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Notice given 11 March 2010

2749  Senator Bob Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister—(a) How many representatives of environment groups were invited to the lunch for the President of Indonesia in the Great Hall at Parliament House on Wednesday, 10 March 2010; and (b) who were they.

2751  Senator Ludlam: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Trade—

(1) Can the Minister outline each step in the decision-making process leading up to the decision to direct the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC) to extend $US400 million of loans to the Papua New Guinea (PNG) liquefied natural gas (LNG) project using the national interest account.

(2) (a) Which agencies were consulted; and (b) of these, which agencies expressed concern to the Minister prior to loans being extended on the national interest account.

(3) (a) What concerns did AusAID raise; and (b) are their concerns listed in the national interest assessment.

(4) Can a copy be provided of the AusAID submission to the national interest assessment on the PNG LNG project.

(5) What are the dates and content of any meetings the Minister, the department and EFIC have held with: (a) the Australian exporter/service providers Oil Search and Santos regarding the PNG LNG project; (b) the United States of America-based Exxon Mobil or any of its subsidiaries based in Australia or PNG regarding the project; and (c) Australian-based construction companies and consultants who have applied for tenders associated with the project.

(6) On what date did EFIC first come into possession of the report Gold Ridge Social Action Plan evaluation by Australian National University academics Dr John Burton and Dr Colin Filer, dated 20 September 2006, that provides evidence that facilitation payments were made by Australian Solomons Gold Limited (ASG) subsidiary Gold Ridge Mining Ltd to the personal bank accounts of a number of landowner representatives in return for access to reopen the Gold Ridge site.

(7) Does the Minister believe that it is appropriate for the Australian Government to provide insurance to a company that used facilitation payments in the manner described.

(8) Is the decision by EFIC to grant provisional political risk insurance (PRI) to ASG in 2009, despite the finding of the abovementioned report, consistent with EFIC environmental policy, corruption policy, International Finance Corporation performance standards, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) common approaches and Equator principles.

(9) Will the Minister or EFIC be reporting to the OECD Export Credit Working Group or the Equator Principles Secretariat that it supported a category A project that used facilitation payments in a post conflict context.

(10) How much of the Solomon’s PRI is covered by the national interest account.

(11) Are facilitation payments contrary to principles of corporate social responsibility.

(12) (a) What discussions has the Minister, the department and EFIC had with ASG about the facilitation payments; (b) when were these discussions; and (c) what was the nature of the discussions.

(13) On what grounds is EFIC satisfied that the use of facilitation payments does not stop EFIC from supporting this project with PRI.

(14) Is the Minister confident that ASG undertook the reestablishment of Gold Ridge in compliance with international law and EFIC environmental policy compliance.

(15) What does the second PRI policy to ASG cover.

(16) With reference to the answer to question on notice no. 2364 (Senate Hansard , 30 November 2009, p. 9632): is it common practice for EFIC to let clients know that insurance has been conditionally approved.

(17) Does EFIC agree that it is appropriate that its clients announce to market that they have received ‘conditional insurance’ before such conditions have been fulfilled.

(18) What were the precise social and environmental conditions that EFIC imposed on ASG in order for it to receive its second allotment of PRI.

(19) Has ASG (now Allied Gold Limited) fulfilled these conditions.