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Notice given 24 November 2006

2830  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—

(1) Has the Minister read the report in the July 2006 edition of Australian Aviation which records the Chief Executive Officer of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Mr Bruce Byron as saying ‘I am keen to outsource some of CASA’s regulatory service functions’.

(2) Which regulatory functions does Mr Byron want to privatise.

(3) When did Mr Byron consult the Minister on his privatisation plans.

(4) What is the timetable for the implementation of Mr Byron’s privatisation agenda.

2831  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the claim by the Chief Executive Officer of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), Mr Bruce Byron, at the Corporate Governance in the Public Sector conference on 20 April 2004, that he had the agreement of the then Minister (Mr Anderson) to hold a formal meeting ‘at least every two months’ on the basis that regular structured communication is an essential element in ensuring CASA’s governance arrangements operate successfully:

(1) On what dates have regular formal meetings involving Mr Byron, the Minister and the Secretary of the department been conducted.

(2) If regular formal meetings have been abandoned, can the Minister advise: (a) when; and (b) why these meetings were abandoned.

2832  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—

(1) Is the Minister aware that the Chief Executive Officer of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), Mr Bruce Byron, told a safety conference in November 2006 that when he joined CASA in 2004 ‘there were a lot of people, highly competent in their technical fields, who had risen up the hierarchy to management positions, but were simply out of their depth as managers’.

(2) How did Mr Byron measure the performance of CASA management before concluding his managers were ‘out of their depth’.

(3) Is the Minister aware that Mr Byron claims that only one member of CASA’s current management team was at CASA when Mr Byron joined the authority.

(4) For each of the years to date since Mr Byron’s appointment, how many CASA managers have left the authority.

2833  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—Can copies be provided of all Civil Aviation Safety Authority Chief Executive Officer (CEO) directives relating to surveillance of Transair and the Lockhart River tragedy, including CEO directives 001/2006 and 002/2006.

 

 2834  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—

(1) Can the Minister confirm that Mr Alan Bradbury, an employee of Minter Ellison, sent an e-mail to Mr Steve Prothero, an officer from the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS), on 11 November 2004 relating to a claim for compensation by Marnic Worldwide Pty Ltd.

(2) Can the Minister confirm that Mr Bradbury requested that all records relating to the above import permit be identified and secured: (a) if so: (i) how many files were located, (ii) did these files include records of e-mails and telephone contacts with Marnic, (iii) how were they secured, and (iv) where were they secured; and (b) if not, why not.

(3) Did Mr Bradbury request that any AQIS staff that had discussions with Marnic should make sure they have detailed records of their conversations for the AQIS file.

(4) Can the Minister confirm that all AQIS staff that had discussions with Marnic made detailed records of their conversations with the company: (a) if so: (i) how many records of conversation were recorded, (ii) were all these records lodged in the appropriate file, and (iii) what period do the records cover; and (b) if not, why not.

(5) Were officers employed by Biosecurity Australia also required to make records of conversations with Marnic: (a) if so: (i) how many records of conversation were recorded, (ii) were all these records lodged in the appropriate file, and (iii) what period do the above records cover; and (b) if not, why not.

2835  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—

(1) Did Ms Jane Parlett, an officer of the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS), send an e-mail to Dr Robert Heard, an employee of Biosecurity Australia, at 8.58 am on 12 November 2004, concerning a claim for compensation by Marnic Worldwide Pty Ltd.

(2) Was the subject of the email ‘Never use frozen sea foods, daphnia, tubifex etc, which had not been irradiated by gamma-rays’.

(3) Did the e-mail refer to an article that, according to Ms Parlett, made it clear that marine worms may contain pathogens.

(4) Did the e-mail refer to the website www.seame.com/uk/illness.html .

(5) Was the information contained on this website the basis of the science used by AQIS and BA to cancel the Marnic permit to import marine worms.

(6) Can the Minister confirm that: (a) this website is an Internet shop for aquarium and pond products; (b) the marine worms referred to on this site are aquarium blood worms; (c) these worms are the larvae of the midge fly and are used as aquarium fish feed; (d) tubifex worms are earth worms that are also used as aquarium fish feed; (e) daphnia are water fleas; and (f) none of the worms referred to by Ms Parlett, which all require irradiation by gamma-rays because of disease risk, has any relevance to the worms Marnic sought to import which were to be used for recreational fishing.

 

 (7) If there was advice based on scientific evidence, other that the above website referred to by Ms Parlett, that led to the cancellation of Marnic’s import permit and related specifically to the species of marine worms identified in the original import permit provided to Marnic by AQIS: (a) when was that advice prepared; (b) who prepared the advice; (c) what form did that advice take; (d) to whom was that advice provided; (e) when was it provided; and (f) can a copy be provided of that advice.

(8) If there was advice based on scientific evidence, other that the above website referred to by Ms Parlett, that led to the cancellation of the Marnic permit that did not relate specifically to the species of marine worms identified in the original import permit provided to Marnic by AQIS but related to another species of worms: (a) what species of worms; (b) when was that advice prepared; (c) who prepared the advice; (d) what form did that advice take; (e) to whom was that advice provided; (f) when was it provided; and (g) can a copy be provided of that advice.

2836  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—

(1) Can the Minister confirm that Ms Patricia Thornhill, an officer of the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS), was contacted by representatives of Marnic Worldwide Pty Ltd by telephone on 21 October 2004, to discuss amendments to an import permit issued to that company in February 2004.

(2) Can the Minister confirm advice in the answer to question on notice no. 1633 paragraph (2)(a) (Senate Hansard , 10 May 2006 p. 170) that Marnic submitted a request to vary the competent authorities listed on the above permit to AQIS on 22 October 2004.

(3) Can the Minister confirm advice in the answer to question on notice no. 1633 (2)(b) that the above request was forwarded by AQIS to Biosecurity Australia (BA) on 26 October 2004.

(4) (a) When did AQIS first contact BA in response to the Marnic request on 21 October 2004; (b) who made that contact; (c) in what form was the contact made; and (d) what was the name of the BA officer contacted.

(5) Can the Minister confirm that an email was sent by Ms Thornhill, Senior Assessing Officer, Biological Unit, AQIS to Dr Robert Heard in BA on 8 November 2004.

(6) Did Ms Thornhill advise Mr Heard that she planned to retrieve the original file relating to the Marnic permit application in order to determine whether any advice had been sought from BA about the permit application.

(7) Did Dr Heard respond to this email; if so: (a) when did he respond; (b) how did he respond; and c) what was the nature of his response.

(8) (a) Can the Minister confirm that Ms Kylie Challen, an officer of AQIS, emailed Dr Heard at 3.09 pm on 8 November 2004, advising that there was no evidence on the Marnic file of advice from BA; and (b) did that email provide a list of the species of worms covered by the import permit.

(9) Did Dr Heard respond to this email; if so: (a) when did he respond; (b) how did he respond; and (c) what was the nature of his response.

(10) On what day, and at what time, was the AQIS Marnic file provided to Dr Heard.

(11) On what date was the Marnic import permit formally revoked.

 

 2837  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—

(1) Can the Minister confirm that Ms Parlett, an officer of the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS), sent an email to Dr Robert Heard an employee of Biosecurity Australia (BA) at 8.58 am on 17 November 2004.

(2) In that email did Ms Parlett seek advice from Dr Heard in relation to a decision by AQIS to amend an import permit issued to Marnic Worldwide Pty Ltd to import marine worms, to require irradiation by gamma-rays at 50kGy based on advice from BA.

(3) Why did Ms Parlett seek clarification of the basis for amending the Marnic import permit from Dr Heard.

(4) Is it the case that the permit had been amended to require irradiation by gamma-rays on 8 November 2004, based on advice from Dr Heard in an email sent to Ms Kylie Challen from AQIS, and copied to Ms Parlett, at 4.03 pm on that day.

2838  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—

(1) Did Minter Ellison write to the legal firm Talbot Oliver on 19 November 2004 in relation to the claim by Marnic Worldwide Pty Ltd for compensation following the withdrawal of a permit issued to that company by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) for the importation of marine worms.

(2) Did that letter say that AQIS had been informed that marine worms could be irradiated without loss of their consistency.

(3) Was the advice to Marnic based on information provided to AQIS by Steritech Pty Ltd, a company that provides gamma irradiation services in Australia.

(4) Did the above advice from Steritech Pty Ltd refer AQIS to a website for a British company called Tropical Marine that provides fish food.

(5) Can the Minister confirm that the species of worms Marnic was seeking to import, and the purpose to which those worms were put, did not relate in any way to the marine products to which Steritech Pty Ltd referred.

(6) Can the Minister confirm that the marine worms to be imported by Marnic were for use by recreational fishers but the worms, and other marine products, being gamma irradiated by Steritech Pty Ltd were for use as aquarium fish feed.

(7) If the advice to Talbot Oliver by Minter Ellison that marine worms could be irradiated without a loss of consistency was not based on information provided by Steritech Pty Ltd: (a) what was the scientific basis for that advice; and (b) who provided that advice to AQIS.