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Monday, 15 September 2008
Page: 31


Senator CARR (Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research) (3:37 PM) —by leave—I would like to make a statement on the Senate order for the production of documents agreed to on 3 September 2008. The order, agreed to on the motion by Senator Milne, relates to the provision of:

... the ‘alternative, more business-friendly formula for providing assistance to trade-exposed, emissions-intensive companies’ circulated to the business community by either the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism or the office of the Minister for Resources and Energy (Mr Ferguson) ahead of the roundtable meetings on 29 August 2008.

My office has consulted with Mr Ferguson’s office, which in turn has consulted with the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism. I am advised that the words in the newspaper article quoted but not attributed in the Senate order are a direct reference to the working notes and thoughts prepared by an officer of the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism. I am advised that the officer provided these working notes to a person in an external organisation in order to obtain that person’s views. The views in the notes are not those of the minister, his office, the Secretary of the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism or the department itself. The provision of those notes to a person outside the department was done without the prior knowledge or authority of the minister, his office or the secretary of the department.

I am also advised that the notes had no bearing on or relevance to the industry consultations conducted by Mr Ferguson on 29 August 2008. As such, the notes were not circulated in connection with the industry consultations. The government does not propose to table a document in response to the order on the basis that no document or documents have been brought into existence in the form so described.