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Notice given 4 October 2002

723  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to the statement, ‘Moratorium on Live Sheep Exports from Portland’, issued by the Minister on 1 October 2002:

(1) When did the Minister first consider the imposition of a moratorium on live sheep exports from Portland.

(2) Did the department, the Minister’s office or the Minister receive any representations from industry requesting a moratorium on livestock exports; if so, who made these representations and when were they received.

(3) Which members of the livestock export industry were consulted prior to the imposition of the moratorium.

(4) (a) Which representatives of the livestock export industry were present at the meeting to discuss this matter on 1 October 2002; (b) where did this meeting occur; (c) what time did it begin; and (d) what was its duration.

(5) When did the Minister decide to impose the moratorium.

(6) Is the moratorium secured by a formal order, or is it an informal agreement; if it is an informal agreement, who are the parties to the agreement.

(7) In relation to each of the five incidents of “unacceptable losses” to which the Minister refers, excluding the recent journey of the Al Shuwaikh : (a) when did these incidents occur; (b) what vessels were involved; (c) when and where did the journeys commence and end; (d) when was the health of the sheep checked; (e) at what point in the journey did the sheep die; (f) how many sheep died; and (g) what was the result of the investigation, if any, into the reportable deaths.

(8) Has the Commonwealth received any communication from governments of livestock destination countries expressing concern about the high mortality rate aboard Australian export vessels or the health of the livestock that survive; if so, can details be provided of the nature of this communication, the source of the communication, the date or dates on which it was received, and the response of the Commonwealth, if any.

(9) With respect to the recent journey of the Al Shuwaikh that triggered the Minister’s action: (a) how many sheep died; (b) at which point or points in the journey did the sheep die; (c) at which point or points in the journey were the carcasses disposed of; (d) what was the method of disposal; (e) when were these deaths reported to the department; (f) when was the Minister’s office advised of these deaths; (g) when was the Minister advised of these deaths; (h) when and where did this particular journey begin; (i) when, where and for what duration did the vessel dock at other ports during the journey; (j) what was the geographic origin of the sheep on board; (k) was their health assessed prior to departure, and what was the result of this assessment; (l) was their health assessed at any time after the vessel left Portland, and what was the result of this assessment; (m) what was the vessel’s destination; (n) what was the final destination of the sheep; and (o) what assessment was made of the condition of the surviving sheep when the vessel reached its final port.

(10) (a) What ‘extra conditions’ were imposed on the voyage; and (b) can full details be provided, including the method of assessing the appropriate conditions to be imposed and the department or agencies involved in determining these conditions.

(11) (a) Which departments or agencies will conduct an investigation into the deaths on this voyage; (b) how long will the investigation take; and (c) will the results of the investigation be released to the public.

(12) (a) How many other incidents of reportable deaths of sheep or livestock have involved the vessel Al Shuwaikh and/or its owners and/or operators; and (b) can full details be provided, including the date, the type and number of animals involved and the results of any investigations into these deaths.

724  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to the statement, ‘Moratorium on Live Sheep Exports from Portland’, issued by the Minister on 1 October 2002:

(1) What information does the Minister possess that suggests reportable sheep deaths are related to the preparation of livestock for voyage rather than on-board management.

(2) What is the source of this information.

(3) Who provided this advice to: (a) the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA); (b) the Minister’s department; (c) the Minister’s office; and (d) the Minister.

(4) When was this advice received by (a) AMSA; (b) the Minister’s department; (c) the Minister’s office; and (d) the Minister.

(5) Why does the live sheep export moratorium apply to Portland only.

725  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to the statement, ‘Moratorium on Live Sheep Exports from Portland’, issued by the Minister on 1 October 2002:

(1) What was the name of the livestock vessel that left Portland during 28-29 September 2002 carrying sheep.

(2) How many sheep were carried by the vessel.

(3) On what date, and at what time, did the vessel depart Portland.

(4) Who owns and/or operates this vessel.

(5) Has the vessel and/or its owner and/or its operator been involved in any prior incidents of reportable livestock export deaths; if so, what are the details of these deaths, including the date, type and number of animals involved, and the results of any investigations into these deaths.

(6) (a) On what day, and at what time, did the inspection of the shipment by the Commonwealth Chief Veterinary Officer and the veterinary team occur; (b) where did the inspection take place; (c) what did the Chief Veterinary Officer and the veterinary team inspect; (d) what was the duration of the inspection; and (e) what was the cost of the inspection.

(7) (a) Which department, agency or company incurred costs in relation to the inspection; and (b) if the costs were shared in any way, can a breakdown of the shared costs be provided.

(8) (a) Who determined that an inspection by the Chief Veterinary Officer was necessary or desirable; (b) was the Minister consulted on the decision to engage the Chief Veterinary Officer in this task; and (c) when was the decision to engage the Chief Veterinary Officer made.

(9) Was the Chief Veterinary Officer present in Portland prior to this decision being made; if not, when was the Chief Veterinary Officer called to Portland, and from where was he called.

(10) Did a local Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) officer or agent inspect the shipment prior to the inspection led by the Chief Veterinary Officer; if so, when did this inspection occur.

(11) Did a local AQIS officer or agent make a recommendation about the vessel’s departure; if so: (a) what are the details of this recommendation; and (b) which department or agency received this advice.

(12) Did the Chief Veterinary Officer approve the vessel’s departure.

(13) Who comprised the team of ‘expert veterinary officers’ that accompanied the Chief Veterinary Officer?

(14) Did all members of this team approve the vessel’s departure.

(15) What ‘additional conditions’ applied to its departure.

(16) What existing conditions did these additional conditions supplement.

(17) Will any special conditions apply during its journey; if so, what are these conditions and how will they be monitored.

(18) Will the vessel dock at any ports during this journey; if so, what are the expected docking locations and dates.

(19) Will any sheep be loaded onto or unloaded from the vessel prior to its final destination; if so, can details be provided of the number of sheep expected to be loaded and/or unloaded, the ports concerned, and the expected dates of these events.

(20) (a) At what port will the vessel end its journey; (b) when is the vessel expected to reach its destination; and (c) what is the final destination of the sheep on board this vessel.

726  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to the statement, ‘Moratorium on Live Sheep Exports from Portland’, issued by the Minister on 1 October 2002:

(1) When was the Independent Reference Group formed.

(2) Why was it formed.

(3) Who are its members.

(4) What are its standing terms of reference.

(5) Does it have particular terms of reference related to the current moratorium.

(6) Who determines its membership.

(7) Has its membership varied since its formation.

(8) What is the method of appointment of its members.

(9) On what dates has it previously met.

(10) What recommendations has it previously made.

(11) Have these recommendations been adopted; if not, why not.

727  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister for Forestry and Conservation—With reference to the Minister’s answer to question on notice no. 485 (Senate Hansard , 17 September 2002, p. 4249), and specifically parts (2) and (3):

(1) Will the increased funding for 2002-03 identified in the answer result in more patrols to protect the Heard Island and McDonald Island fishery.

(2) When will the specific funding allocation to protect the Heard Island and McDonald Island fishery for 2003-04 and future years be determined.

728  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister for Forestry and Conservation—With reference to the Minister’s answer to question on notice no. 486 (Senate Hansard , 17 September 2002, p. 4249), and specifically part (2)(b): Since 1996, when have the navy and civilian patrols undertaken to protect the Heard Island and McDonald Island fishery taken place.

729  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister for Forestry and Conservation—With reference to the Minister’s answer to question on notice no. 488 (Senate Hansard , 17 September 2002, p. 4250):

(1) What information sources contributed to the assessment of the illegal Patagonian toothfish catch identified in the answer to question 488(1).

(2) Can the Minister explain the variation by year in illegal catch figures identified in the answer to question 488(2)(b).

730  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister for Forestry and Conservation—With reference to the Minister’s answer to question on notice no. 489, and specifically parts (1) and (2):

(1) What was the cost to the Australian government of the 2001 operation to apprehend the South Tomi using South African navy vessels.

(2) (a) What assistance has South Africa provided in approaching other countries to address specific incidents of illegal fishing; and (b) can details be provided of these incidents and of the assistance provided by the South African government in each case.

(3) (a) When have formal negotiations with South Africa occurred with respect to concluding a formal agreement on cooperation to combat illegal fishing; and (b) who is leading these negotiations on behalf of the Australian government.

(4) (a) When have formal negotiations with France occurred with respect to concluding a formal agreement on cooperation to combat illegal fishing; (b) who is leading these negotiations on behalf of the Australian government; and (c) when is it expected that these negotiations will conclude.

(5) Since 1996, has any direct minister-to-minister contact occurred with respect to cooperation with other countries on combating illegal fishing; if so, can details of these occasions be provided, including the countries concerned and the ministers engaged in this contact.

731  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister for Forestry and Conservation—With reference to the Minister’s answer to question on notice no. 490 (Senate Hansard , 17 September 2002, p. 4251), and specifically parts (2), (3) and (4):

(1) Which country proposed the catch documentation scheme for Patagonian toothfish adopted at the eighteenth meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

(2) Has the commission or the Australian Government conducted an assessment of the effectiveness of the scheme since it commenced operation on 7 May 2000; if so, what was the result of the assessment.

(3) (a) Which countries have been identified as key flag states of illegal or suspected illegal vessels by the Australian government; and (b) which of these countries have not been subject to direct representations from the Australian Government.

(4) Can a list be provided of the ‘well over 100’ countries that have been the subject of Australian negotiating efforts in respect to combating illegal fishing.

(5) What measures will be included in the package Australia is taking to the next annual meeting of the commission to improve efforts to combat illegal fishing.

732  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister for Defence—What has been the cost to the department, by financial year since 1996, of protecting Australia’s sovereign rights in the exclusive economic zone adjacent to Heard Island and McDonald Island.

733  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to the Minister’s answer to question on notice no. 594 (Senate Hansard , 26 September 2002, p. 4787), and specifically parts (1), (3), (5), (7) and (8):

(1) (a) When will the final cost of the exercise to the department be known; and (b) which other Commonwealth departments have borne costs in relation to the exercise.

(2) Can the full details of the indicative budget be provided.

(3) Which countries expressed interest in attending Exercise Minotaur.

(4) How was each country informed of the decision to permit or deny observation status.

(5) (a) Can details of the draft schedule for the 2002/2003 post-exercise schedule be provided; and (b) when will the schedule be finalised.

734  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Heritage—With reference to the Minister’s answer to question on notice no. 559 (Senate Hansard , 25 September 2002, p. 4691), and specifically parts (1), (4) and (6):

(1) Which ‘state agencies, peak industry, and rural and conservation groups’ receive notice from Environment Australia of nominations under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 .

(2) (a) What is the total budgeted cost for the full-time position at the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF); and (b) when will this position commence.

(3) Will the Commonwealth-funded position at the NFF facilitate consultation and communication about environment protection and biodiversity conservation matters with non-NFF member organisations.

735  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—

(1) (a) What assessment was made by the Department of Transport and Regional Services of an application made through the Dairy Regional Assistance Programme to fund the construction of a short floor manufacturing project for Australian Solar Timbers; (b) when was that assessment completed; and (c) what were the findings of that assessment.

(2) What assessments of the above application were made by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry or any other federal or state agency; and in each case: (a) who did the assessment; (b) when did the assessment commence; (c) when was the assessment completed; and (d) what were the results of the assessment.

736  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—Was an application, or any assessment, or any other material relating to an application through the Dairy Regional Assistance Programme to fund the construction of a short floor manufacturing project for Australian Solar Timbers provided to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry or his office by the Department of Transport and Regional Services; if so: (a) when was that material sent to the Minister, or his office; and (b) what was the purpose of providing details of this application or its assessment to the Minister or his office.

737  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—

(1) Has work commenced on a proposal funded through the Dairy Regional Assistance Programme to construct a short floor manufacturing project for Australian Solar Timbers.

(2) When did work commence on the construction of the plant.

(3) If the construction of the plant has been completed, what was the date of completion.

(4) If there was a variation in the estimated costs of the construction of the plant and the actual cost what was the level of the cost variation.

738  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—

(1) How many direct and indirect jobs were estimated to result from the provision of $715 000 through the Dairy Regional Assistance Programme to help fund a short floor manufacturing project for Australian Solar Timbers, and what was the anticipated duration of these jobs.

(2) (a) What was the basis of the above job creation estimates; and (b) who made the estimates.

(3) Was there any review or analysis of these estimates as part of the application assessment; if so: (a) who did that assessment; and (b) what was the result of that assessment.

(4) (a) What assessment was undertaken of the capacity of the proposal to improve the skills base of the region; (b) who undertook that assessment; and (c) what was the result of that assessment.

(5) (a) What assessment was undertaken of the capacity of the proposal to tackle the disadvantage and encourage growth in the region; (b) who undertook that assessment; and (c) what was the result of that assessment.

739  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—

(1) When was an application made through the Dairy Regional Assistance Programme to fund a short floor manufacturing project for Australian Solar Timbers lodged with Australia’s Holiday Coast Area Consultative Committee.

(2) Who lodged the application.

(3) What date was the application lodged.

(4) Can a copy of the original application for assistance, and all related documentation, for this project from the programme be provided.

(5) (a) What was the funding sought through the application; and (b) what was the level of funding approved.

(6) When was funding for the project approved.

(7) What was the total cost of the proposal and what commitment was given by the applicant to meet at least 50 per cent of these costs.

(8) Did this proposal contain an evaluation process to ensure that agreed project outcomes were met; if so, can a copy of the evaluation details be provided; if not: (a) were details of any proposed evaluation mechanism sought; and (b) was this material provided; if not, why not.

(9) If such an evaluation process was not included in the application, why was the application approved.

740  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—

(1) What is the membership of Australia’s Holiday Coast Area Consultative Committee (ACC).

(2) (a) When was each member appointed to the ACC; (b) what is the occupation of each member; and (c) what are the qualifications of each member.

(3) Has any member of the ACC held any public office since January 2000, including appointments by local government, the New South Wales Government and the Commonwealth Government; if so, please advise: (a) the title and nature of office held; (b) the term of office; and (c) the method of election or appointment.

741  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—

(1) Were the terms of an application made through the Dairy Regional Assistance Programme to fund the construction of a short floor manufacturing project for Australian Solar Timbers varied in any way after the initial application for funds was lodged; if so: (a) what was the basis for these variations; (b) when was each variation lodged; and (c) did the assessor of the application accept these variations.

(2) Can a copy of the varied application for assistance for this project from the programme be provided.

(3) (a) What level of funding was sought through the amended application; and (b) what was the level of funding approved.

(4) What was the total cost of the amended proposal and what commitment was given by the applicant to meet as least 50 per cent of these costs.

(5) Did this amended proposal contain an evaluation process to ensure that agreed project outcomes were met; if so, can a copy of the evaluation process be provided.

(6) (a) If the amended application does not include an evaluation process, why not; and (b) was this material sought as part of the approval process; if not, why not.

(7) If such an evaluation process was not included in the application, why was the application approved.

742  Senator Bishop: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs—With reference to the consideration of Mr Justice Mohr that service at HMS Terror by Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force personnel be considered as qualifying service for the period 11 May 1960 to 5 June 1962, why did the Minister not accept that recommendation and, instead, substitute a period of only 51 days.

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

(1) When will the health survey of Gulf War veterans be made publicly available.

(2) (a) What is the current mortality figure for those veterans; and (b) what were the causes of death.

(3) What vaccinations were given to Gulf War veterans before and after deployment, for: (a) those who served with the Royal Australian Navy; and (b) those who were seconded to other forces.

(4) What other drugs were administered to personnel during the deployment.

(5) How many of those who served have been discharged: (a) fit; or (b) medically unfit.

(6) How many are in payment of a disability pension under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 , by percentage groups and disability type, and how many are totally and permanently incapacitated.

(7) How many have been paid a lump sum for disability under the Military Compensation and Rehabilitation Scheme, and of those how many have also claimed a pension under the Act.

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

(1) How many Australian Defence Force personnel have now served in East Timor.

(2) How many are in payment of a disability pension from the department, by percentage and disability type, and of those how many are still serving.

(3) How many are now totally and permanently incapacitated, by accepted disability type.

(4) How many have received a lump sum payment for disability under the Military Compensation and Rehabilitation Scheme (MCRS), and of those how many have been discharged.

(5) How many are in receipt of benefits under both the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 and the MCRS.

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

(1) How many veterans’ children have received assistance under the Veterans’ Children’s Assistance Scheme, by state, since its inception.

(2) How many successful applicants have had their participation cancelled.

(3) How many participants have failed to complete courses funded by the program.

(4) In how many cases have participants been asked to refund payments, and what sum has been repaid in total to date.

(5) (a) How many cases of fraud have been investigated; (b) how many prosecutions have been launched; and (c) how many convictions have been obtained.

(6) (a) What debts from participants are currently outstanding; and (b) how many cases are involved.

(7) What counselling is provided to those who fail to complete courses.

747  Senator Bishop: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs—Can the Minister confirm that tenders have been called for, to undertake a review of the methodologies employed in the construction of dosimetry data from the British Atomic Testing Program in Australia; if so: (a) what are the terms of reference; (b) what is the completion timetable; (c) what is the estimated cost; (d) what scientific concern prompted the need for the review; and (e) will the same task be undertaken for British Commonwealth Occupational Forces service in Japan.

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

(1) Does the Minister recall that at Senate Estimates hearings in June 2002, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs undertook to review the draft request for tender (RFT) in light of comment by industry and to consult with providers and the veteran community before progressing to an appropriate tender arrangement.

(2) Has the Community Transport Organisation (CTO) been consulted in that process.

(3) (a) Who was present at consultations with the CTO; and (b) on what dates were those consultations on the draft RFT undertaken.

(4) What was the outcome of those consultations.

(5) Has the original draft RFT been amended as a result of those consultations; if not, why not.

(6) Has the original draft been amended as a result of concerns raised by the New South Wales CTO; if so, in what way has it been amended.

(7) What is the current status of the draft tender process.

(8) When will tenders be called for and when will they close.

(9) Will the CTO be invited to tender; if not, why not.

(10) Has the CTO sought an appointment with the Minister; if so, why has the Minister not agreed to meet with CTO representatives; if not, will the Minister undertake to meet with CTO representatives.

(11) Has there been a decision that the Commission should continue providing community transport arrangements in New South Wales as separate arrangements, as foreshadowed in the Senate Estimates hearings in June 2002.

749  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister for Justice and Customs—

(1) What is the number of investigations the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has conducted into interstate livestock theft for each of the past 10 years.

(2) How many arrests have been made by the AFP in relation to interstate livestock theft for each of the past 10 years.

(3) How many convictions have been obtained from investigations made by the AFP in relation to interstate livestock theft for each of the past 10 years.

(4) How many convictions have been obtained directly by the AFP in relation to interstate livestock theft for each of the past 10 years.

(5) Does the AFP have staff assigned specifically to investigating interstate livestock theft; if so, what is the current number Full Time Equivalents (FTE).

(6) What is the number of staff (in FTE) the AFP has assigned specifically to investigating interstate livestock theft for each of the past 10 years.

(7) What, if any, are the maximum and minimum penalties under federal law for persons convicted of interstate livestock theft.

(8) Have these penalties changed since 1995; if so, can details of the changes be provided.