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Notice given 27 November 2003

Senator O’Brien: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 2400-2401)—

(1) For each of the past 5 financial years, from which countries has Australia imported macadamia nuts and in what quantity.

(2) In relation to each country from which Australia currently imports macadamia nuts: (a) what chemicals are used in the production process; (b) what testing regimes are in place in that country for chemical residues; and (c) which agencies undertake these tests before the nuts are exported.

(3) (a) What chemical residue testing regimes are in place in Australia for macadamia nut imports; (b) for what chemicals used in the production process is testing conducted; (c) which agency undertakes these tests; and (d) in relation to each chemical, what sampling rates apply.

(4) Where chemical residue testing on macadamia nuts bound for Australia is conducted by the exporting countries, what action is taken by the Commonwealth to ensure the veracity of the testing.

(5) Can details be provided of any instances in the past 5 financial years where chemical residue testing of macadamia nuts bound for Australia has been found by the Commonwealth to be inadequate.

(6) What penalties or sanctions have been applied to the supplying nation, shipping operator, trader or agency in cases where chemical residue testing of macadamia nuts bound for Australia has been found by the Commonwealth to be inadequate.

(7) In relation to each country from which Australia has imported macadamia nuts, for each of the past 5 financial years: (a) on how many occasions have macadamia nuts bound for Australia been rejected on the basis that chemical residue testing has detected unacceptable levels of chemical residues; and (b) in each case: (i) which chemical was involved, (ii) what was the concentration of the chemical, and (iii) what was Food Standards Australia and New Zealand’s approved level for each chemical at the time.

2400 Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing

2401 Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

2402  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs—Can the Minister confirm that one or two Afghans sent back to Afghanistan from Nauru are now dead; if so, can details be provided.

2403  Senator Mackay: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—How many individuals who accepted redundancy packages from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) during the period 1 January 2000 to 1 January 2002 and who have subsequently returned to the ABC to perform paid work for the broadcaster, on a full-time, part-time, casual, contract, fee-for-service or consultancy basis, returned to the ABC within 12 months of accepting their redundancy packages.

2404  Senator Mackay: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—With reference to the answer to question no. 175 taken on notice during the 2002-03 Budget estimates hearings of the Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Legislation Committee, concerning occupational health and safety issues for contractors and licensees, in which the Minister implied that customers should assist licensees lifting parcels over 16 kg:

(1) What action is taken if the licensee is unable to lift parcels due to age, injury, or pregnancy, and the customer is unable to assist or refuses to assist.

(2) What action is taken if an oversize parcel does not fit in a car or similar vehicle.

(3) How does Australia Post differentiate between what is freight and what is a parcel.

(4) Why does Australia Post accept parcels weighing over 16 kgs, if these are classified as freight, not parcels.

(5) Does Australia Post specify in the contractor’s tender documents the type of lifting equipment that a contractor is required to carry.

(6) Are all parcel contractors required, as part of their contracts, to provide lifting equipment.

(7) Is Australia Post responsible if injury occurs to any of its contractors (licensees or mail contractors).

2405  Senator Mackay: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—

(1) Will any any mail be delivered on the post-Christmas holiday Australia Post has authorised for its staff.

(2) Who will be required to work on the authorised holiday.

(3) Will corporate post offices be open for business.

(4) Will licensees, mail contractors and van drivers be required to work.

2406  Senator Mackay: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—

(1) In how many dispute resolution procedures, using the Office of Mediation Adviser process, has Australia Post been involved in respect of licensees.

(2) What authority to make decisions does Australia Post give its representatives at Office of Mediation sessions.

(3) How much autonomy do Australia Post representatives have in these instances.

2407  Senator Mackay: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—

(1) What is the current policy of Australia Post in relation to the merging of parcel contracts in metropolitan areas.

(2) How many instances of such merged contracts occurred during the 2002-03 financial year; and (b) how many have there been for the 2003-04 financial year to date.

(3) How will these types of mergers affect primary contractors.

(4) What compensation is available to primary contractors for the additional risk arising from being required to employ subcontractors.

2408  Senator Mackay: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—With reference to the answer to question no. 174 taken on notice during the 2002-03 Budget estimates hearings of the Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Legislation Committee: have any Australia Post mail contractors been required to incorporate part-way through a contract; if so, how do mail contractors recoup the costs of incorporation.

2409  Senator Mackay: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—With reference to the recent armed hold-up and consequent death of a customer in the Australian Capital Territory:

(1) How has Australia Post improved security at licensed post offices in the Australian Capital Territory following this incident.

(2) What assistance has Australia Post extended to the deceased’s family.

(3) If costs for security at licensed post offices outweigh the commissions received, what action does Australia Post propose to address this problem.

2410  Senator Mackay: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—

(1) What is Australia Posts’ policy in relation to business centres competing for business with licensed post offices.

(2) Does Australia Post offer any incentives that may encourage customers to move their business from a licensed post office to a business centre.

(3) In the event of a licensed post office losing a customer to a business centre, what compensation is payable for the loss of ongoing business.

2411  Senator Mackay: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—

(1) How much money has Australia Post budgeted for Licensee Advisory Councils, including the national and the six state licensee advisory councils.

(2) What has been the expenditure to date in relation to these councils.

(3) Is the Minister confident that this expenditure represents ‘good value for money’.

(4) Under what item in Australia Post’s budget is this expenditure funded.

2412  Senator Mackay: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—

(1) Can the Minister advise whether Australia Post intends to sell the Old Launceston Post Office building; if so, when, and can the details of the proposal be provided.

(2) Which agents are managing the sale or any remaining tenancy agreements.

(3) (a) What instructions do the agents have; and (b) have these instructions changed in any way in the past 6 months.

(4) Which organisation or individual currently holds the head lease of the building and have there been any negotiations with a new head lease tenant, or with other tenants.

(5) Were there any disputes with or complaints from the former head lease tenant.

(6) Is Australia Post charging management fees.

(7) Are there any plans to extend the occupancy of the Australia Post business centre, if not, why not.

(8) Which organisations or individuals currently occupy other parts of the building.

(9) What maintenance has been carried out on the building in the past 2 years.