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Notice given 17 February 2003

1163  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—

(1) With reference to the Minister’s media release of 19 July 2001 announcing a 3-year project to examine the feasibility of segregating genetically-modified products across their entire production chains: what are the specific stated objectives of this study.

(2) Does the study deal with issues of food safety and food quality; if so, how.

(3) Does the study deal with making sure that products are identified to meet labelling laws and to preserve the identity of products in the market place; if so, how.

(4) How specifically do the objectives of the study announced on 19 July 2001 differ from those of the four case studies announced on 10 February 2003.

1164  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Science—

(1) On what date was the bid for the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Tree Technologies (CRC-TT) received by the CRC Committee.

(2) (a) Which CRC expert panels assessed the bid; and (b) on what day did each expert panel receive the bid for consideration.

(3) Under the selection process described on the CRC website (www.crc.gov.au), on what day did the CRC-TT bid pass from what is described as: (a) ‘Stage 1 - eligibility’ to ‘Stage 2 - shortlisting’; and (b) ‘Stage 2 - shortlisting’ to ‘Stage 3 - interview’.

(4) On what days were the ‘Stage 3 - interviews’ conducted with the applicants in the CRC-TT bid.

(5) Where were the interviews conducted.

(6) Which members of the CRC Committee attended the interviews.

(7) (a) Which CRC expert panels were represented at the interviews; and (b) whom from each CRC expert panel attended.

(8) With reference to the members of the CRC Committee and the CRC expert panels, what was the total cost to the Commonwealth in conducting the interviews, in terms of: (a) transport; (b) accommodation: (c) meals; and (d) other costs.

(9) With reference to the members of the CRC-TT bidding syndicate, what was the total cost to the Commonwealth in conducting the interviews, in terms of: (a) transport; (b) accommodation; (c) meals; and (d) other costs.

(10) On what day did the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Division of Forestry and Forest Products withdraw from the CRC-TT bid.

1166  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to the Minister’s media release of 10 February 2003, announcing that Tasmanian Quality Assured Ltd will conduct four case studies of quality management systems for segregating genetically-modified (GM) agricultural products:

(1) Is the Tasmanian Quality Assured Ltd mentioned in the Minister’s media release the same organisation as Tasmanian Quality Assured Inc. of 13A Brisbane Street, Launceston, Tasmania.

(2) Which is the correct name of the organisation conducting the four case studies.

(3) On what basis was Tasmanian Quality Assured awarded the contract to complete the four case studies of quality management systems for segregating GM agricultural products.

(4) Which other organisations submitted tenders for, or in some other way expressed an interest in, conducting these four case studies.

(5) When will each case study begin.

(6) When will each case study be completed.

(7) At what location will each case study be conducted.

(8) How much will each case study cost.

(9) Will the costs be fully met by the department; if not, who else will contribute funding to each case study and in what quantity.

(10) What are the specific stated objectives of each case study.

(11) How will the effectiveness of each case study be measured against the specific stated objectives of each case study.

(12) Will the audit tool referred to in the Minister’s media release, which will result from these case studies, become the standard for the use of the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service when issuing export certification in relation to the GM status of Australian agricultural produce.

1167  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources—

(1) On what date was the last regional forum about gene technology for farmers and regional communities conducted by Biotechnology Australia.

(2) Where was the forum held.

(3) How many members of the public attended this forum.

(4) With reference to each of the eight rural forums conducted: (a) how much did each cost; (b) how many members of the public attended; and (c) on what basis were the locations selected.

(5) What programs is Biotechnology Australia currently undertaking to advise farmers and regional communities about the potential implications of gene technology on the Australian rural sector.

(6) What was the cost of these programs over the 2001-02 financial year.

(7) What programs is Biotechnology Australia developing to advise farmers and regional communities about the potential implications of gene technology on the Australian rural sector.

(8) What is the budget and estimated expenditure to date for these programs over the 2002-03 financial year.

1168  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to the Minister’s joint statement of 11 February 2003, reference AFFA03/023WTJ, regarding the $5.3 million water saving pilot program in the Murrumbidgee Valley:

(1) What are the specific stated objectives of the pilot program as presented to the Commonwealth by Pratt Water and upon which Commonwealth funding was approved.

(2) Can a copy be provided of the Pratt Water proposal upon which Commonwealth funding was approved; if not, why not.

(3) What is the total budgeted cost of the pilot program.

(4) Which Commonwealth departments are contributing to the funding of the pilot program; and (b) how much will each department contribute.

(5) Which non-government organisations or individuals are contributing to the pilot program and what is their budgeted contribution.

(6) (a) When will the pilot program commence; and (b) when is it due to be completed.

(7) In relation to the joint media statement, which quotes Mr Pratt as saying that his ‘company has contributed significant resources to get the proposal to its current stage of development and is contributing key staff to manage the project’: (a) what is the quantum and exact type of resources Mr Pratt is referring to; (b) what is the number of staff Pratt Water will contribute to the management of this project; and (c) what are the names and qualifications of those staff.

(8) Where exactly in the Murrumbidgee Valley the pilot program will be conducted.

(9) (a) What consultations have been undertaken with residents within the Murrumbidgee Valley; and (b) who will be affected by the pilot program.

(10) If no consultations have yet taken place: (a) when will these consultations take place; and (b) how will these consultations be conducted.

1169  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Trade—

(1) What is the current Export Finance Insurance Corporation (EFIC) exposure in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

(2) To what specific facilities does this correspond, including: status, company name, date of facility, type of facility and name of project.

(3) What has been the total exposure of EFIC in PNG to date.

(4) Given that, although there are details of facilities available in the annual reports, there appear to be contradictions in relation to the reporting of EFIC facilities in PNG: can a listing be provided of all short-, medium- and long-term facilities signed for PNG on both the commercial and national interest account, including, status, company name, date of facility, type of facility and name of project.

(5) (a) Has EFIC ever been involved in the use of sovereign guarantees in PNG; and (b) to what specific facilities does this correspond, including: status, company name, date of facility, type of facility and name of project.

(6) (a) Has any debt been generated through the use of sovereign guarantees in PNG; and (b) to what specific facilities does this correspond, including: status, company name, date of facility, type of facility and name of project.