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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.

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.