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Notice given 8 August 2005

1062  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Heritage—With reference to the St Marys Sewage Scheme Effluent Reuse Project for which funds were granted to the Break O’Day Council under the Commonwealth Natural Heritage Trust Funding in 2002:

(1) Has the Commonwealth grant money been spent in accordance with the grant as approved.

(2) Is there a requirement for an operational contract to be in place.

(3) What are the reporting requirements to the Commonwealth on the ongoing operations of the scheme to evaluate its effectiveness in meeting the project objectives.

(4) If breaches of the grant have occurred what mechanisms exist to either recoup the grant monies or address the problems to ensure the project priorities are met.

1063  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs—With reference to the allegation of harassment of Falun Gong:

(1) Since the year 2000, have members of the Falun Gong approached the Minister and/or the department alleging that Falun Gong members were being harassed in Australia by Chinese Government officials; if so, in what year and approximate month was the first occasion that the Minister and/or the department were approached about the allegations.

(2) Since then, on what dates have Falun Gong members approached the Minister and/or the department, alleging harassment in Australia of Falun Gong members by Chinese Government officials.

(3) Have the Minister and/or officials of the department approached the Chinese Embassy, or other officials of the Chinese Government, asking the Chinese Government to ensure that its officials cease the alleged harassment; if so: (a) on how many occasions; (b) when; and (c) with what response from the Embassy or other officials.

1064  Senator Bishop: To ask the Minister for Defence—

(1) Is the Minister aware of the article in The West Australian of 4 August 2005 entitled, ‘Military explosives left in car’, which reported that explosives were found in an abandoned car and that they were marked with a military serial number.

(2) Were the explosives part of an ongoing investigation of the theft of the ordnance; if so: (a) at what facilities were the ordnance stored; (b) when did the theft take place; (c) when was it reported; (d) who reported the theft; and (e) to which agencies was the report made.

(3) What amount and type of ordnance was taken during the theft and were any other items stolen at this time.

(4) Have all stolen ordnance items been recovered; if not, what types of ordnance are still unaccounted for.

(5) Over the past 5 years, have there been any other incidents of theft at these facilities; if so: (a) when did they occur; and (b) what was taken.

(6) (a) What action has been taken, as a result of the thefts, to improve security at the facilities which are used for ordnance storage; and (b) when were the new security measures put in place.

1065  Senator Bishop: To ask the Minister for Defence—

(1) When will an announcement be made on the successful tenderer for the Defence Headquarters Joint Operations Command in Bungendore, New South Wales.

(2) Can information be provided on the updated time frame for the design process, including: (a) the construction phase; (b) the installation of internal fit-out; and (c) occupation.

(3) (a) What was the original announced cost of the project; and (b) what is the current estimated cost of the project, including: (i) construction, (ii) infrastructure, and (iii) installation of internal fit-out.

(4) What funding commitments will be made by the Commonwealth Government to assist local communities which will be affected by: (a) the construction process; and (b) a fully-operating headquarters.

(5) What funding estimates have been made for road upgrades to: (a) Kings Highway through Queanbeyan and Bungendore; (b) Canberra Avenue, Queanbeyan; (c) other roads in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory which will have increased traffic use due to commuters from the Canberra area; and (d) in particular, the four rural intersections at Weetalabah, Captains Flat Road, the Ridgeway and Regents Drive.

(6) (a) On how many occasions have meetings been held with the Australian Capital Territory Government; and (b) what funding is expected to be provided by the Australian Capital Territory Government for road access from the Australian Capital Territory.

(7) What commitments for road funding have been obtained from the New South Wales Government.

(8) Are the costs of all road funding, transport and community assistance included within the total current estimated cost; if not, why not.

(9) (a) How many Australian Defence Force (ADF) and Australian Public Service (APS) personnel are estimated to be housed in the new complex; and (b) what proportion of these personnel will be required to undertake shift work.

(10) How many ADF personnel employed at the current operations headquarters sites will be required to relocate.

(11) What is the estimated travel time by road from: (a) Canberra Airport compared with the same travel to Russell Hill; and (b) between Russell Hill and the new site.

(12) Given the likely significant relocation of ADF families to the shire, what planning and funding has been allocated to Palerang Council to assist with improvements to local services, including: (a) sporting and leisure facilities; (b) childcare facilities; (c) preschool facilities; and (d) school places.

(13) What plans exist for the purchase and/or construction of housing in the shire by the Defence Housing Authority.

(14) What planning and funding has been allocated for the introduction of a public transport system to service the new headquarters site.

(15) Will ADF and APS personnel who will work at the new site be provided with a transport allowance.

(16) (a) What studies have been completed to investigate claims by the University of Sydney’s Molonglo Radio Observatory that radio frequency interference from the new headquarters will impact negatively on its operations; and (b) what were the findings.

(17) (a) What landscaping of the headquarters site has recently been completed; (b) what types of plants were included; (c) what is the purpose of the trees included in the landscape design; (d) what was the cost; and (e) does the cost of landscaping form part of the overall cost of the project or is it a separate expenditure.

(18) Was recent landscaping undertaken to form a buffer for the increased radio frequency interference from the headquarters; if so: (a) how many years will it take for the trees to adequately provide a buffer to protect the operations of the project; and (b) what other actions have been taken.

(19) (a) What studies have been completed to investigate the impact of aerial spraying by neighbouring properties on the headquarters when it is fully operational; and (b) what are the findings.

1066  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister for the Environment and Heritage—With reference to round 6 of funding under the Australian Government Envirofund for Tasmanian projects:

(1) How does the project ‘Leading Practice Property Management - Residential Developments, East Coast’, awarded to two individual property owners, meet the criterion of ‘a very high public benefit’.

(2) In relation to this project, can funds be used to compensate for site rehabilitation work which has already been completed.

(3) Can funds be used to cover the costs of site rehabilitation work which has been mandated by state resource management planning processes.

(4) Why was funding provided for this project if the apparent ‘public benefit’ element (i.e. a natural resource management planning manual) replicates a manual already produced by a local community group in conjunction with the University of Tasmania.

(5) What projects have received Envirofund funding in the Break O’Day municipality.

(6) What mechanisms exist for monitoring and evaluating local Natural Resource Management co-ordinators to ensure that projects are developed with local land/bush and coast care groups that meet funding objectives and guidelines.