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Notice given 17 April 2003

1393  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to the Minister’s statement AFFA02/289WT of 17 October 2002 announcing the provision and requirements under the Sugar Industry Reform Program relating to Sugar Enterprise Viability Assessments (SEVAs) and Sugar Enterprise Activity Plans (SEAPs):

(1) How many applications have been received to date for the preparation of SEVAs and SEAPs from: (a) cane farmers; and (b) cane harvesters.

(2) How many SEVAs and SEAPs have been completed to date for: (a) cane farmers; and (b) cane harvesters.

(3) With reference to Fact Sheet SE020.0210 (page 1) accompanying the Minister’s statement: (a) what are the ‘special provisions’ that customers who have accessed Farm Help within the past 12 months prior to claiming will be subject to; (b) how many calls have been received on the 1800 050 585 telephone number from: (i) cane farmers, and (ii) cane harvesters, querying their position regarding these ‘special provisions’ and the preparations of SEVAs and SEAPs; and (c) how many, (i) cane growers, and (ii) cane harvesters, have had their access eligibility for funds to pay for SEVAs or SEAPs reduced or rejected on the basis of these ‘special provisions’.

(4) What has been the total expenditure by the Commonwealth on SEVAs or SEAPs to date under the Sugar Industry Reform Program.

(5) What is the total projected expenditure by the Commonwealth on SEVAs or SEAPs under the Sugar Industry Reform Program.

1394  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to the Minister’s statement AFFA03/008WT of 5 February 2003 announcing the provision under the Sugar Industry Reform Program of the availability of sugar industry exit grants:

(1) On what date do applications for these grants close.

(2) How many application forms for these grants have been distributed to date.

(3) On what date did the application form become available on a Commonwealth website.

(4) On what date did the printed application form become available.

(5) On what date were the first application forms mailed to potential applicants.

(6) To date how many applications for these grants have been: (a) received; (b) rejected; and (c) approved.

(7) What has been the total expenditure by the Commonwealth on these grants to date.

(8) What is the total projected expenditure on these grants under the Sugar Industry Reform Program.

1395  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to the Minister’s statement AFFA02/300WT of 29 October 2002 announcing the provision under the Sugar Industry Reform Program of 50 per cent interest rate subsidies over two years on loans of up to $50,000 taken out for replanting purposes:

(1) On what date do applications for these subsidies close.

(2) How many application forms for these subsidies have been distributed to date.

(3) On what date did the application form become available on a Commonwealth website.

(4) On what date did the printed application form become available.

(5) On what date were the first application forms mailed to potential applicants.

(6) To date, how many applications for these subsidies have been: (a) received; (b) rejected; and (c) approved.

(7) What has been the total expenditure by the Commonwealth on these subsidies to date.

(8) What is the total projected expenditure on these subsidies under the Sugar Industry Reform Program.

1396  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to the Minister’s statement of 10 September 2002 (reference AFFA02/233WT) announcing the provision of short-term income support measures to help stabilise the industry and to help those in immediate need:

(1) How many applications had been received from cane farmers for these measures as at 31 December 2002 and as at 31 March 2003.

(2) How many applications from cane farmers had been approved for these measures as at 31 December 2002 and as at 31 March 2003.

(3) How many applications from cane farmers had been rejected for these measures as at 31 December 2002 and as at 31 March 2003.

(4) How many applications had been received from cane harvesters for these measures as at 31 December 2002 and as at 31 March 2003.

(5) How many applications had been approved for cane harvesters for these measures as at 31 December 2002 and as at 31 March 2003.

6) How many applications from cane harvesters had been rejected for these measures as at 31 December 2002 and as at 31 March 2003.

(7) What has been the total expenditure by the Commonwealth on these measures as at 31 December 2002 and as at 31 March 2003 for: (a) cane farmers; and (b) cane harvesters.

(8) What is the total projected expenditure under these measures for: (a) cane farmers; and (b) cane harvesters.

1397  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—

(1) (a) When did the Minister become aware that the CSIRO plant laboratories in Canberra were suspected of being infected with wheat streak mosaic virus; (b) who advised the Minister; and (c) how was the Minister advised.

(2) (a) When did the Minister become aware that the CSIRO plant laboratories in Canberra were confirmed as being infected with wheat streak mosaic virus; (b) who advised the Minister; and (c) how was the Minister advised.

(3) When did CSIRO first suspect that its plant laboratories in Canberra were infected with wheat streak mosaic virus.

(4) With reference to the suspicion by CSIRO that its Canberra or other plant laboratories were infected with wheat streak mosaic virus (i.e. before the virus was confirmed as being present in the Canberra laboratories in April 2003): (a) what actions were taken by the Commonwealth (and on what dates) to advise the following stakeholders: (i) rural industry peak bodies, (ii) state government agriculture ministers and/or their departments, (iii) individual growers, (iv) appropriate government agencies within overseas trading nations, and (v) any other stakeholders; and (b) in each instance: (i) who was advised, and (ii) how were they advised.

(5) Did the Department advise Plant Health Australia (PHA) of CSIRO’s suspicion that wheat streak mosaic virus may be present in its Canberra or other plant laboratories; if so, when and how was PHA advised.

(6) With reference to the confirmation by CSIRO that its Canberra plant laboratories were infected with wheat streak mosaic virus: (a) what actions were taken by the Commonwealth (and on what dates) to advise the following stakeholders: (i) rural industry peak bodies, (ii) state government agriculture ministers and/or their departments, (iii) individual growers, (iv) appropriate government agencies within overseas trading nations, and (v) any other stakeholders; and (b) in each instance: (i) who was advised, and (ii) how were they advised.

(7) Did the Minister’s Department advise Plant Health Australia (PHA) of CSIRO’s confirmation that wheat streak mosaic virus was present in their Canberra or other plant laboratories; if so, on what day and how was PHA advised.

(8) With reference to the suspicion by CSIRO that its Canberra plant laboratories were infected with wheat streak mosaic virus (i.e. before the virus was confirmed as being present in April 2003) what actions were taken by the Commonwealth to trace the destination of plant seeds or other plant material from CSIRO plant laboratories in Canberra.

(9) With reference to the confirmation by CSIRO that its Canberra plant laboratories were infected with wheat streak mosaic virus: (a) what actions were taken by the Commonwealth to trace the destination of plant seeds, or other plant material from CSIRO plant laboratories in Canberra; and (b) can a list of confirmed destinations be provided.

(10) On what date did the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) commence investigations to determine the source of the suspected introduction of wheat streak mosaic virus into the CSIRO Canberra plant laboratories.

(11) (a) What actions were taken by AQIS to determine the source of the introduction of wheat streak mosaic virus into the CSIRO Canberra plant laboratories; and (b) what was the outcome of those enquiries (if completed).

(12) If AQIS has not completed its investigations, when are those investigations likely to be concluded.

1399  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to the Minister’s statement AFFA02/300WT of 29 October 2002 announcing that a “levy will be placed on all domestic sugar sales (for manufacturing, food service and retail uses) at 3 cents a kilogram for approximately 5 years” (sugar tax) and that exports of refined sugar will be exempt from the levy, and that a rebate will be available for sugar used in manufactured products for export (sugar tax rebate):

(1) How many Australian companies or other enterprises are currently paying the sugar tax.

(2) For each of the 5 years of its proposed existence, what is the total projected amount to be collected under the sugar tax.

(3) How much has been collected under the sugar tax to date.

(4) How many Australian companies or other enterprises have applied for a sugar tax rebate to date.

(5) For each of the 5 years of its proposed existence, what is the total projected amount to be repaid to Australian companies or other enterprises under the sugar tax rebate.

(6) What steps is the Commonwealth taking to monitor the effect of the sugar tax on Australian companies or other enterprises in terms of: (a) international price competitiveness of Australian manufactured products which use sugar as an input; (b) employment growth or decline within Australian manufacturing sectors which produce goods which use sugar as an input; (c) the increase or decrease in sugar imports by Australian manufacturing sectors which produce goods which use sugar as an input; (d) the increase or decrease in sugar exports by Australian manufacturing sectors which produce goods which use sugar as an input; (e) the substitution of sugar with non-sugar products by Australian manufacturing sectors which produce goods which normally use sugar as an input; and (f) the substitution within the Australian market of the consumption of manufactured sugar bearing products manufactured in Australia with imported manufactured sugar bearing products.

(7) What is the department’s current estimate of how much the sugar tax will cost to administer for: (a) the department; and (b) industry.

(8) What is the department’s current estimate of how much the sugar tax rebate will cost to administer for: (a) the department; and (b) industry.