Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document


Previous Fragment    Next Fragment

Notice given 28 November 2003

2413  Senator Mackay: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—What is the impact on Australia Post of the ongoing delays to the construction of the gateway facilities in Sydney and Melbourne.

2414  Senator Mackay: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—

(1) What costs have been incurred to date in the Federal Court case in which Justice Conti found that Australia Post had breached the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 by refusing to allow an employee to sit on a stool whilst performing counter duties.

(2) What costs are likely to be incurred in the future in defending a policy that the court has found to be discriminatory.

(3) What action has been taken to ensure that Australia Post removes its unlawful ‘no chairs at retail counters’ policy and complies with its legal obligations under the Act.

2415  Senator Mackay: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—

(1) Can the Minister confirm that Telstra’s basic access revenue increased by $211 million to $3.091 billion during the 2002-03 financial year following large line rental increases, despite the number of Telstra basic access lines decreasing from 10.4 million to 10.1 million; and (b) given that call costs do not appear to have decreased, does this represent a $200 million increase in Telstra’s profits.

(2) Can the Minister confirm that local call revenue decreased by $76 million to $1.567 billion, or approximately 5 per cent, in the 2002-03 financial year and the number of billable local calls also decreased by around 5 per cent  from 10.269 billion to 9.794 billion; and (b) does the similar revenue and volume decrease in local calls indicate that Telstra is not passing on reduced local call costs in 2002-03, as required by the price controls which require local call prices to decrease together with other call costs.

(3) Given that Telstra’s annual report apparently indicates that Telstra is making a windfall out of line rental increases, and that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has already raised doubts about whether Telstra is complying with price controls, will the Minister investigate whether Telstra is complying with their already generous price control arrangements.

2416  Senator Mackay: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—

(1) Can information be provided about Telstra’s faxstream business product.

(2) Can the Minister confirm that this service was particularly fault ridden in 2002.

(3) Has Telstra sold or outsourced this service; if so: (a) was there any tender or public notice advising potential suppliers or buyers; and (b) who was the successful contracted supplier or buyer of the service.

2417  Senator Mackay: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—

(1) Does Telstra have an automatic credit limit for all consumer accounts; if not, why not.

(2) In the absence of credit limits on standard phone accounts, how can Telstra prevent customers inadvertently running up huge thousand dollar plus bills on premium rate services.

(3) Given that the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman’s annual report showed an increase in landline credit control complaints of 82 per cent in the 2002-03 financial year, what strategies does Telstra have for improving its credit control practices.

2418  Senator Mackay: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—

(1) Given that under the Telecommunications Act 1997 Telstra is obliged to provide an interception capability and to be transparent and release information about who is responsible for interception technology: which individual or organisation currently provides the technology and systems maintenance that enables Telstra to meet its obligations under the Act.

(2) Has any other company previously undertaken this function for Telstra.

(3) For the past 3 financial years, can details be provided of contractual or other financial relationships between Telstra and those providing an interception capability.

2419  Senator Mackay: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—

(1) Can the Minister confirm newspaper reports of July 2003 that Telstra staff had their individual call centre performance records displayed on white boards for all staff to see.

(2) Are Telstra call centre staff electronically monitored for toilet breaks and personal calls, as suggested in these newspaper reports.

(3) Are Telstra call centre staff working to targets that require them to end customer calls as quickly as possible; if so, what are those targets; if not, can an explanation be provided of why Telstra employees often disconnect calls without giving customers the opportunity to thank them for providing a number or change a direction when a customer uses the premium 12456 call connect service.

(4) (a) What proportion of Telstra customer service call centre staff are in-house Telstra employees; and (b) what proportion of this work is outsourced to private companies.

(5) Is any Telstra telephone customer service work outsourced overseas; if so, can details be provided.

2420  Senator Mackay: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—Can information be provided about all Special Broadcasting Service staff who have travelled overseas during the past 2 years, including the cost, purpose and duration of such travel.

2421  Senator Mackay: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—

(1) When does the Government plan to reintroduce the Communications Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2) into the Senate.

(2) Given that Ms Catherine Smith of the Attorney-General’s Department stated during the inquiry by the Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Legislation Committee into the Communications Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2003, that the intention of the bill was not to disconnect individuals’ phone services: will the Government consider the recommendation in the committee’s minority report that the provisions of the bill that potentially enable the Government to disconnect individuals’ telephone services be redrafted.

2422  Senator Mackay: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—

(1) (a) What is the timetable for the Government to review the number of television licenses in operation; and (b) has the Government yet formed a view on whether there is a need for a fourth commercial television licence in Australia.

(2) (a) How many households are currently using digital television; and (b) what percentage of total households does this represent.

(3) What action, if any, does the Government intend to take in order to accelerate the uptake of digital television.

(4) (a) When will the scheduled review of multi-channelling occur; and (b) will the Government consider allowing commercial television stations to multi-channel.

(5) Will the Minister reconsider the decision of the previous Minister to dismiss the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s recommendation in its recent report on pay television, that Telstra divest itself of its interest in Foxtel; if not, why not.

2423  Senator Mackay: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—Has the review of the adequacy of local news and information programs in regional Australia been completed; if so: (a) has the board of the Australian Broadcasting Authority considered any report arising from the review; if so, what were the main findings of the review; and can details be provided of any recommendations and how these recommendations will be implemented; if not, when is this review expected to be completed; and can details of the review’s findings and recommendations be provided.

2424  Senator Mackay: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—

(1) Has the relevant research and report of the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) in relation to the codes of conduct for commercial radio been completed.

(2) Has the ABA commenced consultations with Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) in relation to the report.

(3) When will CRA commence public consultation on the proposed revised codes.

(4) Will CRA be providing details of the public consultation process and its results to the ABA; if so, when will the ABA receive this information.

(5) Does the ABA still expect to register the revised codes early in 2004; if not, when does the ABA anticipate will this occur.

2425  Senator Mackay: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—For the period January to October 2003, can details be provided of travel undertaken by Professor Flint in his capacity as head of the Australian Broadcasting Authority, including: (a) dates; (b) destinations; (c) appointments; and (d) purpose of the travel.

2426  Senator Ludwig: To ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General—

(1) Is the department aware of any criticism of the Legal Aid Needs Study conducted by John Walker Consulting Services and Rush Social Research on behalf of the department; if so, can details of the criticism be provided.

(2) Is the legal aid funding model derived from the Legal Aid Needs Study subject to review; if so: (a) which organisation or individual  is conducting the review; and (b) when will it be completed.

(3) Has any new research into a revised legal aid funding model been commissioned since the John Walker Consulting Services and Rush Social Research study; if so: (a) when was the research commissioned; (b) which organisation or individual is conducting the research; and (c) what is the cost of the research.

(4) If research into a new legal aid funding model has not been commissioned, why not.

2427  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Heritage—

(1) In the past 5 years, what funding and support has been given to: (a) the fluorocarbon industry and associated groups; and (b) the natural refrigerant industry and associated groups.

(2) Is it viable to phase out hydrofluorocarbons; if not, why not.

(3) What programs are in place to promote the transition to natural refrigerants.

2428  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Heritage—With reference to the national industry board proposed for the refrigeration and air conditioning industry which is to administer the new licensing system established under the ozone protection legislation:

(1) (a) What is the process for selecting an existing industry organisation to take on the role of a national industry board; and (b) when will the board be established.

(2) Is it correct that the Australian Greenhouse Office called for expressions of interest but rejected all except the National Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Council; if so, why were the other organisations rejected.

(3) What roles will the national industry board have; will its role include responsibility for managing or advising on the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gases Account or allocation of any funding.

(4) Will the national industry board be required to include representation from all industry sectors, including natural refrigerants and community organisations representing the environment and consumers; if not, why not.

2429  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Heritage—With reference to the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gases Account:

(1) Will funding from this account be used to assist and advance the natural refrigerants industry.

(2) Will funding from this account be used to assist and advance techniques to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and reduce the need for airconditioning.

(3) (a) Who are the members of the advisory committee for the existing Ozone Protection Reserve; and (b) who will advise on the distribution of funds from the new account.

2430  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Heritage—With reference to the National Refrigeration and Airconditioning Council (NRAC):

(1) (a) What targets and milestones was NRAC required to meet under its Greenhouse Gas Abatement grant; and (b) can details be provided of how each target or milestone has been met.

(2) Can a breakdown be provided of how the $3.6 million grant has expended.

(3) What are NRAC’s current and future sources of funding, apart from the government grant.

(4) Given that there are many industry groups already in existence, why did the Government decide to use greenhouse abatement funds to establish a new organisation.