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Notice given 8 October 2003

2190  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Heritage—

(1) Since 1996, what funding has the Government provided for research or any projects involving the platypus.

(2) Is the platypus endangered or threatened overall in any of the regions it inhabits; if so: (a) in what way; and (b) what remedy is being sought.

(3) Are any platypuses kept in captivity; if so: (a) where are they; (b) for what purpose are they kept in captivity; and (c) who approved of their capture and why.

2191  Senator Murray: To ask the Minister for Local Government, Territories and Roads—

(1) Is the Minister, in his capacity as Manager of Government Business in the Senate, aware of the following statement made by the Minister for Small Business and Tourism (Mr Hockey) in a Meet the Press interview aired on 14 September 2003: ‘What I do know is the Labor Party and the Democrats are holding up a vast amount of legislation that the Government has put in place in the Senate’.

(2) Does the Minister accept the Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary’s definition of ‘vast’ as ‘immense, huge, very great’.

(3) Can the Minister: (a) provide a list for the Senate of any bill that could conceivably be regarded as being held up, as described by Mr Hockey; and (b) give his reasons for making that judgment.

2192  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Education, Science and Training—

(1) Can details be provided of all renewable energy research and development projects that have received funding from the Australia Research Council since 1 July 1998. 

(2) Can details be provided of all renewable energy research and development projects that have received funding from the Commonwealth since 1 July 1998, other than those projects that have received funding from the Australian Research Council. 

2193  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources—

(1) Is Mr Brian Hallwood, Managing Director of Rio Tinto, a member of a working group that the Minister has asked to provide advice to the Howard Government on Australia’s energy policy.       

(2) Has the Government asked an employee of Rio Tinto or any other corporation in the energy or resources sector to provide advice to the Government on Australia’s energy policy; if so: (a) who was asked; (b) what was asked; and (c) was the person offered payment for the advice.

2194  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Heritage—Can details be provided of all renewable energy research and development projects that have received funding from the Australian Greenhouse Office since 1 July 1998.

2195  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing—With reference to the article in the Melbourne Herald Sun of 3 October 2003, ‘Mobiles Lacking Radiation Research’, and in particular, remarks made by Dr Colin Roy, Director of the non-ionising radiation branch of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency: Does the Government intend to fund a replication of the Dutch study in Australia; if not, why not. 

2196  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Heritage—With reference to the Australian Antarctic Division’s proposed Air Transport System (ATS): Has the initial environmental evaluation (IEE) for the operation of CASA 212 aircraft on the intra-continental segment of the proposed ATS been concluded; if so, why was it not made available for public comment; if not, why has the Australian Antarctic Division committed $66 million over 12 years to operate CASA 212 aircraft on the intra-continental segment of the system before the IEE has been completed.

2197  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Heritage—With reference to the Australian Antarctic Division’s proposed Air Transport System (ATS):

(1) Can the Minster confirm that once the sea ice melts from mid-to late December onwards, the aircraft will have to operate on the ice plateau about 30 kilometres from the Davis station; if so, is the only means of transport from the skiway to the station by helicopter.

(2) What is the projected number of helicopter flights transporting passengers and cargo from the skiway to the station.

(3) What is the projected quantity of fuel that will have to be transported to the skiway, including that needed for intra-station flights and for science and other operational related flights.

(4) What will be the impact on wildlife and the environment from these helicopter flights.

2198  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Heritage—With reference to the Australian Antarctic Division’s proposed Air Transport System (ATS):

 (1) Does the ATS require on the construction of a rock and gravel runway at Davis station in order to operate successfully; if so, why has the proposal to construct this runway not been included in the environmental assessments and public consultation relating to the ATS.

(2) Given that both the current proposed ATS and a rock and gravel runway proposal would cause environmental damage, is the construction of this runway for intra-continental aircraft at Davis station a more or less efficient, safe and environmentally damaging system than that proposed under the ATS; if so, why; if not, why not.

(3) If the current ATS proceeds, does the Australian Antarctic Division rule out seeking environmental approval for a rock and gravel runway now or in the foreseeable future; if not, will the Minister rule out approving such a runway proposal.

(4) Given the uncertainty surrounding a possible rock and gravel runway, will the Minister establish an independent evaluation of the ATS, with particular reference to the Davis Plateau link, to determine whether the link as proposed is flawed and should not proceed.

2200  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Heritage—

(1) In relation to the 2002 agreement between the Commonwealth and Queensland, that the total number of spectacled flying-foxes to be killed in accordance with state permits/licences in the 2002-03 fruit season would not exceed 1.5 per cent of the agreed national population estimate for the species, what population estimate was used for spectacled flying-foxes in the 2002-03 fruit season. 

(2) In relation to the 2002 agreement between the Commonwealth and Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, that the total number of grey-headed flying-foxes to be killed in accordance with state permits/licences in the 2002-03 fruit season would not exceed 1.5 percent of the lowest agreed national population estimate for the species, what population estimate was used for grey-headed flying-foxes in the 2002-03 fruit season. 

(3) In relation to the Commonwealth announcement, that the same co-operative flying-fox management and conservation approach implemented by the states and Commonwealth in 2002 be instituted for the 2003-04 fruit season: What population estimate will be used for: (a) spectacled flying-foxes; and (b) grey-headed flying-foxes; in the 2003-04 fruit season.

(4) What funding has the Commonwealth allocated for the preparation of the recovery plan for: (a) the spectacled flying-fox; and (b) the grey-headed flying-fox.

(5) What funding has the Commonwealth provided for: (a) the establishment of nets on fruit farms to protect fruit crops from flying-foxes; (b) research into the conservation status of grey-headed flying-foxes, spectacled flying-foxes and any other species of flying-foxes that are suspected to be at risk of extinction; and (c) research into non-lethal methods of protecting fruit crops from flying-foxes.

(6) With reference to the answer to question on notice no. 1833 (Senate Hansard , 7 October 2003, p.15768), in which the Minister stated that the Commonwealth is supporting national population counts for spectacled and grey-headed flying-foxes, can further details be provided concerning: (a) the population counts that are being conducted, including who is responsible for the counts, and where these are being carried out; and (b) how the Commonwealth is supporting the national population counts, including details of any funding provided by the Commonwealth.

(7) Given the fact that, when a female flying-fox that is nursing a juvenile is killed, the juvenile is also likely to die, will the Minister consider amending the Administrative Guidelines for grey-headed and spectacled flying-foxes to ensure that killing a member of either of these species during the peak birthing season is a controlled action for the purposes of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

(8) Can information be provided concerning the natural mortality rates of grey-headed and spectacled flying-foxes; if so, can this information be provided no later than 5 pm on Wednesday, 15 October 2003.