(5) What is the estimated cost of the interim taskforce in each of the following financial years: (a) 2002-03; and (b) 2003-04.

(6) How much of this cost will be met by: (a) the department; (b) current departmental appropriations; and (c) additional appropriations.

(7) How much of this cost will be met by the following departments and agencies:

(a) the Attorney-General’s Department;

(b) the Australian Federal Police;

(c) the Australian Taxation Office;

(d) the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission;

(e) the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission;

(f) the Office of the Employment Advocate; and

(g) any other Commonwealth or state department or agency.

(8) Will any funds budgeted for the Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry be re-allocated to meet the cost of the interim taskforce.

(9) If funds and resources are to be diverted within relevant departments and agencies to meet the operational and establishment requirements of the taskforce, from which areas in each of the departments and agencies will funds and resources be diverted.

(10) (a) How many full-time staff will the taskforce employ; and (b) how many part-time staff will the taskforce employ.

(11) (a) Which departments and agencies will make staff available to the interim taskforce; and (b) how many staff from each department and agency will be seconded to the taskforce.

(12) (a) How many staff who have worked for the Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry will work for the interim taskforce; and (b) what proportion of the taskforce’s staff does this represent.

(13) (a) Which Commonwealth laws will the interim taskforce be responsible for enforcing; and (b) which laws are excluded from the brief of the interim taskforce.

(14) (a) Will the taskforce seek the cooperation of state and territory departments and agencies; if so, which ones; and (b) how will the taskforce deal with issues that arise under state or territory law (eg. occupational health and safety).

579  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister for Family and Community Services—With reference to the 1998 study by S. Hollins ( et al ), Mortality in people with learning disability: risks, causes, and death certification findings in London , which indicates that people with moderate and more severe levels of developmental disability die 20 to 30 years younger than the general population and are 58 times more likely to die before the age of 50:

(1) Has any such study been undertaken in Australia; if so, did the findings match those of the United Kingdom (UK) study; if so, does the Government consider that such early death and high levels of unrecognised and poorly managed disease are acceptable.

(2) Is the Government aware that a 1996 survey of Australian General Practitioners (GPs) indicated that 89 per cent of GPs felt it was difficult to gain a complete history from people with a developmental disability and that over 75 per cent of GPs considered themselves inadequately trained to care for people with a developmental disability.

(3) Will the Government establish and fund national medical training schemes for specialised practice in developmental disability.

(4) Will the Government consider adopting the World Health Organization’s health targets for this population.

(5) Will the Government consider recognising this group as people who have chronic and complex health needs by using the health assessment descriptors under the Enhanced Primary Care Initiatives for General Practice, and by including them in generic health promotion research and campaigns.

(6) Will the Government consider setting up a national register of people with intellectual disabilities, as the UK has done.

580  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—Given that the United Kingdom Government has moved to provide 5 million pounds for research into organic farming and is setting up a committee to advise ministers on the implementation of proposals to support organic farming: What has the Australian Government done to support organic farming in terms of: (a) specific financing; (b) research; (c) consumer promotion; (d) recognition and assessment of this industry sector; and (e) export promotion and assistance.

581  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs—

(1) Will the Government, for example through the Council of Ministers, push for: (a) a ‘headworks’ or developer contribution charge to be set on all residential developments to ensure that there is appropriate funding for the development of youth facilities; and (b) greater consideration to be given to facilitate young Australians’ activities and development by local government to help tackle their problems in growing urban areas.

(2) Will the Commonwealth consider a ‘dollar for dollar for dollar,’ Commonwealth, state and local government scheme to help fund youth facilities in new housing developments.

582  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister for Defence—With reference to parts (3) and (6) of the answer to question on notice no. 1012 (Senate Hansard , 10 August 1999, p. 7213): (a) What were the occupational health and safety issues which caused the Defence Force to cease using depleted uranium; and (b) did the United States Navy forewarn Australia that the three guided missile frigates contained depleted uranium weaponry; if so, when; if not, how and when was this information obtained.