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Tuesday, 2 April 2019
Page: 14546

QUESTIONS IN WRITING

Safer Communities Fund

(Question No. 1175)


Ms Keay asked the Minister for Home Affairs, in writing, on 18 October 2018:

In respect of the Government's commitment during the by-election for the electoral division of Braddon to provide $134,000 to the Waratah Wynyard Council and $60,000 to the Burnie City Council from the Safer Communities Fund for closed circuit television cameras, will this be honoured; if not, why not; if so, (a) what discussions did the Government hold with either the Waratah Wynyard or Burnie City councils prior to this announcement, (b) are these councils required to formally apply to receive these grants, (c) what other funding options do these councils have should their applications be unsuccessful, and (d) when will the funding be paid should their applications be successful.


Mr Dutton: The answer to the honourable member's question is:

The Government had discussions with the Waratah-Wynyard Council and the Burnie City Council prior to announcements on 16 July 2018. Both councils have applied for funding under round three of the Safer Communities Fund, as is appropriate to ensure the proposals represent value for money.

Elephant Ivory and Rhinoceros Horn

(Question No. 1177)


Ms Sharkie asked the Minister for the Environment, in writing, on 25 October 2018:

(1) Why is there no ban on the domestic trade of elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn in Australia?(2) What measures is the Government implementing to ensure trade in illegally imported elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn is not occurring within Australia?(3) How is the Government actively working with the international community to combat the poaching crisis and the trafficking of wildlife, specifically elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn?


Ms Price: The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The Australian Parliament Joint Committee on Law Enforcement finalised its report on domestic trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn in Australia in September 2018. The report recommended that governments implement a national domestic trade ban on elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn.

The Australian Government can not, on its own, implement a complete ban on the domestic trade in ivory and rhino horn.

In December 2018, I asked the states and territories to consider their existing regulations and options for implementing such a ban.

The Government is carefully considering its response to the Committee's report, and will use information from states and territories to inform our response.

(2) Australia's laws for the import of elephant ivory and rhino horn are stricter than international requirements, as required under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The Department of the Environment and Energy and the Australian Border Force work together to enforce Australia's international wildlife trade laws.

Penalties for illegal imports of elephant ivory and rhino horn can be significant. Possessing illegally imported ivory or rhino horn is an offence under national environment law and can be penalised with fines up to $210,000 for an individual and up to 10 years imprisonment.

The Australian Government works with other countries' CITES Management Authorities that allow the export of elephant ivory to Australia, to improve their awareness of Australia's strict requirements.

We also work with auction houses to encourage documentation demonstrating the legal origin of ivory and rhino horn offered for sale within Australia.

(3) The Australian Government has successfully worked through forums such as CITES, the United Nations General Assembly and the G20 with international law enforcement agencies, such as Interpol, to facilitate the international movement of wildlife forensic samples, increase penalties for wildlife crime and target corruption and money laundering associated with wildlife trafficking.

We will continue to support measures that offer conservation benefits to elephants and rhinos.

Disability Support Pension

(Question No. 1196)


Ms Sharkie asked the Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation, in writing, on 27 November 2018:

(1) What is the current average wait time for a successful Disability Support Pension (DSP) application.(2) How many DSP applications were (a) received, and (b) successful, between (i) 1 November 2013 and 31 October 2014, (ii) 1 November 2014 and 31 October 2015, (iii) 1 November 2015 and 31 October 2016, and (iv) 1 November 2017 and 31 October 2018.(3) How many of the above applications were submitted by people who identify as Indigenous or Torres Strait Islander, and how many of these were successful.


Mr Keenan: The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) For the period 1 July 2018 to 30 November 2018, the median time to process granted Disability Support Pension Claims is 37 days*

*Median days to process claims uses the same rules applied to Portfolio Budget Statement results.

(2)

DSP Claims Received

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander

Non-Indigenous, Unknown, or South Sea Islander (only)

Nov 2013-Oct 2014

11,160

178,612

Nov 2014-Oct 2015

11,077

165,049

Nov 2015-Oct 2016

11,078

147,131

Nov 2016-Oct 2017

11,588

133,891

Nov 2017-Oct 2018

10,834

119,967

 

 

 

DSP Claims Granted

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander

Non-Indigenous, Unknown, or South Sea Islander (only)

Nov 2013-Oct 2014

3,041

49,655

Nov 2014-Oct 2015

2,089

33,101

Nov 2015-Oct 2016

1,599

26,054

Nov 2016-Oct 2017

1,987

25,527

Nov 2017-Oct 2018

2,649

30,261

(3) Refer to (2).

Please note the following advice when seeking to interpret the data in (2):

Claims Received is not the same as Claims Finalised , accordingly, the difference between Claims Received and Claims Granted may not equal Claims Rejected. The difference would also include unfinalised claims, and claims that did not progress, for example, withdrawn by the customer.

Bibi, Ms Asia

(Question No. 1210)


Ms Sharkie asked the Minister for Home Affairs, in writing, on 29 November 2018:

(1) Will the Government be offering asylum to Asia Bibi?(2) Will the Government be offering asylum to Asia Bibi's family?


Mr Dutton: The answer to the honourable member's question is:

The Australian Government is aware of Ms Asia Bibi's situation. However, it would not be beneficial to Ms Bibi, or her family, for me to provide further comment about her particular situation at this time.

Age Pension

Superannuation

(Question No. 1238)


Ms Sharkie asked the Minister representing the Minister for Finance and the Public Service, in writing, on 12 February 2019:

(1)    How does the indexation methodology for Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme (CSS) and Public Sector Superannuation Scheme (PSS) defined benefit pensions differ from the indexation methodology for the Age Pension.(2)    Why are the indexation methodologies different, and does it relate to the substantive purpose of the different pensions.(3) Does the Government intend to align the indexation methodology of CSS and PSS with that of the Age Pension; if not, why not.(4) Has the Government investigated the cost of aligning the indexation methodologies; if so, what are the projected additional costs.


Mr Frydenberg: The Minister for Finance and the Public Service has supplied the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1) PSS and CSS indexed pensions are adjusted bi-annually by movements in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Age Pension payments are adjusted bi-annually by the greater of movements in the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index and the CPI. If the resulting Age Pension is lower than a prescribed benchmark against Male Total Average Weekly Earnings, it is adjusted to the level of the benchmark.

(2) CSS and PSS pensions and the Age Pension serve fundamentally different purposes. CSS and PSS pensions represent part of the remuneration package provided for Commonwealth employment. The CSS and PSS provide access to a lifetime pension and compare very favourably to the 9.5 percent Superannuation Guarantee applicable to most Australian workers. In contrast, the Age Pension is a welfare safety net benefit payment available to all Australians who meet the eligibility requirements. Accordingly, it is appropriate that the indexation arrangements for the Age Pension takes account of the living cost index for recipients.

(3) While sympathetic to the difficulties that some superannuants face living on a fixed income, the Government considers that the Commonwealth civilian defined benefit schemes compare favourably with superannuation arrangements in the general community. The Government therefore intends to maintain the current indexation arrangements for CSS and PSS pensions.

The Commonwealth has made significant contributions to the Future Fund to fund the legacy entitlements arising from the Commonwealth's defined benefit schemes. These fiscally responsible steps mean that the Future Fund is expected to have sufficient assets by the late 2020s to cover the Government's superannuation liabilities. Any improvement to indexation would increase the Government's superannuation liabilities.

(4) No financial modelling of the cost of changing the CSS and PSS indexation methodology has been undertaken by the Government.

Roads to Recovery Program

(Question No. 1247)


Mr Gorman asked the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development in writing, on 19 February 2019:

In respect of his letter to Cr Renee McLennan, Mayor of the Town of Bassendean in the electoral division of Perth, on the funding allocated to the Town through the Roads to Recovery Program, (a) why was the Town's five year share of the Program cut by 42 per cent from its previous five year allocation, (b) what method was used to determine each council's share of this funding, and (c) which councils will receive the $384,572 which has been taken from the Town.


Mr McCormack: The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(a) The total amount of base funding for Roads to Recovery over the next funding period (2019-20 to 2023-24) is $2.0 billion.

Total funding for Roads to Recovery for the current funding period (2014-15 to 2018-19) is $3.205 billion, consisting of:

base funding of $1.75 billion ($350 million per annum);

one-off double funding of $350 million in 2015-16 from the 2014-15 Infrastructure Growth Package; and

an additional $1.105 billion over 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 from an increase in fuel excise.

Base allocations have increased, as Roads to Recovery funding has increased from $350 million to $400 million a year from 2019-20. The Town of Bassendean's base allocation under Roads to Recovery for the period 2019-20 to 2023-14 has increased to $555,840 from $513,371.

(b) The new Roads to Recovery allocations were determined on the basis of the recommendations of the Local Government Grants Commissions in each state and the Northern Territory for the roads component of the Financial Assistance Grants for 2018-19. These were the latest recommendations available when the allocations were determined and this is the same methodology that has been used for previous Roads to Recovery programs.

(c) No Roads to Recovery funding has been taken from the Town of Bassendean.

Roads to Recovery Program

(Question No. 1248)


Mr Gorman asked the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development in writing, on 19 February 2019:

1. What sum of the Roads to Recovery Program funding did the (a) City of Perth, (b) City of Vincent, (c) City of Bayswater, and (d) City of Stirling, receive in (i) 2014-15, (ii) 2015-16, (iii) 2016-17, (iv) 2017-18, and (v) 2018-19.

2. What sum of the Roads to Recovery Program funding will the (a) City of Perth, (b) City of Vincent, (c) City of Bayswater, and (d) City of Stirling, receive in (i) 2019-20, (ii) 2020-21, (iii) 2021-22, (iv) 2022-23, and (v) 2023-24.


Mr McCormack: The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

1. Roads to Recovery payments to these councils for 2014-15 to 2017-18 and the amount they are to receive in 2018-19 are:

Council

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

City of Perth

 

 

 

 

 

Base Funding

$56,538

$197,680

$197,680

$186,909

$349,593

Additional 2015-16

 

$197,680

 

 

 

Fuel Excise

 

$263,330

$111,400

$249,778

 

Total

$56,538

$658,690

$309,080

$436,687

$349,593

City of Vincent

 

 

 

 

 

Base Funding

$92,615

$173,315

$173,315

$267,667

$159,662

Additional 2015-16

 

$173,315

 

 

 

Fuel Excise

 

$227,553

$234,891

$85,090

 

Total

$92,615

$574,183

$408,206

$352,757

$159,662

City of Bayswater

 

 

 

 

 

Base Funding

$343,054

$343,054

$343,054

$338,789

$347,321

Additional 2015-16

 

$343,054

 

 

 

Fuel Excise

 

$294,102

$441,349

$348,323

 

Total

$343,054

$980,210

$784,403

$687,112

$347,321

City of Stirling

 

 

 

 

 

Base Funding

$994,400

$1,014,227

$1,014,227

$1,496,759

$551,522

Additional 2015-16

 

$1,014,227

 

 

 

Fuel Excise

 

$869,900

$1,780,214

$554,022

 

Total

$994,400

$2,898,354

$2,794,441

$2,050,781

$551,522

Note - the amount that each council is to receive in 2018-19 is the balance of their five-year allocation for this period.

2. Roads to Recovery funding allocated to these councils for the period 2019-20 to 2023-24 on a pro-rata basis is:

Council

2019-20

2020-21

2021-22

2022-23

2023-24

City of Perth

$231,538

$231,538

$231,538

$231,539

$231,539

City of Vincent

$186,992

$186,992

$186,992

$186,992

$186,991

City of Bayswater

$402,751

$402,751

$402,751

$402,751

$402,752

City of Stirling

$1,115,802

$1,115,802

$1,115,802

$1,115,802

$1,115,803

Note - final payments in each financial year may differ as payments are made against actual progress on the projects chosen by each council.