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Notice given 17 November 2006

2770  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the Australian National Audit Office, audit report no. 8 of 2006-07, Airservices Australia’s Upper Airspace Management Contracts with the Solomon Islands Government :

(1) Can the Minister confirm that Airservices Australia declined to provide the department with a copy of legal advice it obtained in March 2002 relating to its capacity to enter into commercial ventures.

(2) Did that legal advice question the capacity of Airservices Australia to enter into commercial ventures in the absence of specific legislative authority.

(3) Can a copy of the legal advice be provided; if not, why not.

(4) Was Airservices Australia empowered by its enabling legislation to enter into airspace management contracts with the Solomon Islands Government in April 1998 and May 2003.

(5) Can details be provided of other documents Airservices Australia has declined to provide to the Minister or to the department relating to its commercial ventures.

2771  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the Australian National Audit Office, audit report no. 8 of 2006-07, Airservices Australia’s Upper Airspace Management Contracts with the Solomon Islands Government :

(1) Can the Minister confirm that for each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002, the Airservices Australia relationship manager suggested to his manager that an internal audit be conducted of various aspects of the administration of the contract, including the practice of making third party payments.

(2) Can the Minister confirm that no internal audit was conducted until July 2003.

(3) Why were the audit proposals ignored for each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002.

(4) Who was the Airservices Australia relationship manager during this period.

(5) Who managed the relationship manager.

 

 2772  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the Australian National Audit Office, audit report no. 8 of 2006-07, Airservices Australia’s Upper Airspace Management Contracts with the Solomon Islands Government:

(1) Which consulting firm undertook the review of Airservices Australia’s internal audit functions in June 2004.

(2) When did the review commence.

(3) How much did the review cost.

(4) Can a detailed outline be provided of the review findings.

(5) Can a copy be provided of the report of the review; if not, why not.

2773  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the Australian National Audit Office, audit report no. 8 of 2006-07, Airservices Australia’s Upper Airspace Management Contracts with the Solomon Islands Government : (a) Can a copy be provided of the following reports relating to Airservices Australia’s administration of the payment of air navigation fees: (i) the July to September 2003 Airservices Australia internal audit report, (ii) the August to October 2003 Airservices Australia, Office of Security Risk Management review report, and (iii) the June to November 2005 Airservices Australia internal audit report; and (b) if copies of any of the reports cannot be provided, why not.

2774  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the finding of the Australian National Audit Office in Audit Report no. 8 of 2006-07 that, until 2006, Airservices Australia reported to the Australian Parliament that the air navigation fee revenue collected on behalf of the Solomon Islands’ Government was held on trust:

(1) Can the Minister confirm that the revenue collected by Airservices Australia under its airspace management contract with Solomon Islands has not been held on trust.

(2) Why did Airservices Australia fail to provide an accurate report to the Parliament about this matter.

(3) Why did the Government not ensure that Airservices Australia provided an accurate report about this matter.

2775  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the answer to question on notice no. 2133 (Senate Hansard , 10 October 2006, p. 166), concerning the airspace management contract between Airservices Australia and the Solomon Islands’ Government:

(1) Can the Minister confirm that all third party payments were requested in writing by either email or letter.

(2) Can a copy of all emails and letters requesting third party payments be provided.

2776  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the answer to question on notice no. 2134 (Senate Hansard , 10 October 2006, p. 167), concerning the airspace management contract between Airservices Australia and the Solomon Islands’ Government:

(1) What advice did Airservices Australia receive about its potential liability in May 2006.

 

 (2) Can an itemised costing be provided of the legal advice worth $22 733 sought and received in May 2006 in relation to the contract.

(3) Has Airservices Australia sought any further legal advice in relation to its management of the contract; if so: (a) when did it seek advice; (b) from whom was advice sought; (c) when was the advice received; (d) what was the nature of the advice; and (e) what did it cost.

(4) Has the Minister’s department sought any legal advice following the tabling of reports by the Australian and Solomon Islands Auditors-General in late 2006; if so: (a) when did it seek advice; (b) from whom was advice sought; (c) when was the advice received; (d) what was the nature of the advice; and (e) what did it cost.

2777  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—

(1) Can details be provided, by financial year since the 1997-98 financial year, of all significant business opportunities within Australia or overseas notified by Airservices Australia to the Minister, including but not necessarily limited to notifications required under section 15(1) of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 .

(2) Can a copy of all written directions provided to Airservices Australia under section 15(3) of the Act be provided.

2778  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the answer to question on notice no. 2135 (Senate Hansard , 10 October 2006, p. 167), concerning the airspace management contract between Airservices Australia and the Solomon Islands’ Government: Can the Minister explain why, if his department has ‘no involvement in the contract’ and Airservices Australia is ‘custodian of all information and documentation relevant to the administration of such agreements as that which exists between it and the Solomon Islands Government’, an extract of the confidential draft report of the Auditor-General of the Solomon Islands was provided to the Minister’s office by Airservices Australia on 28 April 2006.

2779  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the answer to question on notice no. 2129 (Senate Hansard , 10 October 2006, p. 163), which confirms that Airservices Australia has identified and reconciled $2.2 million in third party payments associated with the airspace management contract between Airservices Australia and the Solomon Islands’ Government, can the following be provided: A schedule of all third party payments, by financial year, including: (a) the date of payment; (b) the quantum of payment; (c) the date of purported authorisation by a Solomon Islands official; (d) the form of purported authorisation (for example, letter or email); (e) the name of the Solomon Islands official who purported to authorise the payment; (f) the purpose of the payment; (g) the Airservices Australia officer who authorised the payment; (h) the recipient of the payment; and (i) the form of the payment (for example, cash, cheque, electronic funds transfer—if electronic funds transfer, the account to which the funds were paid).

2780  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the answer to question on notice no. 2131 (Senate Hansard , 10 October 2006, p. 165) concerning airspace management contracts between Airservices Australia and the Government of the Solomon Islands:

 

 (1) Is Airservices Australia a Commonwealth statutory authority incorporated for a public purpose by an Act of the Australian Parliament.

(2) Can details be provided of the precise term or terms of the contracts that would make the release of the contracts to the Australian Parliament unlawful.

(3) Can the contracts be released with the consent of the parties to the contracts; if so, has the Minister sought the consent of the parties to release the contracts.

2781  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the answer to question on notice no. 2132 (Senate Hansard , 10 October 2006, p. 166) concerning the airspace management contract between Airservices Australia and the Government of the Solomon Islands:

(1) When did the review of Airservices Australia’s Performance Enhancement Program, including key performance indicators for officers involved in the administration or management of off-shore activities, commence.

(2) When did the review conclude.

(3) Can an outline be provided of the post-review and pre-review performance indicators.

2782  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the statement by the Minister, on 18 October 2006, in response to the Australian National Audit Office, audit report no. 8 of 2006-07, Airservices Australia’s Upper Airspace Management Contracts with the Solomon Islands Government :

(1) What did the Minister mean when he said ‘I am committed to the findings of the report’.

(2) (a) On what date did the Minister write to Airservices Australia requiring it to review the ANAO report and to provide him with a detailed response; and (b) can a copy of the letter be provided; if not, why not.

(3) (a) On what date did Airservices Australia respond to the Minister’s request; and (b) can a copy of the response be provided; if not, why not.

2783  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), audit report no. 8 of 2006-07, Airservices Australia’s Upper Airspace Management Contracts with the Solomon Islands Government :

(1) Can the Minister confirm that, prior to the receipt of the draft ANAO report, Airservices Australia and the department disagreed on whether airspace allocated to other countries under the Chicago Convention but managed by Airservices Australia under contract, such as the Honiara Flight Information Region, was Australian-administered airspace.

(2) Can the Minister confirm that Airservices Australia and the department have now reached a shared understanding on whether airspace allocated to other countries under the Chicago Convention but managed by Airservices Australia under contract is Australian-administered airspace.

(3) Can: (a) an outline of that shared understanding be provided; and (b) a copy be provided of all advice, including advice from the Australian Government Solicitor, dated 22 September 2006, sought by Airservices Australia and the department in relation to this matter.

 

 (4) For all airspace allocated to other countries under the Chicago Convention but managed by Airservices Australia under contract, can the Minister advise whether the airspace is Australian-administered airspace.

2784  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the Australian National Audit Office, audit report no. 8 of 2006-07, Airservices Australia’s Upper Airspace Management Contracts with the Solomon Islands Government :

(1) Can a copy be provided of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Airservices Australia and the Government of the Solomon Islands, signed in April 1998.

(2) Can an outline be provided of all services provided by Airservices Australia, consistent with the MOU, with the exception of upper airspace management services provided under contract since 1998.

2785  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), audit report no. 8 of 2006-07, Airservices Australia’s Upper Airspace Management Contracts with the Solomon Islands Government : Can the Minister confirm that a file relating to a 2003 review by Airservices Australia’s Office of Legal Counsel of the management of the contract was unable to be located for ANAO examination; if so: (a) how did the file disappear; (b) when did the file disappear; (c) what documents were held on the file; and (d) what efforts were made to locate the file.

2786  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the Australian National Audit Office, audit report no. 8 of 2006-07, Airservices Australia’s Upper Airspace Management Contracts with the Solomon Islands Government : Why did Airservices Australia fail to identify and assess the nature of the relationship established by the revenue collection and repatriation elements of its contract with the Government of the Solomon Islands, including the requirements and conditions that needed to be satisfied in remitting the air navigation fees and its fiduciary duties.

2787  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the Australian National Audit Office, audit report no. 8 of 2006-07, Airservices Australia’s Upper Airspace Management Contracts with the Solomon Islands Government : Did Airservices Australia make third party payments in response to all requests for such payments between the years 1998 and 2003; if not, which requests were refused and, in each case, why were they refused.

2788  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the Australian National Audit Office, audit report no. 8 of 2006-07, Airservices Australia’s Upper Airspace Management Contracts with the Solomon Islands Government :

(1) On what date did the company secretary of Airservices Australia provide advice to the then Minister, Mr Anderson, on allegations of misuse of air navigation revenue published in the Solomon Star in June 2001.

(2) Did the advice to Mr Anderson reveal that Airservices Australia had made payments for the purchase of education, training, equipment repairs and vehicles.

 

 (3) Did the advice address the question of Airservices Australia’s obligations under its contract and/or the legality of third party payments under Solomon Islands law; if not, why not.

(4) Did Mr Anderson seek advice from Airservices Australia about its obligations under its contract and/or the legality of third party payments under Solomon Islands law; if not, why not.

(5) Can a copy be provided of the written advice to Mr Anderson in June 2001; if not, why not.

(6) Did Airservices Australia also provided verbal advice to Mr Anderson in or around June 2001; if so: (a) on what date and (b) was the advice provided over the telephone or at a meeting.

(7) If the verbal advice was provided at a meeting: (a) what was the location of the meeting; and (b) who attended.

2789  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the Australian National Audit Office, audit report no. 8 of 2006-07, Airservices Australia’s Upper Airspace Management Contracts with the Solomon Islands Government : Can an outline be provided of the progress on implementing each of the additional Airservices Australia governance processes outlined on pages 70 to 71 of the report, including the adoption of anti-bribery guidelines.

2790  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the Australian National Audit Office, audit report no. 8 of 2006-07, Airservices Australia’s Upper Airspace Management Contracts with the Solomon Islands Government :

(1) Can the Minister confirm that, despite the contract not authorising cash advances and payments, 17 transactions involving cash advances and payments totalling $28 558 were made with Airservices Australia corporate credit cards between February 2000 and June 2003.

(2) Can full details be provided for each of the 17 corporate credit card transactions.

(3) On what dates was the Airservices Australia relationship manager advised that the credit card transactions were not in accordance with the corporate credit card conditions of use.

2791  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the Australian National Audit Office, audit report no. 8 of 2006-07, Airservices Australia’s Upper Airspace Management Contracts with the Solomon Islands Government :

(1) Can the Minister confirm that performance agreements for Airservices Australia staff have given weight to increasing commercial revenue and developing international business opportunities.

(2) Can a quantitative measure be provided of the performance bonuses paid to Airservices Australia staff associated with the contracts.

2792  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the Australian National Audit Office, audit report no. 8 of 2006-07, Airservices Australia’s Upper Airspace Management Contracts with the Solomon Islands Government : In preparing advice on the authorisation of transactions by Solomon Islands officials in June 2001, why did the Airservices Australia Office of Legal Counsel not consider whether the officials had actual, and not just ostensible, authority.

 

 2793  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the Australian National Audit Office, audit report no. 8 of 2006-07, Airservices Australia’s Upper Airspace Management Contracts with the Solomon Islands Government : Did Airservices Australia advise the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands in September 2003 that it would manage the contract in accordance with the contract’s conditions and would reconcile all financial transactions made under the contract; if so: (a) why has Airservices Australia continued to hold in its bank account air navigation fees that the Solomon Islands Government did not request to be remitted despite the contract requiring fees to be paid to the Solomon Islands Government shortly after the end of each month; and (b) why did Airservices Australia not undertake a reconciliation of all financial transactions until 2005.

2794  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), audit report no. 8 of 2006-07, Airservices Australia’s Upper Airspace Management Contracts with the Solomon Islands Government :

(1) Is the Minister concerned that the ANAO found that ‘at no stage did Airservices Australia seek to satisfy itself that the revenue repatriation arrangements complied with Solomon Islands law and/or provided the necessary transparency to the Solomon Islands Government’.

(2) Why did Airservices Australia fail to satisfy itself that the revenue repatriation arrangements complied with Solomon Islands law and/or provided the necessary transparency to the Solomon Islands Government.

2795  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the Australian National Audit Office, audit report no. 8 of 2006-07, Airservices Australia’s Upper Airspace Management Contracts with the Solomon Islands Government :

(1) Is the Minister aware that the report warns that ‘it is important that Airservices Australia’s commercial focus not overshadow the fact it remains a Commonwealth statutory authority incorporated by an Act of the Australian Parliament for a public purpose’.

(2) Has Airservices Australia permitted its commercial focus to overshadow its statutory responsibilities.

2796  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the Australian National Audit Office, audit report no. 8 of 2006-07, Airservices Australia’s Upper Airspace Management Contracts with the Solomon Islands Government : On what date were Airservices Australia’s internal procedures amended to ensure that, prior to entering into future contracts, Airservices Australia takes necessary steps to identify the requirements and/or conditions that need to be satisfied when collecting and remitting statutory revenue.

 

 2797  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the Australian National Audit Office, audit report no. 8 of 2006-07, Airservices Australia’s Upper Airspace Management Contracts with the Solomon Islands Government :

(1) On what date did Airservices Australia commence consultation with the Solomon Islands Government to ensure that the manner in which Airservices Australia is paid for managing airspace in the Honiara Flight Information Region fully complies with the requirements of the Solomon Islands Constitution.

(2) What action, if any, has been necessary to ensure the manner in which Airservices Australia receives payment is lawful.

2798  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the Airservices Australia Board Governance Manual 2006: Has the Minister issued Airservices Australia with a statement of expectations: (a) if so: (i) on what date, and (ii) can a copy be provided; and (b) if not, why not.

2799  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the Airservices Australia, Gifts and Benefits Policy 2006:

(1) Does the policy provide for the Airservices Australia Office of Legal Counsel to maintain a permanent register of all facilitation payments made by Airservices Australia officers and employees and the circumstances of such payments.

(2) Can a schedule be provided of all facilitation payments made by Airservices Australia officers and employees and the circumstances of such payments since 1998.

2800  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—For each of the financial years 1996-97 to 2006-07 to date, can a schedule be provided containing details of all memoranda of understanding relating to the provision of commercial services entered into by Airservices Australia.

2801  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA): As at 30 September 2006: (a) how many staff are there at each classification level (including executive and senior executive level staff) by business unit, division or branch; (b) what is the average salary of staff at each classification level (including executive and senior level staff) by business unit, division or branch; (c) how many staff were employed under: (i) Australian Workplace Agreements, and (ii) the CASA Certified Agreement 2006-08; and (d) how many staff at each classification level (including executive and senior executive level staff) by business unit, division or branch, have previous service in the Royal Australian Air Force.

Senator O’Brien: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 2802-2804)—

(1) Has the Minister, the Minister’s office, or any department, agency or authority for which the Minister is responsible received any advice from the Solomon Islands Government about its response to findings contained in the special audit into the financial affairs of the civil aviation division of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Development by the Solomon Islands Auditor-General, including the finding that contract breaches by Airservices Australia ‘may warrant action to be taken by the Solomon Islands Government to recover monies from Airservices Australia that were lost through payments made to third parties’; if so, can details be provided.

(2) Is the contract governed by Australian or Solomon Islands laws.

2802 Minister representing the Prime Minister

2803 Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services

2804 Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs

Senator O’Brien: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 2806-2809)—

(1) Can the Minister confirm that in June 2001 the Minister and/or the Minister’s department received a cablegram briefing from the Australian High Commission in Honiara concerning allegations published in the Solomon Star about the misuse of air navigation fees collected by Airservices Australia on behalf of the Solomon Islands Government.

(2) Can the following details be provided: (a) a list of the cablegram recipients, including the Minister and/or departmental officers; and (b) the date the cablegram briefing was received.

(3) Can a copy of the cablegram briefing be provided; if not, why not.

(4) What action has been taken in response to the briefing.

(5) Having received the briefing, why did the Minister not intervene to prevent the continuing payment of air navigation revenue to third parties in contravention of the contract between Airservices Australia and the Solomon Islands Government.

2806 Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services

2807 Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services

2808 Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services

2809 Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services

2810  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs—Can the complete list of recipients of the June 2001 cablegram briefing from the Australian High Commission in Honiara to Australian Ministers and officials concerning allegations published in the Solomon Star about the misuse of air navigation fees collected by Airservices Australia on behalf of the Solomon Islands Government be provided.