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Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Page: 1556


Senator Milne asked the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, upon notice, on 13 October 2010:

With reference to the financial accounting for the following three Tasmanian Forest Industry Development and Assistance Programs (the programs): the Tasmanian Forest Industry Development Program (TFIDP), the Tasmanian Country Sawmills Assistance Program (TCSAP) and the Tasmanian Softwood Industry Development Program (TSIDP), including the following:

  • the total value of these three programs when they were introduced was:

                TFIDP $42 million

                TCSAP $4 million

                TSIDP $10 million

                TOTAL $56 million

(source: Australian National Audit Office report no. 26 of 2007-08,

Tasmanian Forest Industry Development and Assistance Programs (the report), p. 12)

  • in October 2007 all grants under each program were ‘increased by 30 per cent to assist applicants in offsetting the income tax liability’ of their grant so that the value of each program was:

                TFIDP $54.6 million

                TCSAP $5.2 million

                TSIDP $13 million

                TOTAL $72.8 million

(source: the report, p. 14)

  • in October 2009 a full list of disbursements of funds under the three programs was provided in response to a question taken on notice (CC 10) during the 2009 supplementary budget estimates hearings of the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee, stating that the amounts disbursed in the three programs were:

                TFIDP $51,557,904.03

                TCSAP $3,696,441.00

                TSIDP $13,632,247.10

                TOTAL $68,886,592.13

  • in October 2009 the funds remaining in the programs were provided in response to question taken on notice (CC 06) during the 2009 budget estimates hearings of the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee, stating that the amounts were:

                TFIDP $1,530,296

                TCSAP $1,579,701

                TSIDP $195,284

                TOTAL $2,914,713

  • finally, if the funds remaining in each program are added to the funds expended, as detailed in the third dot point above, the total funds allocated to the programs are:

                Actual allocation†

                TFIDP $54,088,200.03 $54.6 million

                TCSAP $5,276,142.00 $5.2 million

                TSIDP $13,436,963.10 $13 million

                TOTAL $71,801,305.13 $72.8 million

(†source: the report, p. 14)

(1)   Why do the disbursements of each program, and of the total in (iii) above, vary from the values of the programs, and of the total in (ii) above.

(2)   With regard to the answer to question CC 10 which stated that ‘[i]n most cases, the final disbursements included an additional 30 per cent payment to compensate grantees for tax liabilities incurred in receiving their grants’:

(a)   can the meaning of the phrase ‘in most cases’ in this statement be clarified;

(b)   in which cases was the additional 30 per cent paid to grantees and in which cases was it not;

(c)   what was the basis of the determination for which grantees would receive the additional 30 per cent funding; and

(d)   does this variation in the payment of the additional 30 per cent to grantees account for the discrepancy in the figures quoted in (ii) and (iii); if not, what is the reason for the discrepancy.

(3)   Why do the figures from the answers to question CC 10 and question CC 06 vary from the actual allocations to the programs.

(4)   What happened to approximately $1 million from the total actual allocation of $72.8 million.

(5)   Why did the TFIDP not expend its actual funding allocation.

(6)   Why did the TCSAP and TSIDP exceed their actual funding allocation.


Senator Ludwig (Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) —The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:

(1)   During the program some funds were reallocated between program components and $1.0 million of funding was reallocated to support other priorities.

(2) (a)   The 30 per cent additional payment was an elective payment and not all grantees choose to claim this payment. (b) See answer to (2) (a) above. (c) See answer to (2) (a) above. (d) No. See answer to (1) above. (3) See answer to (1) above.

(4)   $1.0 million dollars of TCFA IDP funding was reallocated to support other priorities.

(5)   Not all funding was expended under the TFIDP because funding could only be paid on a reimbursement basis. Some TFIDP projects made project savings, not all aspects of projects proceeded and not all projects claimed the of 30 per cent additional payment.

(6)   Funds were reallocated between program components to respond to program demands.