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Thursday, 13 August 2009
Page: 4965

Senator Cash asked the Minister representing the Minister for Education and Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, upon notice, on 11 June 2009:

Can details be provided of any interstate visits or meetings Ms Natalie James, the Department’s Chief Counsel/Group Manager for Workplace Relations Legal, has undertaken or attended at government expense since her appointment in the position, including:

(a)   the purpose of each visit/meeting;

(b)   the states visited;

(c)   the location of each meeting;

(d)   the class of travel undertaken by Ms James for each interstate visit and the cost of each airfare and other ancillary or incidental transport;

(e)   the name, location and cost of the accommodation and any incidental costs utilised during these interstate visits; and

(f)   who accompanied Ms James on each of these interstate visits.

Senator Arbib (Minister for Employment Participation and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Government Service Delivery) —The Minister for Education and Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:

Since becoming Chief Counsel, Workplace Relations Legal Group in the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Natalie James has been required to travel interstate periodically in order to meet with stakeholders and legal service providers. Other staff accompany Ms James as required. Stakeholder and staff engagement is also conducted via video and telephone conferencing, to the extent practicable.

Ms James’ travel entitlements are governed by the DEEWR Travel Policy and providing details of each trip would be an unreasonable diversion of resources.