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Notice given 13 September 2002

628  Senator McLucas: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—

(1) How many applications for exceptional circumstances (EC) declarations have been lodged since 1996.

(2) How many applications have resulted in EC declarations.

(3) With respect to EC declarations, can the following information be provided: (a) the source of the applications (state government or peak body); (b) the geographic regions or industries concerned; (c) the dates on which the applications were lodged; and (d) the dates on which the declarations were made.

(4) Were any EC declarations made concerning geographic regions contained wholly or partly within the electorates of Gwydir or Wide Bay.

(5) With respect to unsuccessful applications, can the following information be provided: (a) the source of the applications (state government or peak body); (b) the geographic regions or industries concerned; (c) the dates on which the applications were lodged; and (d) the dates on which the decisions to refuse the declarations were made.

(6) Of the unsuccessful applications, were any made concerning geographic regions contained wholly or partly within the electorates of Gwydir or Wide Bay.

(7) With respect to all unsuccessful applications, has the Government provided other special assistance, including ex gratia income support, to the regions or industries identified in the applications. 

(8) Was any such special assistance given to geographic regions contained wholly or partly within the electorates of Gwydir or Wide Bay.

(9) Have there been any occasions since 1996 in which the Government has not accepted the recommendation of the Rural Adjustment Scheme Advisory Council (RASAC) or the National Rural Advisory Council (NRAC) in respect to EC applications; if so, can details of these occasions and the applications concerned be provided.

(10) Have there been any occasions since 1996 in which EC applications have not been subject to an independent assessment by the RASAC or NRAC; if so, can details of these occasions and the applications concerned be provided.

(11) In the case of each EC declaration: (a) what was the income threshold used; (b) did all applications meet the income threshold criterion; if not, can details be provided where applications for an EC declaration were made despite the income threshold not being met; and (c) for each of these applications: (i) what was the income level identified in the application, and (ii) what was the applicable income threshold.