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Notice given 29 September 2003

2173  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry— With reference to the changes in seed cleaning arrangements detailed in Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) Public Quarantine Alert PQA0266, Cleaning of contaminated seed consignments in rural areas:

(1) What steps have been taken to consult with representations of the seed industry, including, but not limited to, importers, growers and peak bodies, in developing these changes.

(2) What steps have been taken to communicate with representatives of the seed industry, including, but not limited to, importers, growers and peak bodies, to ensure they were aware of these changes.

(3) What work has been conducted or commissioned by the department or other Commonwealth agencies to determine: (a) potential and actual changes in costs experienced by seed importers, breeders and end users as a result of these changes, and what are the results of this work; (b) p otential and actual time delays experienced by seed importers, breeders and end users as a result of these changes, and what are the results of this work; (c) potential and actual extra costs borne by the Commonwealth as a result of these changes, and what are the results of this work; and (d) potential and actual closure of or job losses at AQIS-approved seed cleaning facilities in rural areas as a result of these changes, and what are the results of this work.

2175  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—

(1) When was the Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) Office established.

(2) For each year since its establishment, or for each of the past 5 financial years, whichever is the lesser period, what has been: (a) the posted staffing contingent in full-time equivalents; (b) the actual staffing contingent in full-time equivalents; (c) the projected Commonwealth expenditure for operating the office; (d) the actual Commonwealth expenditure for operating the office; (e) the projected number of customer transactions to be undertaken; and (f) the actual number of customer transactions undertaken.