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Notice given 25 March 2003

*1345  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister for Health and Ageing—What was the percentage of bulk-billed general practitioner unreferred attendances, by vocationally registered and non-vocationally registered, by electorate, for the March 2003 quarter (due for release April 2003).

*1346  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to comments by a spokesperson for the Minister, reported in AAP story number 3132, dated 24 March 2003:

(1) Since January 2000, on how many occasions have rural groups, state agencies and veterinary surgeons been contacted by the Government about animal disease threats to Australia.

(2) (a) What rural groups were contacted; (b) on how many occasions was each group contacted; (c) when was each contact made and who made the contact; (d) what was the nature of the disease threat that required contact with each group; and (e) what action was taken by each group and by the Government as a result of the contact.

(3) (a) What state agencies were contacted; (b) on how many occasions was each state agency contacted; (c) when was each contact made and who made the contact; (d) what was the nature of the disease threat that required contact with each state agency; and (e) what action was taken by each state agency and by the Government as a result of the contact.

(4) (a) Which veterinary surgeons were contacted; (b) on how many occasions was each veterinary surgeon contacted; (c) when was each contact made and who made the contact; (d) what was the nature of the disease threat that required contact with each veterinary surgeon; and (e) what action was taken by each veterinary surgeon and by the Government as a result of the contact.

*1347  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—In relation to the shipment of diseased wheat that arrived in Australia from England in March 2003 aboard the MV Baytur :

(1) Where was the wheat grown.

(2) When was the import permit issued.

(3) When was the wheat loaded.

(4) How much wheat was loaded.

(5) (a) What tests were undertaken prior to departure for quarantine purposes; (b) on what date or dates were these tests done; (c) which agency or agencies conducted these tests; (d) what were the results of these tests; (e) on what date or dates were these results known; and (f) on what date was the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) informed of these results.

(6) When and where did the ship depart England.

(7) (a) What tests were undertaken en route for quarantine purposes; (b) on what date or dates were these tests done; (c) which agency or agencies conducted these tests; (d) what were the results of these tests; (e) on what date or dates were these results known; (f) on what date was AQIS informed of the results.

(8) (a) Who decided to permit the importation of the wheat; and (b) when was this decision made.

(9) (a) Which individuals or organisations were consulted prior to making this decision; (b) on what date or dates did that consultation occur; (c) what was the nature of the consultation; (d) what information was given to the individuals or organisations consulted; (e) was advice on approval or rejection of the shipment sought; if so, what advice was received; and (f) was advice on post-entry quarantine measures sought; if so, what advice was received.

(10) Was the Minister informed of the test results; if so: (a) when was the Minister informed; and (b) what action did the Minister take.

(11) When and where was the wheat unloaded.

(12) (a) What post-entry quarantine measures were applied; (b) when and where were these measures applied; (c) did these measures include additional sampling; (d) did these measures differ from the standard treatment of wheat imports; and (e) was the Minister consulted on these measures.

(13) Is the disease in the wheat otherwise present in Australia; if not, what would be the consequences of an outbreak of the disease in Australia.

(14) What was the destination of the wheat.

*1348  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—How many consignments of genetically-modified seeds have been imported into Australia with an import permit in each of the following financial years: (a) 2001-02; and (b) 2002-03.

*1349  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to public quarantine alert PQA0251:

(1) How many consignments of genetically-modified seeds have been imported into Australia without an import permit in each of the following financial years: (a) 2001-02; and (b) 2002-03.

(2) Have all these consignments been detected by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service.

(3) What action was taken when these unauthorised consignments were detected.

*1350  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—What are the details of the import conditions and treatment requirements that apply to imported stock feed, including but not limited to conditions C5278 and C8779 and treatment T9902.

*1351  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—In respect of the 2002-03 financial year:

(1) How many expressions of interest for the importation of grain for stock feed have been received.

(2) (a) How many applications for the importation of grain for stock feed have been received; and (b) how many tonnes have these applications concerned.

(3) (a) How many applications for the importation of grain for stock feed have been approved; and (b) how many tonnes have these approvals concerned.

(4) (a) How many applications for the importation of grain for stock feed have been rejected; and (b) how many tonnes have these rejections concerned.

(5) How many shipments of grain for stock feed have been imported. 

(6) How many tonnes have been imported.

(7) In relation to each shipment: (a) what country and region was the source of the grain; (b) how many tonnes have been imported; (c) at what port or ports has the grain been off-loaded and on what dates; and (d) what pre-entry and post-entry quarantine measures have been applied.

*1352  Senator Hutchins: To ask the Minister for Health and Ageing—

(1) How much money has been spent over the past decade on programs that trace recipients of blood or blood products contaminated by hepatitis C.

(2) How many recipients of hepatitis C contaminated blood have been directly notified by trace-back programs so far.

(3) Is the Minister aware that: (a) significant numbers of mothers were transfused with contaminated blood during childbirth in the past two decades and that, tragically, some of these women have infected their children; (b) money has been offered by the Australian Red Cross Blood Service in exchange for them signing confidentiality agreements; and (c) these confidentiality agreements preclude either them or their infected child from openly discussing the circumstances surrounding their infections.

(4) Has the Commonwealth provided funding for compensation payments which require that infected mothers sign secrecy agreements.

(5) If the Commonwealth has provided funding for such payments: (a) how much funding has been provided; (b) how many individuals have received payments from the Commonwealth on the condition that they sign a confidentiality agreement; (c) in what years did these payments occur; and (d) how many payments were made in each year.

(6) Has the department, or any other Commonwealth Government agency, conducted any studies into the number of mothers who were infected with hepatitis C through blood administered during childbirth.

(7) If such studies have been conducted: (a) when did each study occur; (b) which agency conducted each study; and (c) in each study, how many mothers were found to have contracted hepatitis C through blood administered during childbirth.

(8) (a) Is the Minister aware that: (i) American blood banks used a form of blood donor screening for hepatitis C in the 1980s known as ‘surrogate testing’ and that the American Food and Drug Administration recommended that this kind of testing reduced hepatitis C in blood by as much as 50 per cent, and (ii) instead of following the American lead on screening methods, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service chose instead to study the efficacy of surrogate testing in 1986 in a study which took 4 years; and (b) will the Minister make the findings of this study publicly available.

(9) Will the department call for an independent investigation into claims that thousands of hepatitis C infections through blood transfusions could have been prevented had the Australian Red Cross Blood Service used surrogate testing for hepatitis C in the 1980s.

(10) Has the Australian Red Cross Blood Service or the Commonwealth of Australia made compensation payments to people infected between the years 1986 and 1990; if so, is this because the Australian Red Cross Blood Service failed to use available screening methods for hepatitis C at this time.

(11) Has Professor Barraclough completed his independent review into the possible contamination of blood products.

(12) Has Professor Barraclough presented his findings and report to the Minister.

(13) When did Professor Barraclough present his findings to the Minister.

(14) When does the Minister intend to make the report public.

*1353  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to public quarantine alert PQA0221:

(1) When did the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service review of import conditions for frozen fruit and vegetables commence.

(2) Was the review due to be completed by 31 December 2002.

(3) Why was the review not completed by 31 December 2002.

(4) Has the review been completed; if so, what changes, if any, have been made to the import conditions for frozen fruit and vegetables; if not: (a) why not; and (b) when will the review be completed.

*1354  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to public quarantine alerts PQA0254 and PQA0255:

(1) When did the sudden oak death ( phytophthora ramorum ) pest risk assessment commence.

(2) When will the risk assessment be completed.

(3) When were interim restrictions imposed for sawn timber, roundwood and logs imported from the United States of America (US).

(4) How has the absence of dry and moist heat treatment providers in Sydney impacted on importers of wood from the US.

Senator O’Brien: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos *1355-*1356)—

(1) Does the European Union prohibit the export of ruminant livestock from Australia; if so, when was this prohibition applied.

(2) Has the European Union recently moved to regularise third-country trade in live animals.

(3) Has a draft amendment to Council Decision 79/542/EEC been prepared.

(4) When did the Minister become aware the draft amendment was in preparation.

(5) Would the application of this amendment further restrict live animal exports from Australia to member countries of the European Union.

(6) Has the amendment been agreed to by the European Union; if so, when was it agreed to; if not, when is it likely to be agreed to.

(7) Has the Minister sought advice on the impact on Australian exporters of the application of this amendment; if so, what is the likely impact, including affected breeds, export volume, export value and number of affected producers and exporters.

(8) Has the Minister made representations to the Commission of European Communities, or individual member countries of the European Union, about this matter; if so: (a) when were these representations made; and (b) what form did they take.

(9) Has the Minister received any representations from Australian producers and/or exporters about this matter; if so: (a) when were those representations received; and (b) what form did they take.

*1355 Minister representing the Minister for Trade

*1356 Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry