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Notice given 17 April 2007

3111  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Special Minister of State—Can a list be provided, for each year since 1997, that details the makes and models of all non-standard private plated vehicles approved for senators and members of parliament, and for each make and model, how many vehicles were approved, and what was the Green Vehicle Guide rating attributed to it.

Senator Allison: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 3112-3113)—

(1) What research, if any, is being conducted on deep groundwater mapping in Australia.

(2) What does the Government understand to be the capacity for deep groundwater to provide fresh water supplies for agriculture and urban use in Australia.

(3) Since 2003, what amount of funding has the Government provided for projects to lower the water table as a form of salinity mitigation.

(4) Is it the case that drainage projects to lower the water table are now considered largely ineffective.

 

 (5) (a) What salinity mitigation strategy is considered most effective; and (b) what assessment has been made of the extent, from this form of salinity mitigation, of: (i) dehydration of soils, and (ii) damage to the health of soils.

(6) (a) What research has been conducted on degraded agricultural soil mapping; and (b) what assessment has been made of the extent in compacted and/or degraded soils of: (i) loss of carbon, (ii) loss of microbes and nutrients, (iii) the reduction in the capacity for water storage, (iv) the reduction in the seepage of fresh water from soil into surface dams and river systems, (v) the reduction in deep soil water percolation, (vi) increases in surface runoff from precipitation, and (vii) salination, as caused by the concentration of soil by the lateral flow of water through degraded soil.

(7) What research is being conducted into the science of soil health.

(8) What involvement does the department have with Healthy Soils Australia.

3113 Minister representing the Minister for Education, Science and Training

Senator Allison: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 3114-3115)—With reference to Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) debts:

(1) What would be the annual costs of freezing the Consumer Price Index on the HECS debts of people that are: (a) not in the workforce; and (b) in part time employment.

(2) Is a HECS debt cancelled once a person: (a) reaches the age of 65 years; or (b) dies.

(3) In what circumstances, if any, has, or will, the Government recover a HECS debt from a deceased estate.

3114 Minister representing the Treasurer

3115 Minister representing the Treasurer

Senator Allison: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 3116-3117)—

(1) Is the Minister aware of the study, ‘Comparison of treatment effects between animal experiments and clinical trials: systematic review’, reported in the British Medical Journal of 27 January 2007 (p. 197), which indicates that much biomedical research conducted on animals is of poor methodological quality and that there is a lack of concordance between animal experiments and clinical trials.

(2) Can the Minister give assurances that this is not also the case in Australia; if so, on what grounds can these assurances be made.

3116 Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing

3117 Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing

3119  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing—With reference to the answer to question on notice no. 1086 (Senate Hansard, 3 November 2006, p. 114):

(1) Since the answer was provided, what new contraceptives, including oral contraceptives, have been listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS); if none have been listed, can details be provided of any recommendations which have been made by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee for listing of contraceptives on the PBS, including the current status of any recommendations or applications.

 

 (2) What data is available on the clinical and economic impact of alternative contraceptive methods in regard to side effects and reducing unintended pregnancy.

(3) (a) What factors determine the choice of type and level of use of contraceptives; and (b) are contraceptive prices one of these factors; if so, in what way do they impact on the choice.

(4) What is the average cost of: (a) the different categories of contraceptives covered by the PBS; and (b) contraceptives not covered by the PBS.

(5) What information is available, if any, on the level of: (a) individual expenditure on contraceptives; and (b) public subsidy for contraceptives, available in Australia compared to other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.

(6) How does the cost of contraceptives in Australia compare with other OECD countries.

(7) What evidence is available regarding the cost and rates of use of contraception in different populations.

(8) Is it the case that NuvaRing is not listed on the PBS; if so, why.

(9) What work has the Government undertaken to examine the need for a broader range of cheaper and more accessible forms of contraception as a method of reducing the need for terminations.