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Notice given 7 May 2003

1431  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister for Defence—In relation to Defence property sales:

(1) For each financial year since 1996-97, what were the Budget forecasts of receipts from Defence property sales.

(2) For each financial year since 1996-97, what were the actual receipts from Defence property sales.

(3) For each financial year from 1996-97 to 1999-2000 (inclusive) can a list be provided of all property sold by Defence, in the same format as the answer to question no. W10 taken on notice during the estimates hearings of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee in February 2002, indicating the location (town/suburb, state/territory, postcode), size of the property, nature of the property (vacant land, facilities), sale price and purchaser.

1439  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister for Health and Ageing—

(1) Can a progress report be provided on the National Meningococcal C Vaccine Program.

(2) Is it the case that a report from the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) in October 2002 recommended that a program of pneumococcal, meningococcal type C, injectable polio and chicken pox vaccines be funded.

(3) Is it the case that the department, in consultation with ATAGI, initially recommended that $47.5 million be spent on a targeted meningococcal type C vaccine program.

(4) Can a copy of the National Health and Medical Research Council’s consultation report into ATAGI’s recommendations, ‘National Health and Medical Research Council public consultation report into the draft 8th edition of the Australian Immunisation Handbook’ be provided; if not, why not.

(5) Why did the Government ignore expert advice and proceed with a universal meningococcal type C vaccine program in all states at a cost of $250 million, in spite of the fact that meningococcal type C disease is only prevalent in a limited number of geographic locations.

(6) As a result of this decision, is it now the case that the funding of the other essential vaccines recommended by ATAGI in October will be deferred indefinitely.

(7) Is one of the reasons the ATAGI recommended funding for pneumococcal vaccination that, according to data from Communicable Diseases Australia, there were 18 cases of meningococcal type C infection and 512 cases of invasive pneumococcal disease reported in children under 5 years of age in Australia in 2002.

(8) Can rates of hospitalisation, disability and death, by state, be provided for meningococcal type C disease and pneumococcal disease.

(9) Can the Government confirm that: (a) pneumococcal disease can affect the blood, spinal cord or brain and is therefore very serious; (b) invasive pneumococcal disease is the most common bacterial cause of serious disease in Australian infants and young children; (c) invasive pneumococcal disease is more common than meningococcal disease; (d) in young children, pneumococcal meningitis occurs 20 to 30 times more often than meningococcal type C meningitis; and (e) pneumococcal meningitis has a higher fatality rate and causes a higher rate of permanent and serious disability than meningococcal infection, half of all children who contract pneumococcal meningitis during the first year of life are left permanently disabled and about 11 per cent of children with pneumococcal meningitis will die.

(10) Is the Government aware of the article in the New England Journal of Medicine , 1 May 2003, that concludes; ‘The use of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine is preventing disease in young children, for whom the vaccine is indicated and may be reducing the rate of disease in adults. The vaccine provides an effective new tool for reducing disease caused by drug resistant strains’.

(11) Will this report lead to a re-evaluation of the decision not to fund pneumococcal vaccines.

(12) Can the Government provide a progress report on the distribution of pneumococcal vaccine to Aboriginal children.

(13) Is it the case that the take-up for Aboriginal children has been poor due to excessive restrictions designed to prevent leakage to unsubsidised children, excessive paperwork and difficulties in implementation; if so, how does the Government propose to improve the take-up rate.

(14) Is it the case that Aboriginal children have the highest rate of pneumococcal disease in the world.

(15) Can rates of hospitalisation, disability and death, by state, be provided for pneumococcal disease in Aboriginal children.

(16) When will an evaluation of the National Meningococcal C Vaccination Program be conducted.