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Notice given 19 February 2008

*285  Senator Milne: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government—

(1) What action is being taken to ensure current and future road and rail infrastructure developments are placed in areas that will not be subject to coastal flooding or inundation due to climate change.

(2) What subsidies currently apply for road freight transport.

(3) What action is being taken to ensure that large freight vehicles pay the full cost of their road use.

(4) Will the transport budget be re-allocated to give a greater share of funding to rail and intermodal freight structure and reduce the share of road transport.


 *286  Senator Milne: To ask the Minister for Climate Change and Water—

(1) (a) Will the 2008 National Inventory Submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) contain results and data from the FullCAM model, as produced by the National Carbon Accounting System (NCAS); and (b) will the submission be based on data from 2006.

(2) Will the NCAS, or the FullCAM model on which it is based, be calibrated with the latest carbon stock numbers for mature native forests, as found in studies such as ‘Assessing the carbon sequestration potential of managed forests: a case study from temperate Australia’ (Roxburgh et al, 2006) and ‘Growth modelling of Eucalyptus regnans for carbon accounting at the landscape scale’ (Dean et al, 2003).

(3) (a) What age class data on ‘managed native forests’ will be used in the FullCAM model; and (b) will this age class data be available to the public.

(4) (a) What expansion factors will be used to determine emissions from logging operations; and (b) on what scientific references are these expansion factors based.

(5) (a) Will the soil carbon affected by harvesting in the model be used in the National Inventory Report for 2008; and (b) what scientific references and data sources are used to calibrate the effect of the harvest of native forests on soil carbon.

(6) Given that Australia’s inventory will be scrutinized by the UNFCCC and the Marrakech Accords, which state that inventories should be ‘neither over- nor underestimated as far as can be judged’, can the Government confirm that the inventory will not underestimate emissions for Article 3.3 deforestation for the states for 2006.

*287  Senator Milne: To ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General—With reference to the series of bushfires that began burning on or about 6 December 2006 on the east coast of Tasmania, seriously damaging a number of areas, especially the Four Mile Creek district:

(1) Given Forestry Tasmania’s statement that the ignition point was a campfire lit by tourists at the Griffin Park picnic site contradicts local community reports that the forest around the Griffin Park picnic site was not burnt during the bushfires, how and where did the fires start.

(2) When were the bushfires declared a national disaster.

(3) What federal, state and local agencies were involved in the management, assessment of damage and recovery from the bushfires.

(4) (a) What were the terms of reference for the Affected Areas Recovery Committee (AARC), established following the bushfires;

(5) (a) Was the AARC established under Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements; and (b) who determined its make-up

(6) (a) When did the AARC first meet; and (b) (i) how often did it meet, (ii) on what dates, and (iii) who attended.

(7) (a) What Government agencies and what private organisations were represented on the AARC; (b) which individuals represented these agencies and organisations on the AARC; and (c) how were these individuals selected.

(8) How did the AARC determine recommendations for funding allocations.


 (9) Who appointed the Mayor of Break O’Day Council as chair of the AARC.

(10) Why was the Mayor appointed to chair the AARC, rather than an independent official from outside the municipality.

(11) (a) What was the process for those affected by the 2006 fires to apply for financial assistance; and (b) how was this process communicated.

(12) Can a breakdown be provided of funds expended by the AARC; if not, why not.

(13) With reference to the decision of the AARC to advertise for a coordinator to establish community contact some time after its establishment, why was the position not advertised when the AARC was established.

(14) Why were residents from the worst fire-affected regions (Scamander and Four Mile Creek) restricted to three seats out of ten on the Community Recovery Representative Group (CRRG).

(15) (a) Who determined the make-up of the CRRG; and (b) (i) how often did it meet, (ii) on what dates, and (iii) who attended.

(16) (a) What were the terms of reference for the CRRG; (b) were the terms of reference different from the AARC’s terms of reference; if so, why; and (c) did the AARC release its terms of reference to the CRRG on its establishment; if not, why not.

(17) What was the process of consultation and communication between the CRRG, the AARC, and affected communities.

(18) How often did the CRRG meet with the AARC.

(19) (a) How did the CRRG determine recommendations for funding allocations; and (b) was information regarding funding allocations made by the AARC withheld from the CRRG; if so, why.

(20) Why was the Four Mile community’s application to the AARC, through its CRRG representative, for funding in June 2007 to pay for a fire damage and rehabilitation assessment and updated management plans for the Four Mile catchment rejected.

(21) Were the total costs of damaged and destroyed public infrastructure (i.e. telecommunications, roads, bridges etc.) calculated; if not, why not; if so, what was the total cost of repair and replacement of public infrastructure.

(22) Were funds administered by the AARC used, or proposed to be used, for the repair or replacement of public infrastructure; if so, on what justification.

(23) Has the AARC, or relevant federal, state and local agencies, assessed the total environmental damage caused by the fires; if not, why not.

(24) Has the AARC, or relevant federal, state and local agencies, undertaken any environmental rehabilitation of areas damaged by the bushfires; if not, why not.

(25) Has the AARC, or relevant federal, state and local agencies, instituted any new fire management plans or initiatives as a result of their work on the bushfires; if not, why not.