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Notice given 13 February 2008

271  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing—

(1) What data is collected on the: (a) incidence and incidence rate trends for primary non-malignant and malignant brain tumours; and (b) outcomes of treatment options for primary non-malignant and malignant brain tumours.

(2) Are clinical practice guidelines for the management of non-malignant and malignant brain tumours available.

(3) What steps, if any, does the Government propose to take to improve knowledge about non-malignant and malignant brain tumours and best practice treatment.

272  Senator Bob Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to the decision to destroy the ancient forest in Weld River coupe WR15F:

(1) (a) What is the necessity for the planned deforestation; and (b) what alternatives are available.

(2) (a) What buffer will be kept between logging and the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area; and (b) how will this be managed.

(3) (a) Does this buffer or lack thereof, accord with World Heritage respect and values; and (b) have World Heritage experts agreed with this; if so: (i) who are the experts, (ii) what is their complete advice, and (iii) when was it given.

(4) (a) What areas of the coupe will not be logged; (b) why; and (c) on whose advice.

(5) Will Gunns Limited be a receiver of wood products from the coupe; if so: what volume and percentage of the commercial wood will go to Gunns Limited.

(6) Has the Minister inspected logging in the World Heritage value forests of the Weld; if so, when; if not, why not.

 

 (7) Will the Minister, as part of his portfolio responsibilities, visit the Weld River coupe WR15F to ensure Tasmania’s World Heritage values are not contravened in any way while the current Minister is in office.

273  Senator Bob Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government—Is it the case that flight attendants on domestic and international flights for Jetstar Airways may be required to work 12-hour shifts or, in extenuating circumstances, 24-hours shifts; if so, what are the implications for passenger safety; if not, what time limits apply to the shifts of flight attendants and flight crews on: (a) domestic flights; and (b) international flights for airlines in or entering Australia.

274  Senator Bob Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts—With reference to the proposed Gunns Limited pulp mill: will the mill burn wood to produce electricity; if so: (a) what quantities of greenhouse gases will be produced by the mill’s furnace; and (b) will the electricity produced be sold as ‘green power’ or as environmentally friendly; if so, will native forest wood be used.

275  Senator Bob Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts—With reference to the proposed Gunns Limited pulp mill:

(1) Over the life of the mill, how many tonnes of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, will be produced.

(2) Can the Minister specify how this production of gases will be offset, either by activities outside the premises of the pulp mill or other means.

276  Senator Bob Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts—

(1) What agreements were made between scientists on the panel which assessed Gunns Limited’s pulp mill and the Government.

(2) If an agreement of concurrence on any other matter relating to the Chief Scientist’s report to the Minister was made: (a) what were the full terms of the agreement; (b) who signed it; and (c) when was it signed.

277  Senator Bob Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts—

(1) (a) What discussions have taken place between the Minister and the Prime Minister, or their relevant offices or departments, relating to the involvement of the Chief Scientist, Dr Jim Peacock, and his appointment or the assessment of Gunns Limited’s pulp mill; and (b) when did these discussions take place.

(2) In what way, and when, was the Prime Minister informed of Dr Peacock’s role, after his appointment to assess Gunns Limited’s pulp mill.

278  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government—

(1) (a) How many ex-military aircraft are registered in Australia, by aircraft-type, by state/territory; and (b) how many of these aircraft are engaged in commercial operations, by aircraft-type, by state/territory.

(2) Can an outline be provided of the regulatory regime that governs the operation of ex-military aircraft registered in Australia engaged in: (a) non-commercial; and (b) commercial operations.

 

 279  Senator Bartlett: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) ‘MOU on Handling and Slaughtering of Australian Live Animals’ signed on 3 October 2006 by the former Minister and the Egyptian Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, Mr Amin Ahmed Abaza:

(1) Does the MOU relate to all animals exported from Australia to Egypt.

(2) Can the Minister confirm that there is no distinction made in the MOU in regard of agreed terms for the treatment of Australian sheep, for example whether they are sent to abattoirs or sold privately for home slaughter.

(3) (a) Can the Minister confirm that, in Egypt, no enforceable legislation exists to prohibit cruelty to animals, within slaughterhouses or elsewhere, or to ensure that the conditions of the MOU are complied with; and (b) given that there is a lack of animal protection laws and that significant animal welfare issues are documented in Egypt, on what basis did the Minister believe that the conditions of the MOU would be complied with.

(4) Can the Minister confirm that the former Minister and departmental officials were advised by representatives of Animals Australia, prior to the signing of the MOU, that the treatment and handling of sheep in Egypt did not comply with World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines due to the prevalent practice of on-selling to private buyers and the inept and unregulated handling and slaughter practices that are used, even in major abattoirs, in Egypt.

(5) What assurances about animal welfare standards in Egypt, if any, were made to the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, and to the Australian Government, prior to the granting of an export permit for a consignment of approximately 40 000 sheep from Australia to Egypt in October and November 2006.

(6) Can the Minister confirm that the former Minister was advised, in correspondence from Animals Australia dated 22 November 2006, that the welfare of the first shipment of sheep to Egypt since the signing of the MOU was at risk as the import was specifically for Eid-al-Adha (the ‘Feast of Sacrifice’), the major religious festival during which sheep are sacrificed in the street and in homes; if so: did the former Minister: (a) confirm the information contained in the correspondence; and (b) take action by sending Australian Government representatives to Egypt to monitor the treatment of the sheep that arrived in Egypt in November 2006 in order to assess the adherence to the MOU; if not, why not, given the statement, in the document ‘Frequently asked questions—Live trade export - Egypt on the department’s website, that ‘initial shipments will be closely monitored for compliance with the MOU provisions’.

(7) Prior to the signing of the MOU, was there any assessment conducted by the Australian Government of market places, abattoirs, transport or handling standards in Egypt, and particularly any assessment of likely adherence to OIE animal welfare guidelines, and therefore the MOU, in regard to sheep; if so, can details of these assessments be provided.

(8) What assurances were made, by either Mr Abaza or other representatives of the Government of Egypt, to Australian Government representatives in regard to the enforcement of the animal welfare provisions detailed in that MOU, and in particular the adherence to the OIE guidelines for the humane treatment and slaughter of Australian livestock.

 

 (9) Given that during additional estimates hearings of the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee in February 2007, Mr Craig Burns, Executive Manager of the International Division of the department, stated, under questioning about the MOU, that the ‘focus’ is on the way Australian animals are treated in ‘abattoirs and official handling facilities’ (Committee Hansard , 14 February 2007, p. 57P) in Egypt, and that the footage aired on television of the Animals Australia investigation related to ‘leakage from that official system’ (p. 56P), can the Minister confirm that: (a) in Egypt no official slaughter and handling system is in place for sheep; and (b) for each of the years 2004, 2005 and 2006, Australian sheep have only been exported from Australia to Egypt in the lead-up to the Eid-al-Adha religious festival, and that a large proportion of these sheep are likely to be privately transported and slaughtered.

(10) Given the eye witness, video and photographic evidence, gathered by Animals Australia in Cairo in December 2006, that show multiple and consistent breaches of the OIE guidelines, and therefore the MOU, what measures has the Government taken to investigate the documented breaches.

(11) What measures can the Australian Government take to compel compliance with welfare requirements within an MOU, apart from refusing to supply livestock.

(12) (a) What assurances, if any, has Egypt provided that any other shipment of animals from Australia to Egypt will be treated humanely; and (b) if such assurances have been made, does the Minister believe that the conditions of the MOU will be complied with in future given that the Egyptian Government has no capacity to enforce the conditions of the MOU in slaughterhouses or in private premises.

(13) What further measures will the Australian Government put in place to ensure, and to assure the Australian public, that Australian animals exported to Egypt will be treated in accordance with the OIE guidelines.

(14) Will the Australian Government refrain from issuing any further export permits for animals from Australia to Egypt if no additional and effective measures are in place to protect these animals.

(15) Is the Minister aware that the Egyptian Government Organisation of Veterinary Services Animal Welfare Office has recently renewed its policy and practice of authorising the shooting and use of strychnine on stray dogs in the streets of Cairo.

(16) Given that the Australian Government has, in recent years, negotiated MOUs with Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Eritrea and Jordan on the trade in live animals which relate to the agreed off-loading of animals into the importing country in the event of a suspected disease issue, and were intended to protect against a rejection of Australian livestock similar to the Cormo Express incident and given the breaches of the MOU between Australia and Egypt that have been acknowledged in public statements by the Minister, and the apparent disregard by Egypt of the MOU, what confidence does the Minister have that similar MOUs entered into with the remaining countries will be honoured in the event of a suspected major on-board disease event.

(17) Will the Australian Government report the failure of the Egyptian Government to adhere to the minimum animal handling and slaughter guidelines to the OIE.

 

 280  Senator Campbell: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Finance and Deregulation—With reference to the Commonwealth Fleet Management Agreement:

(1) Can a break-down be provided of all vehicles owned or leased by the Commonwealth Government under the Fleet Management Agreement, including: (a) the total number of vehicles; (b) vehicle type (e.g. sedan, wagon etc); and (c) user (e.g. department, authority etc).

(2) Can a copy be provided of the Fleet Management Agreement.

(3) Under the Fleet Management Agreement, does the Commonwealth have any say over the type of vehicles that are used.

(4) Can full details be provided of any vehicles owned or leased by the Commonwealth which are not covered by the Fleet Management Agreement.

281  Senator Webber: To ask the Minister representing the Treasurer—Are banks with an Australian banking licence permitted to hold data or records on accounts in associated banks or subsidiaries domiciled in known tax havens.

282  Senator Webber: To ask the Minister representing the Assistant Treasurer—

(1) What action is the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) taking against the directors of Westpoint Corporation Pty Ltd.

(2) Is the Minister aware of any proposed legislation or amendments that would have prevented the actions of the Westpoint directors.

(3) Is the Minister aware of any representation made by ASIC to have legislation amended that would have prevented mezzanine finance deals similar to those employed by Westpoint.

(4) Did ASIC believe that Westpoint mezzanine funds were regulated products.

(5) On what dates did KPMG sign off on Westpoint’s accounts in the past 6 years.

(6) What action did the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) and ASIC take when they first discovered that Westpoint was acting as a bank without a licence.

(7) Why did APRA and ASIC take a long time to realise that Westpoint was breaking the law.

(8) Why has APRA not increased the limits for Financial Industry Complaints Service jurisdiction.

283  Senator Webber: To ask the Minister representing the Treasurer—

(1) Did the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) ever place any restrictions, formally or informally, on Mr Murray Nugent or the companies he was involved with, specifically Reward Insurance Ltd and Australian Home Warranty Pty Ltd, on writing licensed builder home warranty insurance (LBHWI) from 1 July 1999 onwards.

(2) Can the Minister confirm that Mr Nugent continued to write LBHWI through Rewards Insurance Ltd after 1 July 1999.

(3) Can the Minister confirm that APRA has the power to disqualify an individual from holding roles within the Australian insurance industry; if so, why has APRA never moved to disqualify Mr Nugent from operating in the insurance industry.

 

 (4) If Reward Insurance Ltd was under the minimum capital requirements for insurance companies from 2001 onwards, why did not APRA shut the company down.

(5) Can an outline be provided of all investigations, recommendations and directions undertaken and instigated into Reward Insurance Ltd since 1999 by: (a) APRA; and (b) the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

(6) Can the Minister confirm that investigations by APRA and ASIC into Reward Insurance Ltd and Mr Nugent have stalled since May 2005; if so, why.

284  Senator Webber: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts—With reference to the World Heritage nomination of Albany Old Gaol/Amity Heritage Precinct:

(1) Who were the consultants that prepared nomination for the former Government.

(2) Did the consultants identify the Albany Old Gaol/Amity Heritage Precinct as a possible convict settlement site.

(3) Given that the above site is the oldest European heritage precinct settlement in Western Australia, clearly established under convict labour, why was this location not included by the Minister in the nomination.

(4) Given that the Western Australian Government and the city of Albany have already approved icon heritage status to Albany Anzac (with state and federal funding) and the implicit relationship between the Albany Waterfront project and the Residency Museum/Eclipse Museum/Old Gaol Heritage Precinct, was the Western Australian Minister for Housing and Works; Heritage; Indigenous Affairs; Land Information, the Honourable Michelle Roberts MLA and the city of Albany consulted as to the precinct’s inclusion for nomination.

(5) Is the Minister now prepared to include the Heritage Precinct as an addendum to the nomination.