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Notice given 18 October 2002

*815  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Heritage—

(1) (a) What is the status of the proposed agreement between Australia and South Korea on migratory birds; and (b) when will it be made available for public comment.

(2) What actions has the Government taken since responding to Senator Brown’s question on notice no. 385 (Senate Hansard , 21 August 2002, p. 3472) to try to prevent the destruction of the internationally significant Saemangeum wetlands.

*816  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister for Forestry and Conservation—Are the new Australian Forestry Standards the same as international standards; if not: (a) what are the international standards; and (b) in what ways are the Australian standards more stringent, or more lax, than the international standards.

*817  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Education, Science and Training—

(1) For how long is the Research and Development (R&D) Start Program suspended.

(2) Of the R&D start projects currently funded: (a) can a list be provided of those based on the use of fossil fuels and those based on renewable energy; (b) what is the duration of each project; and (c) how much government funding has been committed.

(3) (a) Is it a fact that the Commonwealth has provided $46.9 million for Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) based on fossil fuels and $10.4 million for CRCs based on renewable energy; and (b) will the funding for the sole renewable energy CRC run out in June 2003.

(4) What additional funding will be provided for renewable energy in the next round of CRCs.

(5) Other than CRCs and R&D start projects, what government programs specifically fund basic research into renewable energy (as distinct from commercialisation).

(6) Other than CRCs and R&D start projects, what government programs specifically fund basic research into fossil fuels (as distinct from commercialisation).

(7) Has the Government effectively abandoned renewable energy as a field of research.

(8) Why is the Government favouring research into fossil fuels at the expense of renewable energy.

*818  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Heritage—With reference to the answers to questions on notice nos 596, 597 and 598 (Senate Hansard , 15 October 2002, pp. 5180-81), and given the distinction being drawn by the Minister in those answers between the terms ‘development’ and ‘operation’:

(1) What advice has the Australian Heritage Commission issued on any aspect of the Dismal Swamp in Tasmania regarding any matters including development and/or operation of tourist or any other facilities or uses or planned facilities or uses, since 1992.

(2) In each case: (a) who sought the advice; (b) why was the advice sought; (c) what was the advice; (d) to whom and by whom was it given; and (e) was the Minister or any of  his predecessors advised; if not, why not; if so, what action followed.

(3) What was the reason for the 1999 matter being referred for advice.

(4) (a) In what way does the present proposal differ, or what other matters intervened, to excuse the current development from reference to the commission; and (b) who made this decision.

(5) Are there matters of national environmental significance at Dismal Swamp; if so: (a) what are they; and (b) why will they not be affected by the present development.

*819  Senator Bishop: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs—

(1) In total, and for each region, how many assessments were conducted for access to the Veterans’ Home Care (VHC) scheme for each month during the following financial years: (a) 2001-02; and (b) 2002-03 to date.

(2) In total, and for each region, how many applications have been rejected each month.

(3) In total, and for each region, how many accepted veterans and widows have had services: (a) cancelled; and (b) reduced, in each month.

(4) What was the: (a) projected expenditure; and (b) actual expenditure, for the program for each quarter since its inception.

(5) How many clients currently receive: (a) one service; and (b) more than one service under the VHC scheme.

(6) (a) How many clients have transferred from the Home and Community Care (HACC) Program to the VHC scheme; and (b) how many veterans who may be eligible for VHC remain in the HACC program.

(7) (a) How many service providers have had their contracts: (i) suspended, and (ii) terminated; and (b) how many service providers have withdrawn.

(8) What guidelines exist for agencies determining whether house maintenance can be made available under the VHC scheme or whether it ought to be provided only under the Home Maintenance Helpline service.

(9) (a) What are the current funding levels for each region; and (b) what were the funding levels in the 2001-02 financial year.

(10) If there were reductions in funding for the 2002-03 financial year, what were the reasons.

(11) In how many regions have home maintenance and gardening hourly allowances been: (a) reduced; and (b) eliminated in whole or in part.

(12) For the 2002-03 financial year to date, by region, how many applicants have been denied access to VHC and referred to HACC.

(13) For each region: (a) what proportion of: (i) 6-monthly, and (ii) annual, reassessments have been conducted on time; and (b) how many have not been done at all.

(14) For each region, how many clients have had services reduced without a reassessment during the 2002-03 financial year to date.

(15) Have criteria for assessment been altered since the program’s inception; if so, how.

(16) How many clients are currently on waiting lists in each region.

(17) (a) How many VHC clients have transferred to HACC; and (b) what financial adjustments between programs have been made.

(18) (a) How many clients in total have transferred from HACC; and (b) what adjustments have been made as a result of VHC funding.

(19) For each quarter since the program’s inception, what proportion of services have been for: (a) domestic assistance; (b) personal care; (c) home and garden maintenance; (d) in-home respite; (e) residential respite; and (f) emergency respite.

(20) How many veteran clients of the department received: (a) in-house respite; (b) residential respite; and (c) emergency respite, under the general Commonwealth respite programs for each quarter in the 2001-02 financial year and the 2002-03 financial year to date, as opposed to receiving those services funded under the VHC scheme.

(21) Has an interim report on the evaluation of VHC been received; if so: (a) what are its findings and recommendations; and (b) can a copy be provided.

(22) For each region, in how many instances have agencies declined to: (a) make assessments; and (b) provide services, for whatever reason, including remoteness.

(23) How many veteran clients of the department received personal care services from programs other than VHC in each quarter of the following financial years: (a) 2001-02; and (b) 2002-03 to date.

(24) How many veteran clients of the department availed themselves of services under the Home Maintenance Helpline service for each quarter of the following financial years: (a) 2001-02; and (b) 2002-03 to date.

(25) Given the original estimate of savings in the health program as a result of this program, what is the estimated reduction of those savings flowing from reductions of services below those assessed.

(26) (a) What were the average hours approved for each service in the VHC scheme as at: (i) 31 December 2001, (ii) 30 June 2002, and (iii) 30 September 2002; and (b) how many clients were in receipt of each service at those times.

(27) (a) What is the current fee paid to each agency for each assessment made; and (b) what other funding is provided to agencies for administrative overheads.

(28) (a) What is the current scale of charges for each of the services provided under the VHC scheme by providers managed by agencies; and (b) what is the equivalent scale for other programs such as respite and HACC.

(29) As at 30 September 2002, how many agencies have overspent pro rata on their allocated budget.

(30) How many agencies have reduced staff as a result of the reduced allocations.