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Notice given 19 July 2006

2229  Senator Bishop: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Defence—With reference to the article ‘Sacked Defence worker alleges cover-up to protect brass’ in the Age of 22 June 2006;

(1) Can the Minister advise the nature of the adverse findings made against two individuals, one Australian Public Service (APS) and one Australian Defence Force (ADF), in relation to the combat fleece jacket investigation by Victorian combat clothing section of the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO).

(2) As adverse findings were made against each of the two members of the DMO, why was the APS employee dismissed, while the ADF personnel member was later found to have ‘no case to answer’.

(3) What was the difference in the adverse findings made against the APS employee and the ADF member.

(4) The APS employee pursued an unfair dismissal application with the Industrial Relations Commission in Victoria: why was this matter settled prior to hearing.

(5) (a) Was legal advice sought by the DMO in this matter; (b) which firm or agency provided advice; (c) what was the cost of the advice; and (d) did legal advice recommend a negotiated settlement in the claim; if not, why was the claim for unfair dismissal settled.

(6) (a) How many applications for unfair dismissal have been made by past employees of the DMO since January 2003; and (b) how many applications have been successful.

(7) For each of the following financial years, in how many instances has the DMO negotiated a settlement in applications for unfair dismissals: (a) 2005-06; (b) 2004-05; and (c) 2003-04.

2230  Senator Bishop: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Defence—With reference to Air Vice-Marshal Criss AM AFC (AVM Criss), who in August 2005 was paid compensation for defective administration, having submitted his claim in October 2002 at the recommendation of the then Chief of Defence Force, Admiral Barrie, following an earlier denial of his Redress of Grievance (ROG) by the Appointing Officer and Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Lieutenant General Mueller:

(1) (a) Did the department, through its delegate, initially increase its original offer; (b) was that new offer further increased by agreement on a handshake to a third figure closer to that sought by AVM Criss; and (c) was that third agreed amount subsequently reduced to a lesser amount than that agreed at the conclusion of the mediation.

(2) Was the revised lesser amount in (1)(c) above contained in the delegate’s ‘final decision’ letter to the claimant dated 20 July 2005.

(3) Prior to issuing the final unilateral decision in the letter of 20 July 2005 was AVM Criss informed by Defence legal staff in May 2005 that mediation was scheduled for one day, Thursday 2 June 2005, with Friday 3 June being set aside for further mediation just in case the matter was not concluded on the first day.

 

 (4) At the commencement of the mediation did the Commonwealth’s delegate declare that he attended with the full authority to commit the Commonwealth to a settlement, advising at the same time that any public apology statement would have to be cleared by the Secretary and the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF).

(5) Early on day one, did the Commonwealth’s delegate increase the pre-mediation baseline settlement offer to a second amount approximately 8.5 per cent above the first baseline figure.

(6) Did the Commonwealth’s delegate request a 4-week adjournment early in the afternoon of the second day after the claimant stated that the salary component of the offered compensation was not correctly calculated.

(7) After the adjournment had been agreed did the Commonwealth’s delegate then table his evidence to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee from three nights earlier, disclosing that he had never intended the two days of mediation to reach a settlement.

(8) When the mediation reconvened in Sydney 4 weeks later in the offices of the mediator, Justice Morling, did the Commonwealth’s delegate once again confirm that he attended with the full authority to commit the Commonwealth to a financial settlement with the same constraints involving the CDF and Secretary for any public statement.

(9) Is it the case that, after additional discussion, the claimant put on the table his bottom line figure for compensation which was approximately 44 per cent higher than the second offer from the Commonwealth.

(10) Did the Commonwealth’s delegate make a counter offer forming a compromise sum midway between the second offer and the claimant’s bid, which the claimant accepted.

(11) Did the Commonwealth’s delegate and the claimant shake hands on the accepted offer, and did the Commonwealth’s delegate advise that the offer was subject to confirmation by the CDF and the Secretary, despite his earlier assertion that settlement authority rested with him.

(12) In relation to that overruling of the delegate’s agreed offer confirmed with a handshake, who directed the delegate not to honour the agreed mediated amount.

(13) Did the incumbent Minister Assisting have any involvement in rejecting the mediated amount.

(14) Why was the amount varied from the mediated agreed amount.

(15) Why did the CDF and the Secretary issue a press release (CPA 209/05) on 22 August 2005 stating that mediation had concluded when no conclusion had been reached because the delegate reneged on the agreed settlement.

(16) Do the Department of Finance and Administration guidelines at Attachment B to Finance Circular 2001/01 relating to compensation for detriment caused by defective administration (CDDA) state, inter alia :

Paragraph 4 - ‘Care should be taken to ensure that the principles of natural justice are applied…’

Paragraph 19 - ‘Each case must be decided on its own merits’.

Paragraph 36 - ‘The overarching principle to be used in determining the level of compensation is to restore the claimant to the position he or she would have been in had defective administration not occurred’.

 

  Paragraph 35 - ‘Offers of compensation to claimants should be calculated on the basis of what is fair and reasonable in the circumstances and in consideration of the fact that the Commonwealth should not take advantage of its relative position of strength in an effort to minimise payment’;

if so, can the Minister explain or confirm:

(a) why the member was only compensated for a loss of salary component previously determined in an ROG Defence Department rejected report dated 29 June 2001; and

(b) if an incorrect reference was used as the basis for the compensation calculation used and, if so, (i) why, and (ii) was rectification made of any incorrect reference used, and if not, why not.

(17) Was there supporting documentation tabled with the CDDA claim that clearly detailed that the member would have been in contention for the CAF selection process in June 2005; if so, what was the basis for the delegate’s unilateral decision of using March 2003 as the selected separation date for the officer from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

(18) Do the CDDA guidelines, at paragraph 39, relating to the payment of interest, state: ‘…where the agency’s actions and /or notification for defective administration were unreasonably protracted … interest on damages may be payable…’; if so, given that AVM Criss submitted his ROG in March 2001, and given that the Department of Defence compensated the member in August 2005 an amount recommended for payment in a June 2001 report, and given that the member submitted his CDDA claim in October 2002, can the Minister explain why the member was denied the payment of interest on the money withheld by the department for over 4 years.

(19) In relation to the Investigating Officer’s Report into AVM Criss’s ROG: (a) was that investigation undertaken by a retired rear admiral and a retired Supreme Court judge; (b) were excerpts quoted in the Blick report into the same matter; and (c) is the Blick report a document now in the public domain through the Sydney Morning Herald website.

(20) (a) Why is the ROG report into the Criss complaint a protected document; (b) what is the legal basis of that protection; (c) what penalties apply to those who release its contents; and (d) if the report is quoted in the Blick report what is the need to continue to protect it from public scrutiny.

(21) Is the purpose of continuing to protect the ROG report on AVM Criss from public scrutiny to protect past senior ADF officers who were found by the inquiry to have been negligent and complicit in a conspiracy to remove AVM Criss from office.

(22) (a) What criticism was made in the ROG report of the actions and behaviour of senior officers involved in removing AVM Criss from office; (b) what recommendations were made about counselling them or disciplining them; and (c) what action , if any, was taken.

(23) (a) What criticism was made in the Blick report of the actions and behaviour of senior officers involved in removing AVM Criss from office and his subsequent handling; and (b) what actions have been taken, if any, regarding their questionable conduct.

 

 (24) (a) In each of the past 5 years, how many ROG reports have been released publicly in full or in part; and (b) what was the reason for release in each case.

(25) Does the Blick report quote the ROG inquiry into the grievance of AVM Criss as follows:

‘The investigation officer’s findings concerning the precise nature of AVM Criss’s grievance were:

i.  Air Marshal McCormack removed Air Vice-Marshal Criss from the position of Air Commander, Australia without abiding by any of the provisions of DI(AF)PERS 4-19;

ii.  The allegation that Air Marshal McCormack exceeded his authority by advising Air Vice-Marshal Criss he was going to be removed from the Air Force does not arise for determination. An intention was never implemented;

iii.  The serious double allegation that Air Marshal McCormack misrepresented his dealings with Air Vice-Marshal Criss subsequent to their 10 March 2000 meeting to protect his position (or stance) has not been distinctly made or, more particularly, clearly proved. The allegations are rejected; and

iv.  Air Marshal McCormack failed to provide an annual performance assessment on Air Vice-Marshal Criss in March 2000 in the form required by DI(G)PERS 37-1.

(26) Does the Vice Chief of the Defence Force (VCDF) 38/01 letter and attached decisions matrix, dated 16 October 2001, by LTGEN Mueller, also quote from the ROG inquiry into the grievance of AVM Criss as follows:

1.04 General Findings and Recommendations:

i. DI(AF)PERS 4-19 was wholly relevant to the issues raised in the Redress of Grievance by Air Vice-Marshal Criss

ii. For all members of the RAAF, cases of accordance with DI(AF)PERS 4-19; but that in the case of Air Vice-Marshal Criss, the Chief of Air Force ignored these requirements

iii. The way in which Air Vice-Marshal Criss was removed from the position of Air Commander, Australia denied him procedural fairness in the context of DI(AF)PERS 4-19

iv. Air Marshal McCormack denied Air Vice-Marshal Criss the right to make representations or to be heard by failing to compile a Star Rank Appraisal and Development Report for his period of service as Air Commander, Australia; and by denying Air Vice-Marshal Criss the opportunity to read and make representations about the letter report on Air Vice-Marshal Criss submitted to the Chief of the Defence Force on 27 March 2000.

v. The career prospects of Air Vice-Marshal Criss may have been damaged by the failures of his Program Managers to render Star Rank Officer Appraisal and Development Reports on him in accordance with DI(G)PERS 37-1.

vi. The necessity to remove Air Vice-Marshal Criss from the position of Air Commander, Australia is not substantiated by the reasons advanced by the Chief of Air Force for his act in so doing.

 

 vii. Air Vice-Marshal Criss has no legal entitlement to apology by way of redress. It is not for this investigation to determine whether an apology should be tendered (either public or private) as this would seem to be a matter that involves questions of policy.

viii. Any remedy of grievance for Air Vice-Marshal Criss and the particular reasons for it should be made public.

ix. The Inquiry was unable to find that the act of removing Air Vice-Marshal Criss from the position of Air Commander, Australia actually denied him the chance of promotion to Three Star Rank

x. An award of compensation is the appropriate means of redressing the wrong done to Air Vice-Marshal Criss. The amount should take account of the considerations in sub-sections 3.073 and 3.077, of this report.

1.05 Findings and Recommendations concerning Removal from Command

i. Air Marshal McCormack made the decision at a meeting with the Minister for Defence on 3 March 2000 because he had, over time, lost confidence in Air Vice-Marshal Criss as a senior Air Force Commander in the sense explained in this report.

ii. Air Marshal McCormack took the decision on dubious grounds and without taking proper account of his commendable performance as Air Component Commander in the Australian Theatre Command during the successful East Timor operations

iii. Very little of the evidence or other information used in making the decision was disclosed to Air Vice-Marshal Criss and he was not afforded the opportunity to be heard in respect of the decision to remove him

iv. Air Marshal McCormack abused his authority by failing to follow the requirements of DI(AF)PERS 4-19 and Air Vice-Marshal Criss was denied procedural fairness

v. A substantial amount of compensation should be paid to redress this ground for grievance. The award of this compensation and the reasons for its (sic) should be made public.

1.06 Finding concerning Exceeding Authority Removal from Air Force

i. In the terms asked in the question, this matter does not arise. Any alleged intention to remove Air Vice Marshal Criss from the Air Force under the MIER process or any other process was not implemented.

1.07 Finding concerning Misrepresentation

i. The investigation does not accept that either or both allegations have been established.

 

  1.08 Findings and Recommendations concerning Performance Assessment

i. Air Vice-Marshal Criss has not received any formal performance assessment report in his current rank. Three informal performance assessment reports have been compiled but he received none of these from those who reported on him. He has subsequently been given a copy of one of these informal reports.

ii. Notwithstanding the considerations in sub-section 3.043 and 3.044 of this report, including the entitlement of the complainant to receive a Star Rank Officer Appraisal and Development report for his period of service as an Air Vice-Marshal, no realistic purpose would be served by retrospectively producing a document for this period of service as Air Commander, Australia.

iii. There is no reason why a Star Rank Officer Appraisal and Development Report on Air Vice-Marshal Criss should not be prepared by the Vice Chief of the Defence Force for his period of service since 8 May 2000.

iv. The personal and professional consequences for the complaint (sic) of not receiving formal or informal performance assessment reports are that he has been denied the opportunity of making representations about these reports directly to those who wrote them; and he has been judged ‘capable but not competitive’ for promotion to Three Star Rank without those making the judgement having available to them valid performance assessment reports on which to make such a judgement.’;

if so: (a) were any of the findings of the ROG not referred to in the above mainly supportive of AVM Criss’s complaints; and (b) were other recommendations of a procedural nature made in the ROG report.

(27) Did the ROG report recommend the award of substantial compensation to AVM Criss to redress the wrong it obviously concluded that he had suffered.

(28) Did the Blick report recommend that the ROG Inquiry Report be regarded as an annex to the Blick report; if so, why was that not done and who made that decision.

(29) Did the Blick report reveal that a Defence Legal Service officer expressed concern to a colleague regarding the VCDF’s intention to rely on second-hand oral evidence from a legal officer when that same lawyer had put in writing that he was not of the view attributed to him in the verbal evidence.

(30) Did that Defence Legal Service officer describe the VCDF’s actions as being ‘quite shonky’.

(31) Does the Blick report reveal that in April 2002 CDF Barrie informed the Defence Legal Service that he was now of the view that he supported the Doolan/Abadee ROG findings; if so: (a) why did Defence continue to support the VCDF’s decision to overturn all the ROG findings that were in AVM Criss’s favour; (b) why was the member instructed to submit a claim for defective administration when the department had already conducted a comprehensive investigation and that the CDF had indicated that he now supports AVM Criss’s appeal against the incorrect decisions made by the Appointing Officer - VCDF - Lieutenant General Mueller; (c) is it not the case, as revealed by the Blick report, that by 24 April 2002 the department was in a position to admit that the AVM Criss ROG grievances were proven and that the member should have been immediately compensated; and (d) why was the member forced to submit a CDDA claim and wait a further three and half years to receive compensation.

2231  Senator Bishop: To ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister—With reference to Air Vice-Marshal Criss AM AFC (AVM Criss) and the recent Defence Department’s unilaterally determined compensation amount, and given the advice at Paragraph 50 of the compensation for detriment caused by defective administration (CDDA) guidelines that, ‘Advice on the right of review by the Ombudsman should be provided to all claimants’:

(1) Why, when AVM Criss specifically stated that he did not agree with the delegate’s final unilateral decision and that he would seek independent review on 17 areas of concern, did the Defence Force Ombudsman (DFO) refuse to investigate.

(2) In light of the recent evidence by the DFO and his deputy to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee that his organisation refers complaints back to the department if he believes that the same department has a robust investigating process, and in the light of the findings of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee in its report on military justice that the inquiry process is fatally flawed: (a) how is the DFO’s attitude defended; and (b) what does this mean for his so called independence.

(3) Did the Senate committee report on military justice recommend the abolition of the DFO; if so, why did the Government not accept that recommendation.

(4) Given the advice at Paragraph 51 of CDDA guidelines that ‘In order to protect the interests of the Commonwealth, compensation under the scheme should only be paid where the claimant agrees in writing not to pursue legal action in relation to the circumstances of the claim’, and given AVM Criss’s strict compliance with this requirement, why did the DFO subsequently rule that because the member signed the release and indemnity the matter was closed and that he would not investigate the member’s appeal against the CDDA delegate’s unilateral decision.

(5) Given that Defence Instruction (General) Personnel 34-1, paragraphs 26 and 27 and the Department of Finance and Administration’s Attachment B to Finance Circular 2001/01 both give specific guidance on a serviceman’s rights to appeal to the DFO, why was the basic and fundamental natural justice entitlement of an appeal to the DFO denied to AVM Criss by Professor McMillan and his deputy.

(6) Given the DFO decision not to investigate AVM Criss’s concern with regards to the decision of the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force, as detailed in his written request to the DFO, how can any serviceman obtain an independent and impartial review of decisions taken by internal Defence Department bureaucrats on matters as serious as those raised by AVM Criss.

 

 (7) In light of recent DFO evidence before the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee, in which it was disclosed that the DFO can refuse to investigate a complainant’s appeal despite the complainant following all due processes in bringing an unresolved CDDA matter before the DFO: (a) can details be provided of where Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel can go to obtain an independent review of an internal departmental unilateral decision; and (b) does the Prime Minister expect ADF personnel to fund their own civil law suits in an attempt to obtain military justice.

2232  Senator Bishop: To ask the Minister for Finance and Administration—

(1) Do the Department of Finance and Administration guidelines at Attachment B to Finance Circular 2001/01 relating to compensation for detriment caused by defective administration (CDDA) state, inter alia :

Paragraph 4 - ‘Care should be taken to ensure that the principles of natural justice are applied…’

Paragraph 19 - ‘Each case must be decided on its own merits’.

Paragraph 36 - ‘The overarching principle to be used in determining the level of compensation is to restore the claimant to the position he or she would have been in had defective administration not occurred’.

Paragraph 35 - ‘Offers of compensation to claimants should be calculated on the basis of what is fair and reasonable in the circumstances and in consideration of the fact that the Commonwealth should not take advantage of its relative position of strength in an effort to minimise payment’;

if so: (a) why was Air Vice-Marshal Criss AM AFC (AVM Criss) recently only compensated for a loss of salary previously determined in a Redress of Grievance Defence Department rejected report dated 29 June 2001; (b) was the department consulted in the process of the Defence Department delegate making his decision in the AVM Criss case; if so, how many times was the department consulted, and (c) who holds the delegation for the administration of CDDA within the Department of Defence.

(2) Do the CDDA guidelines at paragraph 39 relating to the payment of interest state: ‘…where the agency’s actions and/or notification for defective administration were unreasonably protracted… (interest on damages may be payable…’, if so, given that AVM Criss submitted his Redress of Grievance in March 2001, and that the Department of Defence compensated the member in August 2005 an amount recommended for payment in a June 2001 report, and given that the member submitted his CDDA claim in October 2002, can the Minister explain why the member was denied the payment of interest on the money withheld by the Department of Defence for over 4 years.

2233  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs—

(1) How many maternity payments have been made to women to date in each of the following age groups: (a) 15 years or younger; (b) 16 years; (c) 17 years; (d); 18 years; and (e) 19 years.

(2) For each of the calendar years 1996 to 2005, what is the rate and number of pregnancies in Australia.

 

 (3) How does Australia’s rate of teenage pregnancy compare with other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and development (OECD) countries.

(4) How does Australia’s rate of teenage mothers engaged in education compare with other OECD countries.

(5) For each of the calendar years 1996 to 2005, how many grandparents were primary carers of grandchildren.

(6) What is the Government’s position on teenage pregnancy.

(7) Is there a Government Policy on teenage pregnancy; if so, can details be provided.

(8) What, if any, measures are in place to reduce the number of teenage pregnancies in Australia.

2234  Senator Ludwig: To ask the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs—

(1) On what date did Austral Ships first apply for Temporary Business [subclass 457] Visas to bring foreign workers into Australia.

(2) How many visas did Austral request.

(3) (a) On how many subsequent occasions has Austral applied for 457 visas; and (b) on each occasion, how many visas were sought.

(4) (a) What were the skills required by Austral in relation to the above visa applications; (b) how were the skill levels and qualifications of the foreign workers assessed as part of the application process; and (c) how were the skill levels confirmed by the Government prior to visas being issued.

(5) Were the positions linked to the above applications first advertised in Australia; if so: (a) where were these positions advertised; (b) how were they advertised; and (c) on how many occasions were advertisements placed in the media.

(6) Were the above positions advertised online; if so: (a) through which online services were they advertised; and (b) on how many occasions were these online advertisements placed.

(7) Did Austral seek to find Australian workers to fill the above positions through other means; if so, what were the other methods used by the company to identify Australian workers to fill these positions.

(8) How did the Government ensure that the above positions were properly advertised by Austral prior to the approval of the company’s application for 457 visas.

(9) Is there a minimum wage specified by the Government for the above 457 visa holders employed by Austral; if so: (a) what is the minimum wage; (b) is the minimum wage imposed on the company by way of regulation; (c) is the wage linked to an hourly rate of pay or a specified number of hours per week; and (d) how has the Government satisfied itself that the minimum rate is being paid to the above visa holders.

2235  Senator Ludwig: To ask the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs—

(1) When did the engineering company, United Group first apply for Temporary Business [subclass 457] Visas to bring foreign workers into Australia.

(2) How many visas did United Group request.

 

 (3) (a) On how many subsequent occasions has United Group applied for 457 visas; and (b) on each occasion, how many visas were sought.

(4) (a) What were the skills required by United Group in relation to the above visa applications; (b) how were the skill levels and qualifications of the foreign workers assessed as part of the application process; and (c) how were the skill levels confirmed by the Government prior to visas being issued.

(5) Were the positions linked to the above applications first advertised in Australia; if so: (a) where were these positions advertised; (b) how were they advertised; and (c) on how many occasions were advertisements placed in the media.

(6) Were the above positions advertised online; if so: (a) through which online services were they advertised; and (b) on how many occasions were these online advertisements placed.

(7) Did United Group seek to find Australian workers to fill the above positions through other means; if so, what were the other methods used by the company to identify Australian workers to fill these positions.

(8) How did the Government ensure that the positions were properly advertised by United Group prior to the approval of the company’s application for 457 visas.

(9) Is there a minimum wage specified by the Government for the above 457 visa holders employed by United Group; if so: (a) what is the minimum wage; (b) is the minimum wage imposed on the company by way of regulation; (c) is the wage linked to an hourly rate of pay or a specified number of hours per week; and (d) how has the Government satisfied itself that the minimum rate is being paid to the above visa holders.

2236  Senator Ludwig: To ask the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs—

(1) Has Qantas applied for Temporary Business [subclass 457] Visas to bring foreign workers into Australia; if so, how many visas has Qantas requested.

(2) (a) On how many occasions has Qantas applied for 457 visas; and (b) on each occasion, how many visas were sought.

(3) (a) What were the skills required by Qantas in relation to the above visa applications; (b) how were the skill levels and qualifications of the foreign workers assessed as part of the application process; and (c) how were the skill levels confirmed by the Government prior to visas being issued.

(4) Were the positions linked to the above applications first advertised in Australia; if so: (a) where were these positions advertised; (b) how were they advertised; and (c) on how many occasions were advertisements placed in the media.

(5) Were these positions advertised online; if so: (a) through which online services were they advertised; and (b) on how many occasions were these online advertisements placed.

(6) Did Qantas seek to find Australian workers to fill the above positions through other means; if so, what were the other methods used by the company to identify Australian workers to fill these positions.

(7) How did the Government ensure that the positions were properly advertised by Qantas prior to the approval of the company’s application for 457 visas.

 

 (8) Is there a minimum wage specified by the Government for the above 457 visa holders employed by Qantas; if so: (a) what is the minimum wage; (b) is the minimum wage imposed on the company by way of regulation; (c) is the wage linked to an hourly rate of pay or a specified number of hours per week; and (d) how has the Government satisfied itself that the minimum rate is being paid to the above visa holders.

2237  Senator Ludwig: To ask the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs—

(1) How many Long Stay Migrant [457] Visas have been issued to foreign workers employed in the red meat processing sector by: (a) month; (b) year; and (c) employer.

(2) Has the Government set a minimum hourly rate for foreign workers holding 457 visas who are employed in the red meat processing sector in line with the Government’s ‘Work Choices’ amendments to the Workplace Relations Act 1997 ; if not: (a) on what basis has the Government determined that the minimum pay rates provided for under the program should be inconsistent with the Work Choices amendments that apply to Australian workers in the red meat processing sector; (b) what is the minimum rate of pay that applies to these workers; (c) how was that rate determined; (d) to what hours of work does the minimum rate apply; and (e) how is the payment of the minimum rate enforced.

(3) Does the Long Stay Migrant Visa Program provide for a reduction in the minimum rate of pay for 457 visa holders employed in regional centres; if so, is the reduction in the minimum rate for these workers set at a specific level or is the rate determined by the specific circumstances of an employer.

(4) If the minimum rate of pay for 457 visa holders in regional centres is set at a specific level, is that rate specified by legislation, or some other form of legal authority; if not: (a) how is the rate set; and (b) how is compliance with the minimum rate enforced.

(5) If the minimum rate of pay for 457 visa holders employed in regional centres is determined by the specific circumstances of an employer: (a) who determines what the rate of pay will be; (b) who monitors the payments to these workers to ensure that they are paid that rate; (c) what is the quantum of the discretion available to determine pay rates in these circumstances; and (e) how is the quantum determined.

2238  Senator Crossin: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations—

(1) (a) When was the South Barkly Aboriginal Corporation in Tennant Creek informed that it would not receive funding for 2006; and (b) how was it informed, was it via telephone, in person or by letter.

(2) (a) When were they formally told in writing; (b) who wrote this letter; and (c) who signed it.

(3) (a) Who made the recommendation to defund this organisation; and (b) where are they based.

(4) (a) Who approved this recommendation; and (b) where are they based.

(5) What were the reasons for this decision.

(6) Had there been complaints about the performance of the organisation; if so, what was the nature of these complaints.

 

 (7) Were there any problems with reporting or other governance issues; if so: (a) what was the nature of these complaints; (b) when were they made; and (c) to whom were they made.

(8) What action was taken to advise the organisation of any problems and when.

(9) For the years 2005 and 2006 to the date of defunding, listed by date and purpose: (a) what meetings did departmental officers have with the organisation; (b) who instigated these meetings; and (c) who attended.

(10) Was the organisation’s application for funding in 2006 adequate or was it lacking in some area.

(11) Was the organisation informed of any problems with its application; if so: (a) when; (b) by whom; and (c) by what means.

(12) Was the organisation given any assistance to remedy any shortcomings with its application; if so, what was the nature of this assistance and who provided it.

(13) If the organisation was not informed or given assistance, why not.

(14) Was the department aware of the fact that, shortly before the defunding decision, the organisation had a 2-day workshop with the Office of the Registrar of Aboriginal Corporations and had been given a clean bill of health.

(15) For the 2005-06 financial year, what was the organisation’s Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) budget.

(16) For the 2006-07 financial year, what is the budget for the successful applicant, Alpurrurulam Community Government Council (CGC).

(17) What were the factors that made Alpurrurulam CGC a more suitable applicant.

(18) What reasons and evidence does the department have that Alpurrurulam CGC will be better able to deliver this service.

(19) Is Alpurrurulam CGC completely compliant with the Corporations Act 2001 and Northern Territory Local Government Act 1994 (NT).

(20) Can a list be provided, by date and purpose, specifying what meetings took place with Alpurrurulam CGC prior to the decision being made and who attended those meetings.

(21) When, how and by whom was Alpurrurulam CGC told that it was the successful applicant.

(22) Does Alpurrurulam CGC have adequate housing for the additional staff it will presumably need to take on a CDEP of more than 300 participants.

(23) (a) What will happen to the many South Barkly Aboriginal Corporation’s assets; and (b) to whom do they belong.

(24) What legal steps need to be undertaken before, or even if, these assets might be used by the Alpurrurulam CGC to run the South Barkly CDEP.

(25) What transitional arrangements has the department put in place to ensure that existing participants know what is going on, and get all or any monies owing to them.

(26) What were these participants told, when, by whom and how.

(27) What assistance have these participants been given to ensure a smooth transition with minimal disruption to their work and financial affairs.

 

 (28) (a) How many of these participants have been able to sign on to the new CDEP; and (b) how many are now without any paid work or social security.