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Notice given 10 November 2003

2371  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing—With reference to unreferred general practitioner (GP) attendances, in relation to each electoral division, can the following information be provided for the twelve months ending; (a) 30 September 2000; (b) 30 September 2001; (c) 30 September 2002; and (d) 30 September 2003:

(1) The percentage of attendances that were bulk billed.

(2)  The total number of attendances that were bulk billed.

(3)  The average patient contribution per service (patient billed services only).

(4) The total number of services.

2372  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing—With reference to unreferred general practitioner (GP) attendances, in relation to each electoral division, can the following information be provided for the quarter ending; (a) 30 September 2000; (b) 30 September 2001; (c) 30 September 2002; and (d) 30 September 2003:

(1) The percentage of attendances that were bulk billed.

(2) The total number of attendances that were bulk billed.

(3)  The average patient contribution per service (patient billed services only).

(4) The total number of services.

2373  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing—With reference to unreferred general practitioner (GP) attendances, in relation to each state and territory, can the following information be provided for the quarter ending; (a) 30 September 2000; (b) 30 September 2001; (c) 30 September 2002; and (d) 30 September 2003:

(1)  The percentage of attendances that were bulk billed.

(2) The total number of attendances that were bulk billed.

(3) The average patient contribution per service (patient billed services only).

(4) The total number of services.

2374  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing—

(1) With reference to unreferred general practitioner (GP) attendances, in relation to each Rural and Remote Area (RRMA), can the following information be provided for the 12 months ending; (a) 30 September 2000; (b) 30 September 2001; (c) 30 September 2002; and (d) 30 September 2003:

(i) the percentage of attendances that were bulk billed;

(ii) the total number of attendances that were bulk billed;

(iii) the average patient contribution per service (patient billed services only); and

(iv) the total number of services.

(2) With reference to only those GPs who provided 1000 or more services in the 12 months ending 30 September 2003, can a breakdown by RRMA be provided, in the following bands, of the percentage that bulk billed for unreferred services:  (a) less than 5 per cent; (b) 5 percent to 25 percent; (c) 25 percent to 50 percent; (d) 50 percent to 70 percent; (e) 70 percent to 75 percent; (f) 75 percent to 80 percent; (g) 80 percent to 95 percent; and (h) greater than 95 per cent.

2375  Senator Lundy: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—With reference to the Digital Data Service Special Rebate:

(1) (a) How many people have applied for the rebate; (b) how many applications have been; (i) successful, and (ii) unsuccessful.

(2) How much money has been allocated to this initiative, and of this money, how much has been spent.

(3) Can a table be provided showing the grounds commonly given for rejecting applications and how many times each has been given.

(4) On how many occasions did a rejection occur in an area which currently does not receive an Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) service but is deemed to be potentially capable of receiving this service.

(5) On what grounds would an area be deemed to be potentially capable of receiving an ISDN service, rather than not capable.

(6) On how many occasions has an application for the rebate been denied because an area which cannot currently receive ISDN is deemed to be potentially capable of receiving an ISDN service, rather than not capable.

2376  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Trade—With reference to the proposed free trade agreement with the United States of America:

(1) Is a chapter on trade in services under consideration; if so, which services would be included or excluded.

(2) Are provisions similar to the following articles in the Singapore and Australia Free Trade Agreement under consideration: Chapter 7, Article 4.1, National Treatment; and Chapter 7, Article 11.5, Domestic Regulation.

(3) Is an investor-state dispute resolution mechanism under consideration for disputes relating to trade in services; if so, what form might it take.

(4) What effects could provisions relating to trade in services have on the ability of Australian governments to regulate in the public interest to protect the environment, human health and safety and similar matters.

Senator Brown: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 2377-2378)—With reference to the proposed  free trade agreement with the United States of America:

(1) What impact might the agreement have on Australia’s environment and the ability of Australian governments to protect the environment.

(2) Will the Government conduct an environmental impact assessment on the proposed agreement.

(3) Will the Minister ensure that the precautionary principle is embodied in the agreement.

(4) It is possible that the agreement could affect Australia’s ability to introduce a carbon tax or carbon trading, or to take any other measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; if so, will the Minister ensure that it has no such effect.

2377 Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs

2378 Minister representing the Minister for Trade

2379  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Trade—With reference to the proposed free trade agreement with the United States of America (US) and the possible inclusion of national treatment, expropriation and investor-state dispute resolution mechanisms:

(1) (a) Is the Minister considering the inclusion in the agreement of any or all of these provisions; if so, what form is under consideration for each; and (b) would they be similar to the provisions in Chapter 11 of the North Amercian Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Chapter 8, Article 3, ‘National Treatment’, and Chapter 8, Article 9.1, ‘Expropriation’ in the Singapore Australia Free Trade Agreement.

(2) What impact would each of these provisions have on the ability of Australian governments to regulate in the public interest on matters including protection of the environment and protection of human health and safety.

(3) If there is an ‘expropriation’ provision which includes compensation for US companies, would this give US companies greater rights than companies to challenge Australian laws; if not, how.

(4) What would prevent a free trade agreement with the US giving rise to compensation claims similar to those brought against the Canadian Government under NAFTA by the Ethyl Corporation and S D Myers.