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Notice given 20 June 2007

3376  Senator Crossin: To ask the Minister for Community Services—With reference to the Red Tape Removal and Funding Reform branches of the department:

(1) For the 2006-07 financial year, for each branch: (a) how many full-time staff are employed in the branch; (b) how is departmental funding provided to it; (c) how much funding for programs or projects is administered by it; and (d) can a list be provided of activities it undertook and the outcomes it achieved.

(2) In regard to the Red Tape Removal branch, is it the case that consultants have been sent into some Indigenous community organisations to assess and address the issue of red tape; if so: (a) can a list be provided of all community organisations that have benefited from this assistance; (b) what work have the consultants undertaken, or what work do they expect to undertake; and (c) what is the total cost of consultancy fees and associated departmental fees incurred by the initiative.

3377  Senator Faulkner: To ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister—

(1) With reference to the transcript of evidence given to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee estimates hearing on 30 May 2007 concerning the own-motion review to be conducted by the Commonwealth Ombudsman into the allegations that the Department of Defence (‘the department’) was warned of the dangers of poor maintenance of HMAS  Westralia prior to the fatal fire in May 1998, is there a term of reference for that review or is it the case that, as stated by the department on 30 May 2007, that the Ombudsman ‘would not be limited by any terms of reference or scope of matters that Defence referred to them’ (FAD&T Committee Hansard , 30 May 2007, p. 33P).

(2) Will the Ombudsman review:

(a) the complaints made by Bailey’s Diesel Services to the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) which were referred to the Inspector-General of Defence in late 1997;

(b)  the conduct and outcome of investigations made into that complaint by the joint Australian Federal Police and Inspector-General (AFP/IG) investigation which is alleged to have reported on or about 6 February 1998, based on the tape recording of interviews with Bailey’s Diesel Services now acknowledged by the department;

 

 (c) investigations made by others in the department into similar complaints prior to, or following 6 February 1998;

(d) the maintenance requirements of the Navy with respect to quality assurance by original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s) and their Australian agents;

(e) the alleged exclusion of Bailey’s Diesel Services from all Navy contracts for the maintenance of fuel injection pumps since 2001;

(f) the record of engine maintenance of HMAS Westralia prior to the fire of May 1998 and the quality assurance of repairs including non-genuine replacement parts in the fuel supply system;

(g) the evidence given to and the findings of: (i) the Board of Inquiry, and (ii) the Western Australian Coroner’s inquiry into the deaths caused by the fire on the Westralia ; and

(h)  the provenance of the alleged minute of the AFP/IG report which was the subject of questioning at the estimates hearing, and the processes within the Inspector-General’s Office and the department more broadly in the management of this matter since late 1997.

(3) Is it within the powers of the Ombudsman to recommend the reopening of either the Board of Inquiry or the Western Australian Coroner’s inquest or to recommend a further inquiry with greater power.

(4) Does the Ombudsman have power to seek evidence from non-Commonwealth entities, such as contractors and subcontractors to the Navy responsible for engine maintenance; if not, what measures will the Ombudsman take to ensure that all relevant evidence is sought and considered.

(5)  When is it intended that the review be completed.

3378  Senator Faulkner: To ask the Minister for Justice and Customs—

(1) (a) On what date was it decided that Operation Majorca be tasked to take over the investigations being conducted by a joint Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Inspector-General of Defence investigation into a range of matters concerning theft, fraud, and corruption within the Defence National Stores Distribution Centre (DNSDC), as well as allegations made by Bailey’s Diesel Services of Unanderra, New South Wales, of unsafe practices in the maintenance of Navy ships; (b) by whom; and (c) with what ministerial approval.

(2) (a) Which officers were appointed and who was in charge of the operation; (b) to whom were reports made; (c) which ministers were advised of progress of the investigation; (d) when did the operation close; and (e) what were the specific outcomes.

(3) Which Department of Defence officials were appointed to assist the investigation.

(4) Did the investigation team receive all the reports, interview tapes and all other documents already gathered on the DNSDC and Bailey’s Diesel Services allegations; if so, where are they now held.

(5) Did the investigation team also interview Bailey’s Diesel Services about its allegations; if so, does a tape recording and transcript exist and where are they located.

 

 (6) Did the investigation team interview anyone in the Navy on the Bailey’s Diesel Services allegations; if so: (a) who was interviewed; (b) when; and (c) what documentary evidence was obtained.

(7) Is the running sheet of the investigation into the Bailey’s Diesel Services allegations still in existence; if so: (a) where is it held; and (b) will it be made available to the Commonwealth Ombudsman as part of the review to now be conducted into this matter.

(8) Is there an evidence register of documents received by the AFP in Operation Majorca; if so: (a) are there any documents on it supplied by Bailey’s Diesel Services; and (b) how are they titled.

(9) (a) What records still exist in the AFP information system, PROMIS, on Operation Majorca; and (b) will they be made available to the Ombudsman as part of the review of the allegations made by Bailey’s Diesel Services.

(10) Was technical advice sought by the AFP investigation team on the Bailey’s Diesel Services allegations, particularly with respect to the maintenance of diesel fuel injection pumps; if so: (a) from whom; (b) when; and (c) is there a record of that advice; if not, on what basis were the findings made that Bailey’s Diesel Services’ allegations were unfounded, as referred to at the estimates hearings of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee on 30 May 2007.