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Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications
Role and potential of the National Broadband Network

BIDDINGTON, Mr Brett, Member, Space Industry Innovation Council

DUBS, Dr Rosalind, Chair, Space Industry Innovation Council

PIGRAM, Dr Christopher, Member, Space Industry Innovation Council


CHAIR: Welcome. Although the committee does not require you to give evidence under oath, I advise you that the hearing is a legal proceeding of the parliament and therefore has the same standing as proceedings of the respective houses. We have a written submission from you. Do you want to make some opening comments?

Dr Dubs : Thank you for the opportunity to appear before the committee today. Our submission relates primarily to two of your terms of reference: the delivery of government programs; and impact on business efficiencies and revenues, including exports. The space council was appointed in early 2010, reporting to Minister Kim Carr, and serves as an engagement mechanism between the space sector and government, with a brief to champion sector innovation. A new national space policy is expected to be considered by government this year, and the minister has encouraged us to lay out a road map of priorities for the sector in advance of policy formulation. Government has recognised that more involvement in the space sector is likely to become crucial for Australia in the coming decade, not just for defence and national security reasons but also because everyday life depends more and more on satellite services.

The space council made its submission because there is very relevant overlap between the National Broadband Network and the interests of the space sector in relation to two major themes. First is the acquisition by the NBN Co. of two state-of-the-art Ka band satellites to provide broadband coverage to disadvantaged users, primarily in rural and regional areas. Second is the importance of the NBN infrastructure for the timely delivery of the growing number of government, community and commercial services which now depend on large earth-observation datasets such as meteorological images and environmental images for myriad applications including infrastructure, planning, water flows, vegetation monitoring and disaster management—as you would have heard throughout your inquiry.

Accurate data on the size and shape of the Australian space industry does not exist. The ABS does not collect data routinely on space related topics. The best estimates available to the space council suggest that the Australian space industry, however defined, is believed to have an annual turnover of perhaps $1 billion and employs in the order of 4,000 people. But the sector is very fragmented and lacks a strong sense of self. Yet the global space market is estimated to be worth $1 trillion by 2020. An innovative Australia cannot afford to ignore this market. If Australian companies can capture just a few per cent of this business globally, this would represent a worthwhile contribution to the national economy, strengthen national self-reliance and deliver broader spin-off benefits. As chair of the Space Industry Association of Australia, Brett Biddington has considerable knowledge of these possibilities. Certainly a project such as the NBN has a role to play in this growth.

The council's vision for the future is an Australian space sector spearheaded by perhaps three Australian multinational enterprises, or MNEs, each with an annual turnover of $300 million in space projects or services, and with professional career paths and local capabilities sustained via their strong participation in the global market. These industry leaders will in turn lift the performance of a range of local small to medium enterprises as they grow. We will reach this state via visionary leadership from government in a new space policy which will stimulate synchronised industry development and avoid wasted effort. There will be a structured set of building blocks over the next decade, starting with continued government support for the Australian Space Research Program as a cornerstone. There will be encouragement to design and implement space mission satellite payloads and aligned whole-of-government outcomes when space capability is being purchased by portfolios, including through major projects such as the NBN. In due course there will be a vibrant depth of space skills here and we will not be forever dependant, as we are now, for earth observation capability on overseas suppliers whose priorities could change. For example, Canada has made such investments in its space sector over the last two decades and now has a close to $3 billion industry as a result.

There will be broader benefits to Australia too. International experience suggests that for every $1 million invested in space-borne capability, around $6 million of downstream services revenue results. The many GPS receiver and accurate positioning related businesses that have grown out of the US Global Positioning System are a case in point. If the space industry in Australia were this advanced right now, we would see more benefit than a handful of SMEs winning niche subcontracts in the current NBN satellite procurement. We would be seeing the successful prime contractor for the space and ground segments of NBN Co. subcontracting Australian based suppliers for perhaps $100 million worth of local value-added work, particularly in the ground segment of the satellite solution. This would be within the same project cost envelope and without increase to operational risk. Currently the most relevant sizeable local capability resides in the large Australian based defence companies, whose engineering, communications and project management skills are in adjacent areas and could be readily trained for space capability. However, some ramp-up in facilities investment would also be required, which may not fit the NBN Co.'s time frame. So regrettably the Australian space industry is not yet at the stage to respond on this scale, but we are hopeful that that the new space policy will set us on a determined growth path that includes such steps.

Turning to the space council's second theme, space capability is much like IT in being an enabling technology for productivity increases. In our submission we talk about the wave of space based earth observation and positioning innovation that will be accelerated merely by having the NBN fibre network rolled out. Chris Pigram can expand on how the geoscientists, meteorologists, emergency workers and transport and mining companies will extract enormous value from the increased speed and bandwidth of the NBN in coming years, also generating GNP growth for Australia via the multitude of downstream applications that will result, as I explained earlier. In earth observation a vast range of existing and new satellites have created and will create a huge resource base that Australia could exploit for a host of applications. Similarly in navigation there is a huge opportunity available to Australia in relation to national positioning infrastructure, because Europe, Russia, Japan, China and India are all now building their own global or regional satellite navigation systems to supplement GPS, and they can all be seen from Australia. The unifying challenge in relation to exploiting the opportunities available to this nation from both the expanded earth observation and GNSS space-borne infrastructure is to have a modern communications system that facilitates the capture, often to and from remote locations, and the movement of very large volumes of data in real time across the country. The NBN is thus crucial to realising these opportunities.

Finally there is no question that, irrespective of exactly how it ends up being built, the NBN will be transformational for the way this nation works. For example—and to reinforce what AARNet has just said—the project we mention at the end of our submission, the Square Kilometre Array, which is a must-win project for Australia next year, has data manipulation needs from the astronomers which will drive technological innovations well through the gigabit-per-second throughput that the NBN is aiming at and towards terabit and petabit transmission speeds over time.

CHAIR: I want to follow up on the point you are making about the capacity to build new business opportunities. I appreciate your point that given the rollout time frame it is unlikely we can jump in at this point with local businesses. Can you describe to me what the key factors will be in developing our domestic industry as a development of the NBN to be an internationally competitive sector? Are there particular things we should be looking at? We may not win the contracts for the NBN. What I am looking for is how we may be able to leverage the experience to provide a sound basis for future industry.

Dr Dubs : The important thing to grow capability is that companies have to have contracts that they can win so that they can put staff on and make a profit for their business. So until there is a clear, large contract, that growth will not be stimulated. There are many small to medium enterprises that are already active in this sector, but the growth will only be organic if only SMEs get subcontracts. Brett has greater experience than I have in this area.

Mr Biddington : My response to this in one phrase would be 'certainty of work'. I need to declare that I am a former Air Force officer and worked for Cisco Systems for a decade before I set up my own company. The reason I say that is that even the large primes in this country that do defence work find it really hard because of the lumpiness of the defence acquisition cycle, particularly in electronic warfare, which is a component of where we would draw the workforce from to do space stuff. Continuity of work is the most important thing. That involves thinking about the high-tech electronics sector as one sector not just doing defence work but doing other work as well if we are to grow that pie more generally. SKA is critically important in this regard. The NBN itself—the way we work; in other words the lesser importance of the national boundary, as Chris Hancock mentioned. Teleworking around the clock—we will see that happen more and more. Work will be transformed as a result of the sorts of capabilities that are coming, NBN or not. Finally it is about picking some niche capabilities. We already have some evidence of what they might be through the Australian Space Research Program, where there are some winning projects already coming forward. So the basis is there.

CHAIR: So not to be doing everything in the sector but to find some areas where we—

Mr Biddington : Absolutely. The last thing we need to do is to get into trying to build rockets, for example. When people talk about space, they talk of rockets and astronauts. That is not what this is about; it is about information and getting information to users—right time, right place, right stuff.

Dr Dubs : With the companies themselves, obviously we want to get their capability to the stage where the primes—and in space they will be overseas primes at this stage—have the confidence that Australia has the capability and skills to do a project. When an NBN comes around it is large enough to do that, but of course we are not ready. Once you have done a project like that, you then grow on the back of going with that prime into export markets and therefore you become part of their global supply chain.

CHAIR: That is great. Can you give us a bit of information on the Canadian experience? I was interested in what you were saying they have done there in what seemed to be a relatively short time frame.

Dr Dubs : I think they started about 20 years ago with a national space policy. Obviously they have the advantage of being co-located with the United States of America, which of course likes to have a friendly second source right next door. They also started, I think, with a small research program et cetera. What they say now is that it consists of over 200 private sector companies, research organisations, universities and government departments and agencies. They have the Canadian Space Agency, which is linked very closely with NASA and with the European Space Agency. They have close to 7,000 people working in the space sector—and I think they do take statistics on that—and they say that over $2.8 billion in revenues are generated annually. This is a couple of years old but 50 per cent is from export and 50 per cent is domestic, so that shows the balance.

CHAIR: You talk about niche advantages. One that has been raised with us by other sectors is that most of the developed focus is in the Northern Hemisphere but if you want to run a 24-hour project it is good to have a presence in the Southern Hemisphere. Do you want to comment on that?

Mr Biddington : I do. There are a couple of points to make. First, Australia is essentially equidistant around the globe from Europe and the United States. That is why we are an ideal place to host all sorts of ground stations where there is 24/7 coverage, whether that is a ground station like our Tidbinbilla or whether it is a Pine Gap. They are both servicing a 24/7 requirement continuously. The second thing to say about this is that if you think of the Southern Hemisphere as starting at the Tropic of Cancer and coming south, the space-faring nations, with the exception of Brazil, are in the Northern Hemisphere—and you might think of Brazil in any event as a surrogate of China for this purpose. So there is a real opportunity for Australia to demonstrate huge leadership for that part of humanity which is essentially space dispossessed. In this context the NBN investment in its two satellites I suspect has implications way beyond the provision of network services to so-called disadvantaged users. I think this is going to have strategic implications that we are only beginning to dream about.

CHAIR: Another thing that has been raised with us—it was in the finance sector—is the availability of people, if they have good broadband connections, to be working in the hours when the Northern Hemisphere workforce is sleeping.

Mr Biddington : That is right, and that happens already. I come from an intelligence background in Air Force. We called it 'burden sharing' in the early days. We could be looking at targets of interest on behalf of our allies and vice versa, depending on who is awake and who is asleep.

CHAIR: In the military sector you had the technology, no doubt, to enable them. That will be in the civilian—

Mr Biddington : Yes, we did. We are now extending that into the domain of every house in the country.

Mrs PRENTICE: Chair, just a technicality—the time difference is actually east-west.

CHAIR: Sorry, yes. I was more thinking that the advanced nations are in the Northern Hemisphere.

Mr NEVILLE: I was interested in your comments about the NBN satellite. Was its original intention just to be the link to the remote areas—satellite services to remote areas?

Dr Dubs : That is our understanding from the policy that has been put out by the broadband department.

Mr NEVILLE: And are you telling us that there is great capacity available in those satellites for other purposes?

Mr Biddington : On the basis of American and European experience—and in the Space Industry Association submission to your inquiry we made the point that we think there will be take-up by disadvantaged users in the cities, not just in the country. In other words, the notion of the disadvantaged user in the United States is somebody in Cleveland who is on the wrong side of the street from the cable. That person is just as disadvantaged as somebody in the middle of Kansas. On that 90 per cent to 10 per cent split between who gets fibre and who has wireless or satellite service, the industry association has said to you, 'Don't be surprised if that ratio changes.' That is one point but I do not think it is quite what you were asking.

Mr NEVILLE: What are the science and technical possibilities of those satellites beyond providing just telephone and general household data services?

Mr Biddington : Very high.

Dr Pigram : In the earth observation space that we in Geoscience Australia are responsible for—and our colleagues in the Bureau of Meteorology, for example—we want to collect information in very remote locations. We typically have networks across the country. This immediately provides a data-feed opportunity and a data redistribution opportunity through those mechanisms. So it is not just around communications in the sense of people; it is around moving information around as well.

Dr Dubs : I believe that the interim satellite service which has been contracted very recently by NBN Co. and awarded to Optus, but also with some additional capacity from another satellite network provider, will start exploring those opportunities in terms of the clients that are there. But of course those satellites are already up there whereas these Ka band ones are going to be designed specifically for NBN. It is our understanding that at this stage they want it totally dedicated to NBN.

Mr NEVILLE: I could not help wondering as I listened to AARNet's submission and then yours why your requirements would not be better served by the AARNet network rather than the 'household' network.

Dr Dubs : Basically because our requirement is in relation to everyday life. One of the references—I think it is reference no. 1 in our submission—talked about a day in the life in 20 years time. Okay, it was done in Britain, but it was the ubiquitous capacity, through satellite services accessing earth observation—

Dr Pigram : Many of my customers cannot access AARNet; it is not open to them. It is a research network, so the resources sector, for example, or the weather bureau—neither the weather bureau nor ourselves are allowed to access AARNet at this time. That may change but right now we cannot use that high-speed network.

Mr NEVILLE: As Mr Fletcher pointed out earlier, the huge capacity of the AARNet network and what might be needed to power Australian businesses and households are a country mile apart, aren't they?

Dr Pigram : But also you have to look at why AARNet was set up and its current rules of operation. It is not meant to compete with the private sector providers.

Mr NEVILLE: I realise that.

Dr Pigram : I think that is the fundamental difference.

Mr SYMON: I would also like to go to that part of your submission, especially the report you noted from the UK government offering the view that up to 20 per cent of the UK population is likely to be satisfied with the speed of a satellite broadband service—that is, 12 megabits. When was the data collected for that report?

Dr Dubs : The report was published towards the end of 2009, so it would probably have been in the two years previous to that. But of course the geography of the UK is very different. They have rural and regional areas that are still very close to London, whereas of course Australia has a huge geography and the technological side of getting spot beams across the whole country is quite different. So it may not be quite so high in Australia. The point is that once the satellites are up there, NBN Co. will be able to see where the demand is coming from and adjust the service to suit. The service providers, not so much NBN Co., would then get more revenue as a result.

Mr SYMON: What is the theoretical maximum capacity of the satellite service per satellite.

Dr Dubs : I cannot answer that question, because I have not seen the specifications.

Mr Biddington : How long is a piece of string? It really depends on how big your satellite is and how you design it. If you have a very specific spot beam, as it is called, which is just looking at one particular area and not around, you are looking for a symmetrical service—in other words, as much going up as down—you can get something much more than 12 megabits per second per user. But when you have many users in that same spot beam then they have to start to share the bandwidth, and that is when latency and other factors come to interfere. This is where you have to really understand your market and be agile enough to respond to changes in the market and changes in user behaviour that you may not have anticipated in your initial planning. What I think we can say—and Ros has already mentioned this—is that we are moving rapidly to a world of ubiquitous mobile communications. We are also moving—as Mr Hancock from AARNet said—to a time when the cloud rules. That means that every single device in every single household can potentially be harnessed to work in ways they currently do not work; they are idle for most of the time. We have seen a bit of an experiment around this with—

CHAIR: That is how we used to talk about our children.

Mr Biddington : Absolutely. But it is a very different way of thinking about the world and about doing work. Of course sitting underneath this are some very non-trivial questions around security and network security. There is no question that fibre offers considerably more security than any mobile device at all. And right there might be an exceptionally compelling reason why—despite the fact that my association is saying 'Get ready for more than 10 per cent to be delivered through satellite or wireless'—shrinking that number might be a really good thing to be doing from a security perspective.

Mr SYMON: I understand we are getting two new satellites and they each cover separate geographic areas. Is that correct, or do they cover the same area?

Dr Dubs : It is effectively a redundant system. You never have just one satellite; you always have to have sort of a hot back-up. You need to ask NBN Co. that particular question really but it is not half and half.

Mr SYMON: I am just talking from your association's perspective. I was going to ask about redundancy, so you have got there.

Mr Biddington : The business model that NBN Co. has taken, as I am sure you have heard them say with great authority, is an exceptionally risk-averse, low-technology approach in one sense. Whether that is the right approach is not for me to say. But those 10 per cent or so of so-called disadvantaged users need to be given just as much assurance and security of access—it will not be to the same extent of bandwidth availability that the people with fibre get, though much higher than they have ever had previously, but they still get that with very high assurance. And that includes having two satellites each of which is effectively able to do the work of the other.

Mr SYMON: If, as you have put in your submission, there is an increase beyond 3 per cent of satellite delivery, does that affect how much spectrum is needed.

Mr Biddington : Yes, it does, and of course that is the one finite resource and that is an area where ultimately we, globally, are coming in the satellite market under increasing pressure from the 3G and 4G providers for mobile wireless networks—because the spectrum they seek is fundamentally the same spectrum that satellite operators need globally. This will take great leadership from government to get those sorts of ratios right between what the wireless providers and mobile telephone providers provide and what is needed generally for satcom.

Dr Pigram : I would like to reinforce that spectrum issue. It is a fundamental issue in the earth observation space as well. You have a satellite up there and you are trying to get the signal on to the ground, and the spectrum is fundamental to being able to do that. We are looking at issues like perhaps having to move some of our reception facilities out of the proximity of urban areas, which keep encroaching on what we do, to almost like the SKA to get to an environment that is quiet so that we can get a look at the spectrum. Spectrum management really comes into the whole space. It is a factor for NBN Co. to consider but it is certainly an issue for us and for the earth observation capability. There is a whole range—this is in the submission—of government programs that are dependent on the ability to access earth observation capability, and fundamentally that comes down to accessing spectrum.

Dr Dubs : There is a real need for whole-of-government outcomes to be considered in relation to spectrum management. Some of the things we talk about, our security ones, obviously are not going to generate a lot of revenue.

Mr FLETCHER: I am interested in the options open to government in pursuing the policy of using satellite to deliver remote communications. Is it right to think that there is a range of both satellite vendors and commercial and/or government satellite operators around the world?

Mr Biddington : Yes is the short answer. There are quite a number of vendors that make satellites. There are a number of organisations that operate satellites. Some governments operate their own satellite systems, like the United States government, and indeed Australia is a co-investor in some of those for defence and security needs.

Mr FLETCHER: Those are ones like Inmarsat and so on?

Mr Biddington : No; Inmarsat is a privately owned company, as is Intelsat. They started off as government owned consortia but they are now private entities.

Mr FLETCHER: Is it therefore the case that it would be open to NBN Co. or indeed government directly to contract with an existing satellite operator on terms that there were certain coverage objectives and a certain amount of money available and say, 'Please tell us what you can do'?

Dr Dubs : That is effectively what NBN Co. has just done in its interim satellite service. It has contracted Optus to provide that service. It does not meet the full specification for the long-term service because, I think, it operates at 6 megabits per second whereas the specification for the permanent satellites is 12 megabits per second—and of course it varies on download and upload. So it is possible but NBN Co. is attempting to optimise for the future.

Mr FLETCHER: Sure. But I suppose what I want to understand is this: in terms of the permanent or long-term provision of services to meet the 12 megabit per second target, there is no reason that could not be done through contracting with another provider rather than having it being done, as I believe is presently proposed, in-house with satellites owned and operated by NBN Co.?

Mr Biddington : My understanding is that certainly the request for information that was put out by NBN Co.—and I suspect it is now in the request for tender and, of course, the tenders are being considered—was not only for the technical solution but also for the business solution. The only specification was two satellites with certain capabilities and that was about the redundancy thing—to give assurance of supply to people wherever they lived in disadvantaged areas. Beyond that, a company may come along and say: 'Here is idea 1—we will sell you two satellites and the government can run them or contract that out to somebody else. Here is idea 2—we will find the satellites, run them for you and make a profit on top of that.' All of those options are possible within the tender responses that are currently being evaluated.

CHAIR: We are now wandering well into the other inquiry. I know that people sit on both—

Mr FLETCHER: Madam Chair, I do not think that is right. That is simply not right. Term (i) talks about the optimal capacity and technological requirements of a network to deliver these outcomes.

CHAIR: To deliver services.

Mr FLETCHER: So inherent in that is the ownership and governance structures which are used to do that.

CHAIR: I do not agree. I think at this point we will not have that. I am happy for people to answer questions, but, if the industry association wants to raise in a particular way answers to the questions you have, there is an opportunity to do it in the other committee. I think here we are interested in the utilisation of it.

Mr FLETCHER: And what I am putting to you, Madam Chair, is that I am asking questions about how this technology is best utilised and that goes to, amongst other things, the question of the ownership and governance of the satellites.

CHAIR: I disagree. I think we have had this debate well and truly. I am going to rule that that line of questioning must now stop. Can we go back to the issues of utilisation. I am happy for you to raise the particular services that they are talking about and how they would utilise those facilities, but I think the whole area of how the contracts are drawn up and who offers contracts is definitely within the other inquiry.

Mr FLETCHER: That is not the relevant question. The relevant question is whether it is within the terms of reference of this inquiry, and it clearly is.

CHAIR: And I would argue that we have had this discussion. I have allowed it to run for a while. I am just asking now can we come back to more directly relevant matters.

Mr FLETCHER: I will continue asking questions within the terms of reference.

CHAIR: And I will rule them out of order if I so declare.

Mr FLETCHER: I am interested in the organisational aspects of how best to get focus on the satellite and space issues. I understand that your interest is in ensuring that one of the consequences of the NBN is that there is maximum focus on the satellite industry and the space industry in Australia. Is that a fair statement?

Mr Biddington : We would like to see the space industry properly acknowledged and as best acknowledged as possible through this investment that is occurring.

Mr FLETCHER: Do you think that, if there were a different model under which there was a stand-alone entity focused on providing satellite communications in rural and remote Australia as opposed to being a division of a company the principal business of which is providing fibre, there would be a greater focus on the satellite and space policy issues?

CHAIR: I do not think this is relevant to the inquiry, I am sorry.

Mr FLETCHER: It is clearly relevant, because it goes to the question—

CHAIR: I do not agree.

Mr FLETCHER: of whether the technology is optimal to meet the public policy requirements.

CHAIR: And to deliver the services that we are investigating.

Mr FLETCHER: And that is precisely the question I am asking.

CHAIR: No, you are asking who should own it and operate it. That is a different matter to the technology.

Mr FLETCHER: With a view to determining what implications that has for the delivery of services.

CHAIR: I apologise to those who are here at the inquiry. I am going to rule that that is stretching it way beyond what this inquiry is to achieve. If you want to talk to the witnesses about the delivery of services on the technology without going to who owns and who operates, I am happy for that. But I still believe that who owns and who operates and what is the best business model to deliver that is a matter for the other inquiry.

Mr FLETCHER: Again, Madam Chair, that is not the question. The question is whether it is within our terms of reference, and particularly paragraph (i).

CHAIR: We have determined this and I am now ruling on that. Did you want to ask other questions?

Mr FLETCHER: I do want to ask other questions.

CHAIR: Can you ask them and I will listen carefully.

Mr FLETCHER: Can I go back to my previous question and understand what the answer to that was?

CHAIR: Which previous question?

Mr FLETCHER: The question about the alternative models, one of which would be a satellite company focused—

CHAIR: No, I am not going to go to how the companies operate. I am sorry. Stephen Jones, do you have questions?

Mr FLETCHER: I have not finished, Madam Chair.

CHAIR: I have given you many opportunities and I now think you are actually defying me. I think we will go to others to ask questions. I am sorry.

Mr FLETCHER: I am not defying you. I am trying to find a way to usefully use—

CHAIR: You do not like my answers and badgering me to change my answer is not a helpful way to progress the inquiry. We can break and we can have this discussion more privately rather than doing it in this manner, which is not helpful, I think, to the whole progress of the inquiry. Jane, do you have questions before we break?

Mrs PRENTICE: With the delivery of satellite services to rural and remote areas, you have the satellite up there—do you still need base stations or can you just go straight through?

Dr Dubs : As to the architecture of the solution, obviously, it goes through gateways. I do not know but I think there could be between eight and 10 across the country.

Mrs PRENTICE: Across the whole of Australia?

Dr Dubs : Yes. I do not know the exact number, but I think that is the way it will work. Then obviously it goes into satellite receiver dishes—or they are transceivers, actually—at individual premises.

Mrs PRENTICE: I am not interested in the technical stuff. We have Cyclone Yasi coming through. Can you pop your satellite dish inside and then, after it has gone past, pop it back up again?

Mr Biddington : Some people will be able to do that. My suspicion is that we are going to see, as Ros has just said, some very large capacity ground stations built to receive high-capacity data which will then be farmed out via wireless, because remember we do not have fibre. There will be other places where there will be things called VSAT—very small aperture terminals—which are typically a dish that will receive directly and they are now developing transmission capabilities as well. Then there are these sorts of devices. This does not receive a satellite signal, but there are other devices a little larger that do—satellite phones, for example, in the Yasi situation. There will be the capacity for those sorts of services to be used directly from and through the satellite.

Mrs PRENTICE: So there is an opportunity there for this method to be used in disaster situations?

Mr Biddington : Yes, absolutely.

CHAIR: Thank you very much for your submission and attendance. I appreciate your tolerance of our slight divergence there. You will be sent a copy of the transcript of your evidence, to which you can make corrections of grammar and fact. The transcript will guide you on any additional information that you undertook to provide. It would be appreciated if you could forward additional information to the secretary as soon as possible, as we are now commencing the process of formulating our report. Once again, it was very interesting and I must say that it was information that has not been brought to us from another other sectors. So obviously the point that you make about the need for the sector to have a voice of advocacy is well taken. Thank you for your participation in the inquiry.

Proceedings suspended from 12 : 08 to 13 : 04