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Thursday, 25 March 2004
Page: 27290

Mr McMULLAN (2:55 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources and it concerns freedom of information applications from the opposition relating to documents that disclose the government's secret deals with the Manildra Group. Can the minister confirm that officers in his department were directed to establish a special interdepartmental committee to coordinate the government's response to these FOI applications? Was an IDC formed and did a meeting take place on 11 March in the minister's department's Allara Street offices? Were officers from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Treasury, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade present? Can the minister confirm that his department was advised that the operation of the IDC was improper and a clear breach of the FOI Act?

Mr IAN MACFARLANE (Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources) —I do not have a brief on this issue, because there are no secret negotiations by my office with Manildra.