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Economics Legislation Committee
04/05/2015

WACEY, Mr Travis Kent, National Policy Research Officer; Forestry, Building Products and Manufacturing Division; Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union

ZELINSKY, Mr Misha (Michael), Executive Officer/National Vice President, The Australian Workers' Union

Committee met at 09:32

ACTING CHAIR ( Senator Canavan ): I declare open this public hearing of the Senate Economics Legislation Committee for its inquiry into the Customs Amendment (Anti-dumping Measures Bill (No. 1) 2015 and Customs Tariff (Anti-Dumping) Amendment Bill 2015. These are public proceedings although the committee may agree to a request to hear evidence in camera or may determine that certain evidence should be heard in camera. I remind all witnesses that, in giving evidence to the committee, they are protected by parliamentary privilege. It is unlawful for anyone to threaten or disadvantage a witness on account of evidence given to a committee, and such action may be treated by the Senate as a contempt. It is also a contempt to give false or misleading evidence to a committee. If a witness objects to answering a question, the witness should state the ground upon which the objection is taken and the committee will determine whether it will insist on an answer, having regard to ground which is claimed. If the committee determines to insist on an answer, a witness may request that the answer be given in camera. Such a request may, of course, also be made at any other time.

The Senate has resolved that an officer of a department of the Commonwealth or of a state or territory shall not be asked to give opinions on matters of policy and shall be given reasonable opportunity to refer questions asked of the officer to superior officers or to a minister. This resolution prohibits only questions asking for opinions on matters of policy and does not preclude questions asking for explanations of policy or factual questions about when and how policies were adopted. I welcome representatives of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and the Australian Workers Union.

Mr Wacey : I would just point out that Tom Skladzien from the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union looks like he may not be in attendance. I just got a text from him: he is still hovering around Canberra airport because of the fog.

Senator XENOPHON: So that is where my adviser is at the moment.

Mr Wacey : Quite possibly. The proceedings will definitely be the poorer without his considerable expertise in the area. He does apologise, as do we. We will continue. Would it please the chair if I make a brief opening statement?

ACTING CHAIR: Yes. I was just about to do that. We accept your apology and understand the difficulties you have. We have received your submission, which is marked as No. 11. You are more than welcome to make an opening statement now.

Mr Wacey : We will make a brief opening statement, given that we provided quite a detailed submission and have limited time, and also because we would like to take the opportunity to clarify and expand on some elements of the evidence that we have provided in our submission, which, by necessity, unfortunately, will take a little bit of time. Thank you for the opportunity to appear today.

A distinguishing feature of our unions' combined membership is that a number of the workers we represent are employed in firms and industries where the jobs and income security depend on successfully exporting or competing against imports. This is why productivity, international competitiveness and fair trade have always been called business for our unions. Maintaining and improving the integrity of Australia's antidumping system is very much a part of that core business. For this reason, we were very pleased when in November 2011 Mr Abbott made claims which suggested that if the coalition got into office they would not wind back the reforms the government had committed to to improve the anti-dumping system. Mr Abbott said, 'We support a competitive, open market, but it is also very important that Australian businesses are competing on a level playing field,' when releasing the coalition's policy. He said that the policy would give Australian manufacturers a fighting chance to compete against the rest of the world.

Our unions have worked together with the ACTU, industry and government for a number of years to improve the antidumping system, including in the formal consultative committee established in 2011, which is the International Trade Remedies Forum. The forum has not reconvened since the Abbott government was elected in 2013, despite a requirement in the Customs Act for the forum to be convened by government twice every year. It is a situation which has reduced stakeholder confidence in the antidumping system, seen important reforms stagnate, resulted in businesses closing in the face of unfettered and unremedied unfair trade and cost our members their jobs.

Senator XENOPHON: Mr Wacey, you are talking very quickly, which is a lot, coming from someone like me. Have you got a written statement that you are reading from?

Mr Wacey : Yes, certainly.

Senator XENOPHON: Chair, I am just wondering, given our time constraints, how much longer Mr Wacey will be, because I have some questions to ask.

ACTING CHAIR: First of all, Mr Wacey, would you be willing to table your opening statement?

Mr Wacey : Yes, I would. If it would please the chair, Senator Xenophon and Senator Carr I will jump to the area where I want to clarify part of our evidence.

Senator XENOPHON: Sure.

ACTING CHAIR: We would appreciate that. It would help matters if you can table that and go through it more quickly so we can get to questions.

Mr Wacey : On pages 33 and 52 of our submission we point out to the fact that the coalition policy on manufacturing and antidumping taken to the 2013 election stated that it would:

Strengthen the enforcement of the provisions of the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and countervailing measures.

On page 52, we have highlighted that the proposed amendments, which would change one of the circumstances where the minister is not required to have regard to the lesser duty rule, appears to be inconsistent to with the government's election policy.

As we read the current legislation, mandatory consideration of the lesser duty rule is not required when the government of the country of export has not complied with article 25 of the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures for the compliance period. The proposed amendment would replace the current provision by saying that mandatory consideration of the lesser duty rule is not required when:

… the government of the country of export has not submitted notification of its subsidies, as mentioned in paragraph 1 of Article 25 of the Agreement …

There are two issues that we have and want to expand on. Why should compliance with one of the two most recent biennial periods be considered sufficient compliance? And, as stated by AUSVEG in their submission, article 25 covers more ground than simply as a notification of subsidies. Indeed, we point out in our submission that it also requires that members shall, if requested, provide information as quickly as possible and in a comprehensive manner. We finally point out in our statement that this proposed amendment—

Senator XENOPHON: Are you reading from page 32 of your submission or page 50—which pages are you referring to?

Mr Wacey : That quote is from page 52. We find this proposed amendment inconsistent with the government's 2013 election commitment regarding subsidies very concerning and very curious, particularly while this has occurred at the same time as the forum not meeting and the subsidies working group of that forum not meeting when Australia is negotiating a free trade agreement with China. We find it very suspicious and, in response to a question tabled in Senate supplementary estimates on infrastructure and regional development, the government was at pains to point out that there was nothing in the China free trade agreement which affected Australia's rights and obligations under the anti-dumping agreement and it was reiterated in additional budget estimates by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and also again by the department of industry.

Just in conclusion, to clarify that evidence, the department of foreign affairs had months earlier conceded in a written response that there had indeed been a discussion on the chapter of trade remedies in the agreements negotiations. Our unions acknowledge that, due to the secretive nature under which trade agreements are conducted, we may never know the content of those discussions, but if there is an accusation that elements of these bills in relation to subsidies were a condition of China signing a trade agreement with Australia, it would not be the first time that this government was accused of agreeing to a secret side deal in order to secure a trade agreement with a trading partner, which these proposed amendments might have the effect of decimating thousands of Australian manufacturing jobs. I think at this point I am happy to table a more detailed opening statement but would be pleased to take questions from the committee?

Senator KIM CARR: Have you got a copy of that statement now?

Mr Wacey : No.

Senator XENOPHON: Chair, I wonder whether that could be quickly emailed to the committee secretariat. If we can just give them those details and get it printed off, it might be useful for questioning of other witnesses and indeed these witnesses.

ACTING CHAIR: Mr Wacey has agreed to table that statement—is that correct? I have got no problem with that.

Mr Wacey : Yes, absolutely.

ACTING CHAIR: I have just got one quick question, Mr Wacey. I think you mentioned in your opening statement that for a substantial number of members that some of the government's decisions seem to have already impacted jobs. Are there any particular industries or businesses that have been impacted by that at this stage?

Mr Wacey : We make one of the points in our submission about the Australian Paper mill in Maryvale, which was subject to imports and was competing against China again and was subject to an anti-dumping investigation last year. We go into some detail in terms of that. By way of context, the Anti-Dumping Commission did indeed conclude that the imports had contributed to and caused material enduring and including impacts on employment. Unfortunately, it was found by the commission that those products were not indeed dumps. We really think that, if the international trade agreement forum had continued to meet and its reform agenda had continued, it might have triggered a different approach by the applicant in this situation.

ACTING CHAIR: That is what I suppose I am interested in: exactly what would the difference have been? Obviously, it is not unusual for anti-dumping complaints to be not held up under our current system. It happens under all governments. What specifically would have made the difference in this case?

Mr Wacey : Specifically, we think that if there had been clarification about the way that a particular market situation could be considered in an exporting country where prices were distorted due to government interference in the market or subsidies at such a point, it would have triggered a different reaction by the company in terms of that application.

We also made the point, in our submission to that investigation, that the People's Republic of China pulp and paper industry had been a benefit of $33.1 billion in subsidies between 2004 and 2009. We believe that it is incredible that the antidumping convention could then on that basis make an assertion that those subsidies did not confer a benefit to the Chinese pulp and paper industry—and particularly in relation to the issue of market saturation did not distort and decrease the market value for that product.

It is very similar to an issue which is currently before the commission—and a termination report has been recommended—which is related to Tindo Solar. Essentially you had $124 billion in subsidy support for that industry in China in 2010, and at the same time the commission has, despite the—

Senator XENOPHON: How much in subsidies do you say for the Chinese solar industry?

Mr Wacey : My understanding is that it was $124 billion in 2010 alone.

Senator XENOPHON: That is a lot of money; $124 billion in one year? Perhaps you can take that on notice and let us know if that is right. It is substantial in any event.

Mr Wacey : Absolutely, it is substantial. If you look at the volumes—in terms of the amount that the countervailing duties which the EU, Canada and the United States have levied on solar panels exported from China—it would suggest that they take a different approach in terms of antidumping and countervailing. Again, I am happy to take on notice the exact figure, but we think it is incredible that a decision would be made that normal value should be determined on domestic selling prices when there is so much influence in the marketplace. If we had those sorts of subsidies in Australia, of course it would reduce the price of those products in the Australia market as well.

ACTING CHAIR: Thank you very much, Mr Wacey. Senator Carr, do you have questions?

Senator KIM CARR: Yes. In your statement today, Mr Wacey, you indicated that you are withdrawing the statement you made in your original submission to the committee around the issues of the definition of subsidy. Have I understood that correctly?

Mr Wacey : No. That was the basis of our statement today. However, regarding that issue, we are still seeking advice on that particular provision. We are very interested to hear what the next witnesses, from the Manufacturers Trade Alliance, say about that issue.

Senator KIM CARR: I am sorry I misunderstood you. Perhaps you were going more quickly than I otherwise would have anticipated. I thought you were saying that in your original statement there was conditional support for the definition of subsidy, but now you are saying that that proposition was based on a misunderstanding. We have heard similar advice from the Manufacturers Trade Alliance in their submission. Is that the case or not?

Mr Wacey : If you give me one moment, I will have another look at this. We do have conditional support about that amendment still. We are still looking at the ramifications of it. There are two sides of the argument as far as I can see. Does it make our definition of subsidy more compliant with article 1.1 of the antidumping and subsidies agreement? You would have to say that it does not. Our proposal to withdraw support will be determined based on whether that is our conclusion after hearing further evidence today.

Senator KIM CARR: Right.

Mr Wacey : I add that there could be a side to the argument that it could better align Australia's provisions with article 1.1 of the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures. But the other approach which our three unions are considering, after we have heard further evidence today about this particular amendment, is to put in an amendment to the amendment to remove any ambiguity.

Senator KIM CARR: When is our report due?

Secretary interjecting

Senator KIM CARR: It is due 11 May. We need to get further submissions from you in time for us to write the report on those matters, so if you could look at that—

Senator XENOPHON: Can you get it to us in the next 24 to 48 hours?

Mr Wacey : Absolutely.

Senator KIM CARR: I come back to this issue of the Trade Remedies Forum, which is clearly a central concern in the submissions we have received. When were you told that the forum would be abolished? Was it at the time the minister, or the parliamentary secretary, I suppose, wrote to the forum members, in December 2014?

Mr Wacey : That was certainly our first notification, on 17 December—the letter from Parliamentary Secretary Baldwin. Misha?

Mr Zelinksy : That is the same for us. All of us have had almost no contact in regard to the Trade Remedies Forum. Apart from that one letter, there has been almost complete silence about it, notwithstanding that it is legislated for.

Senator KIM CARR: Now, there was a briefing; the department put on a briefing for members of the forum. Were you invited to that briefing?

Mr Wacey : We were invited to that briefing by the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union.

Senator KIM CARR: But not by the department?

Mr Wacey : No. We were quite shocked, because we assumed as key stakeholders in the antidumping system and also members of the forum that we would be invited to that. But we heard about it, I think, a week out from the meeting, from the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union.

Senator KIM CARR: Were you ever given any explanation as to why you were not invited? You basically had to gatecrash the briefing, did you?

Mr Wacey : That would have been our only option. But we were not in a position to attend, given the short notice as well.

Senator KIM CARR: Were you ever provided with any advice as to what the replacement body would be? Did the parliamentary secretary in his letter, for instance, outline alternative arrangements?

Mr Wacey : Nothing specific. I believe the letter says something about consultative arrangements, administrative arrangements, smaller groups or something like that, but nothing specific. I do actually have the letter here somewhere.

Mr Zelinksy : Yes, apart from that one letter, I have really only heard innuendo about what is going to happen with the group, and it is a long way down the track now. Since the government took over in December 2013, it has not met at all.

Senator KIM CARR: I notice that you have stated today that it is a requirement at law for the forum to meet twice a year. If that is correct, then the government is now acting outside the law. That is correct, isn't it?

Mr Wacey : That is correct. The other thing is that we do not think the government have a valid excuse for that. They cannot claim ignorance of it, because they have been alerted on a number of occasions that those are their obligations under the act—I think, through you even, Senator Carr, in the Senate estimates process, and Senator Ketter as well.

Senator KIM CARR: Yes, we have pursued this. I just want to be clear: in your view, the government is acting outside of the law, or in breach of the law, by not having the forum meet as required by legislation.

Mr Wacey : Yes.

Senator KIM CARR: Mr Zelinsky, the AWU put in quite a detailed submission to the House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture and Industry inquiry into the circumvention of antidumping laws back in November. It is my understanding that the chairman of that committee, Mr Rowan Ramsey, said:

Industry claims that as soon as an anti-dumping decision is granted against an imported product, the producer finds a way of changing the description, altering the product or routing the product through a third country to avoid the anti-dumping action.

Given that these claims are being made by government members, is it your understanding that that is correct? And what discussion has there been with government about avoiding or circumventing those particular antidumping diversions?

Mr Zelinksky : There are two elements to that. The first answer is that we obviously discuss very closely with our industries about dumping, particularly in heavy manufacturing commodities, so steel, aluminium, glass et cetera. It has been a huge issue for the last few years. The issue with dumping is that, as was pointed out in that quote there, it is a regulatory arms race. You tighten up a provision, you get a decision made and then the dumpers become more sophisticated and they seek to go around it. So the government needs to be very vigilant. It is never fixed. It is not an issue that you can just go, 'Well, we've fixed it; dust the hands, move on.'

Senator KIM CARR: You mean it is a bit like tax avoidance?

Mr Zelinksky : Correct. Former Minister Clare, as he then was, who had responsibility for the portfolio, was of the view that at least 10 years would be required to keep a close eye on this issue. China's ascension is happening economically, but there is a huge volume of surplus product around the world looking for a home and it is basically looking to go through the door of least resistance. Australia is not really keeping a close eye on this issue. It is about ensuring the laws are right, agile and updated and also that the department tasked with looking after them is appropriately resourced. One of the huge things that we found under the previous streamlining reviews of antidumping provisions was that not only were the laws inadequate but the resourcing was inadequate. That was part of the process of setting up the Anti-Dumping Commission, having a dedicated element of the government.

In answer to your first question, you as a government need to make sure that we are continually reviewing the sophistication of dumping and looking at countries that are dumping. As is pointed out by industry, there is a massive amount of frustration. You get a dumping case up and it takes a long time to get it done. You finally get one done and then, the next thing you know, effectively the same products are coming in in a different manner through a different channel or with a slight modification to the goods.

With respect to the second part of your question as to what is being done about it, the International Trade Remedies Forum was a great avenue for raising these issues on a continual basis of saying: 'This is what we are seeing now; there have been some changes and we are now seeing this behaviour.' So, in effect, as far as I can see from the AWU's perspective and also in consultation with the industries is that there has been very little discussion over the last 18 months or so with government about this issue. And, as a result, a lot of good work was done, but we are starting to take our eye off the ball a bit, off the sophisticated behaviour of the dumpers.

Senator KIM CARR: Can I put it to both of you that, in my experience as a minister, I found access to independent advice to be incredibly helpful to supplement official advice through the bureaucracy. Is it your view that a forum such as this actually provides the government with access to information—real-world, real-time market intelligence as to what is going on with industry, which then allows for formal processes to occur? Is that what the forum was supposed to be about?

Mr Zelinksky : Absolutely. I think it was an important tripartite body. It was very functional. We got a lot of things done. It was not a dysfunctional body at all. A lot of regulatory outcomes were achieved.

Senator KIM CARR: Such as what?

Mr Zelinksky : We had the streamlining reviews that went through and I think four tranches of legislation passed through the House which sought to rejig the entire system. Then there was the Brumby review, which recommended the setting up of the Anti-Dumping Commission and further resourcing of the department. So I think it is important. But it is also very important, as you said, that industry is at the coalface. They see the goods that are in the market. They, all of a sudden, will talk to one of their key clients who will say where they can get the product at 50 per cent of the price from China and they cannot compete with that. It is prima facie dumping. The best way to alert that from industry to government is through a body such as the International Trade Remedies Forum.

Senator KIM CARR: Yes, but, at the Senate estimates committee back in December, the government told us—

ACTING CHAIR: Can you make this the final question—

Senator KIM CARR: Yes, this will be my final question on this line. It is just that the Senate committee was advised that the government, as part of the announcement in December, said that the forum would no longer continue and there would be alternative consultative arrangements to consult with industry. Have you been approached about any alternative consultative arrangements?

Mr Wacey : No.

Senator KIM CARR: Is this because you represent trade unions? Do you think there is a broader issue here—that they do not like your views because of who you are?

Mr Wacey : I think it does represent a bit of a pattern of behaviour, to tell you the truth. We did have a tripartite approach to a lot of elements of industry policy, if you like, and trade policy with the former government. The Manufacturing Leaders Group and the Pulp and Paper Advisory Group are two examples which we point out in our submission. We actually think it is a good thing when industry, employers, unions and governments sit down together and talk about some of the problems facing—

Senator KIM CARR: These are open discussions where there is contestable advice put to government? Is that the basis on which the forum worked?

Mr Wacey : Yes, absolutely. There is a suggestion in the Department of Industry and Science submission that it was not so facilitative of open discussions and that sort of thing. That was not my experience whatsoever. I thought it was really useful. I think it was really useful having trade unions sitting around the table. It was not just the importer or the raw material producer or the other producer belting it out, because trade unions had a distinct understanding of the economy and the need for long-term jobs and that sort of thing—and also not the position of the importer, which wanted to get cheaper products at any cost, and not the position of the exporter. One of the paradoxes for me is that the biggest employer on the International Trade Remedies Forum which represented CFMEU members was actually an importer. So we did not have an interest of their having inputs any higher than absolutely necessary, but at the same time we had an understanding that we did not care just about the next two or three financial periods in terms of the shareholders, which may have been in the interest of the International Trade Remedies Forum; we also cared about having long-term access to products. If that was dumped, it was unsustainable, and it may not occur later.

Senator KIM CARR: Thank you.

Senator XENOPHON: I am conscious of the time constraints. I will be very brief, just following on from Senator Carr's line of questioning. Can I take you to page 23 of your submission, 'Determining normal value when costs are unreliable'. You entered into a discussion about the difference between the Australian Industry Group approach in terms of 'normal value' calculation and remarks made by the Anti-Dumping Commissioner, Mr Seymour, in respect of answers he gave on 23 October to supplementary budget estimates. Would either of you feel free to elaborate on that briefly, given the extraordinary time constraints we have? What do you see as the significance of that, and do you think the legislation needs to be clearer as to how the normal value of goods can be determined?

Mr Wacey : Yes, I am happy to briefly elaborate on that. This was actually one of the key work items of the International Trade Remedies Forum. We were considering independent advice about an amendment to the Customs Act to make this clear. I believe that an amendment was put up to one of the former government's bills about it as well, which might have implemented some of that advice. For me, the different interpretations from Mr Willox and also Mr Seymour in this area show that clarification is necessary in terms of how normal value can be established in a 'particular market situation' and the costs, which get analysed and reflect normal market conditions—absolutely.

Senator XENOPHON: By the way, my update is that flights to Canberra have been diverted to Sydney for refuelling, so there you go.

Mr Wacey : Tom has landed, apparently, and he is on his way.

Senator XENOPHON: The Adelaide flight is in Sydney at the moment.

Mr Zelinsky : Is that right?

Senator XENOPHON: This will be my last question, because of time constraints. Can I say, Mr Wacey, that Lenore Taylor, from The Guardian, complains that I talk too quickly; I think that she needs to talk to you! You have outdone me, which is saying something!

You are talking about the interpretation that the Anti-Dumping Commission has taken on this. How does it make a practical difference in dealing with dumping cases? Can you just spell that out. You might want to take it on notice. In other words, if we accept the 'normal value' definition or the approach by the commission to what the Australian Industry Group and indeed the unions are saying, what does that mean in practical terms? Can you just paint the picture: what does it actually mean in terms of dealing with these cases?

Mr Wacey : I think the key difference in the advice, and also something which the amendment that the trade unions and certainly a lot of the manufacturing unions of the forum were arguing for, was the ability, in certain situations, for the minister or the commissioner or whoever is analysing the state to refer to all relevant information. It may be a case where 'all relevant information' does start looking at production costs, not just costs for certain inputs but benchmark production costs of the whole product in certain countries in a particular market situation.

Senator XENOPHON: Very quickly, Mr Zelinsky?

Mr Zelinsky : I am just going to the question of surrogacy particularly. One of the major issues when it comes to dealing with dumping cases—a lot of it is China—is that, after the acknowledgement of China as a market economy by the Howard government, it is very difficult under the current interpretations of the legislation—one of the things debated is the inability—to substitute Chinese costs for some other third-party nation costs.

Senator XENOPHON: That Howard government decision to determine it as a market economy has had profound implications, hasn't it?

Mr Zelinsky : Absolutely profound implications, and no other nation in the world, basically, did that. Every other nation operates under the China accession protocol, which is due to exhaust in 2016. They basically gave themselves a 10-year window to adjust to the rise of China. Australia traded that away. For whatever reason, it was decided at the time that that was a smart move as regards—I believe, and I do not wish to be an expert on it—free trade agreements, but it handcuffed in many ways Australia's ability to determine dumping legislation against China, which a lot of other nations enjoyed and continue to enjoy.

Senator XENOPHON: Thank you.

Mr Wacey : My assumption is that, with China's WTO protocol, when they accede in 2016 to full membership and that right has expired, then other countries will look at what we are proposing in these amendments. I am sure that if Australia does not then the US will. I am sure that Canada will. I am sure that—

Senator XENOPHON: We are way over time. In any supplementary submissions—and Senator Carr has asked you some questions—can you address that issue as well, please. We are on a really tight time line in the next 24 or 48 hours.

Senator KIM CARR: I have another one too—that is, around the issue of additional measures. You say there were outstanding questions when the forum last met, in March, and you said they were under consideration at the time. I would like some assessment, please—your opinion—as to whether those issues have progressed since that time. That was on page 22 of your submission. Can you give us an update on what has actually happened to those measures since the forum last met in March 2013?

Mr Wacey : Yes. Essentially nothing. We outlined in detail to the subsidies working group how to determine normal value when costs are not reliable, which we have touched on today; the import data and access to import data in order to launch an antidumping investigation; and also how to determine the 'lesser duty' rule in a way which is not disadvantageous to Australian industry. We outlined in some detail the consequences of that. The consequences of that for our members have been job losses.

Mr Zelinsky : Can I just reiterate that that was then, and I imagine the situation has gotten far worse with domestic manufacturers in the sense of the sophistication of the behaviour of dumpers. The issues outstanding had not been addressed 18 months ago, and there would be a whole heap of new issues and new behaviours that need to be addressed, so it is not just what was not dealt with then; it is also what is happening now.

Senator KIM CARR: Thank you very much.

Mr Wacey : Can I just clarify a bit of the information I gave about the solar panels, about the $124 billion?

ACTING CHAIR: Go ahead.

Mr Wacey : I have a quote here. It says:

In 2010, the top five solar companies in China had received over $31.3 billion in loans from the state-owned China Development Bank alone (Mercom).

I am happy to provide that reference on notice as well.

Senator XENOPHON: Yes, please.

ACTING CHAIR: Thank you very much again, Mr Wacey and Mr Zelinsky. As there are no further questions from senators, we thank you for your evidence. I have in my notes here for the committee members that we are requesting answers to questions on notice by the close of business today. Is that possible, Mr Wacey?

Senator XENOPHON: What did you say, Chair? I lost you there.

ACTING CHAIR: I have here that we are requesting answers to questions on notice to be provided by close of business today. Is that possible, Mr Wacey?

Senator XENOPHON: Maybe close of business tomorrow? Chair, I wonder if we could do that.

ACTING CHAIR: Okay, I agree. I have that here in my notes; it was not my decision.

Senator KIM CARR: As part of that, are you able to provide us with your assessment of what amendments need to be made to this bill in terms of the current situation?

Mr Wacey : Absolutely.

ACTING CHAIR: If it is okay, Mr Wacey, to provide answers by close of business tomorrow, that would be greatly appreciated. We thank you again for your evidence and hope that you get home okay. Thanks, guys.

Mr Wacey : Thank you, Chair.

Mr Zelinsky : Thank you, Chair.

Senator KIM CARR: Thank you very much.

Senator XENOPHON: Thank you.