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Notice given 8 April 2008

*402  Senator Milne: To ask the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research—

(1) What is the justification for the closure of the pilot-scale scour at Laverton North in Victoria.

(2) Why has the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Textiles and Fibre Technology division in Geelong advised its commission scouring clients to take their business offshore to Agresearch in New Zealand.

(3) Are all CSIRO programs/services measured in terms of whether they can return large financial gains to the CSIRO.

 

 (4) Why is the scour processing operation closing without any adequate economic impact assessment of the associated raw and natural fibre industry, including manufacturers and fibre producers.

(5) Will there be an assessment of the economic and social impact of the closure of the pilot-scale scour at Laverton on producers, processors and ancillary services (e.g. the alpaca, cashmere and mohair industries, coloured wool producers, ultra-fine wool producers, Cashmere Connections (a processor); Goldfields mohair farm (a processor), long tops fibre processing (a processor) and Meskills Woolworks (a processor)); if so, will the assessment and its results be publicly available.

(6) What is the Minister’s position on textile and fibre industry research and development, in particular for raw and natural fibres of alpaca fleece, cashmere, mohair and coloured wool.

(7) If the CSIRO pilot-scale scour is decommissioned where will the Australian research scouring work be conducted.

(8) Will the Minister consider offering financial support to staff the pilot-scale scour at Laverton.

(9) Does the Minister support value-adding Australian specialty natural fibres in Australia.

(10) What commitment does the Minister have to consumers who want to purchase wholly Australian-made and processed products made from Australia’s natural fibres.

(11) What plans does the Minister have for supporting Australian value-adding if the CSIRO pilot-scale scour in Geelong is decommissioned.

(12) If the infrastructure at the division is dismantled, where will it be disposed of.

(13) Will the infrastructure at the division be released for tender; if so, how will potential buyers be notified.