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Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Page: 3384

Senator Barnett asked the Minister for Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Water, upon notice, on 17 September 2009:

(1)   How much has the department and relevant agencies spent on legal advice for the 2008-09 financial year.

(2)   How much was spent on: (a) internal; and (b) external, legal advice.

(3)   What was the nature, duration, cost and method of procurement and the name of the lawyers or law firm that provided the legal advice.

Senator Wong (Minister for Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Water) —The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:

For the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (DCCEE) and the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator (ORER) to answer the questions would be an unreasonable diversion of government resources. Under the Legal Services Directions, each agency is required to make a report on its legal services expenditure publicly available by 30 October 2009. However, there is no requirement to report on expenditure on legal advice as a distinct item within legal services expenditure more generally. 

To require DCCEE and ORER to review all of their legal services expenditure for 2008-09 in order to isolate expenditure on legal advice in that year would be unreasonable, having regard to the extent of their legal services expenditure, as would ascertaining the nature, duration, cost, method of procurement and the names of the legal service providers in relation to each legal advice.