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Notice given 9 October 2003

2201  Senator Cook: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources—In relation to the report of the Strategic Leaders Group of the Mineral Exploration Action Agenda: (a) which of the 12 recommendations does the Minister accept; (b) when will those recommendations accepted be implemented; and (c) has funding been allocated to implement these recommendations in each of the following financial years: (i) 2003-04, (ii) 2004-05, and (iii) 2005-06.

2202  Senator Ludwig: To ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General—With reference to the intellectual property enforcement consultative group that was an outcome of the report, ‘Cracking Down on Copycats, the Enforcement of Copyright in Australia’ :

(1) How many times has the above mentioned group met since its establishment.

(2) Who are the members of the consultative group and what state are they from.

(3) What were the selection criteria for the consultative group.

(4) Where does the group meet.

(5) Are expenses or travelling allowance paid for meetings; if so, how much.

(6) Are any members of the group employed by a legal firm which is already in receipt of federal government contracts for copyright issues.

(7) What findings, reports or issues has the group developed for consideration.

(8) Can the minutes of the group’s meetings be made available.

(9) Have any prosecutions resulted from the work of the group; if so, how many and which of these can be credited to the work of the group.

2203  Senator Ludwig: To ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General—With reference to the Attorney-General’s announcement that the law firm Phillips Fox is to conduct a major part of the Government’s broader review of the digital agenda reform: (a) what probity requirements have been sought from Phillips Fox in respect of this review; (b) has the Government required Phillips Fox to ensure that the firm has appropriate safeguards in place to separate its business interest from that of the work on the review; if so, how; if not, why not; and (c) which government agencies or departments have Phillips Fox acting on their behalf.

2204  Senator Ludwig: To ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General—

(1) (a) How often and when does the Office of Legal Services Coordination (OLSC) liaise with agencies in respect of monitoring and co-ordinating the delivery of legal services to the Commonwealth; and (b) what promotional activity does the OLSC undertake in respect of making departments aware of Legal Services Directions (LSDs).

(2) Does the department use the panel system for outsourcing legal work; if so, (a) who is on the panel; and (b) how long have they been on the panel.

(3) Does the department retain external legal services providers to develop legislative or policy proposals; if so: (a) which providers; and (b) which proposals.

(4) (a) Which external legal services providers undertook commercial drafting work on behalf of the department in each of the past 4 years; and (b) how much did these services cost.

(5) In relation to the OLSC: (a) how many staff are employed; and (b) can a breakdown be provided of full-time and part-time staff and their level of seniority.

(6) In relation to the work of the OLSC: (a) how many complaints were received, and how many investigations of the branch were conducted in the past 12 months; and (b) what were the results of those investigations.

(7) Can a copy be provided of the contract or contracts which the department uses for outsourcing legal services, in respect of the top five firms by cost.

(8) In relation to legal service providers retained by the department, how are these providers made aware of the requirements of the LSDs.

(9) Does the OLSC promote the use of alternative dispute resolution; if so, how; if not, why not.

(10) In relation to the work of the OLSC, can details be provided about: (a) the number of training seminars provided for agencies, in respect of its work over the past 4 years; and (b) the nature and duration of the seminars.

(11) When was the report prepared by Ms Sue Tongue provided to the Minister’s office.

2205  Senator Nettle: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources—With reference to the development of the nanotechnology industry in Australia:

(1) (a) What funding has been allocated to the nanotechnology (nanoscience) industry per year over the past 5 financial years; and (b) how much will this expenditure increase over the next 5 financial years.

(2) What is the nanotechnology industry currently worth to the Australian economy.

(3) What regulations are in place to govern the research and use of nanotechnology in Australia.

(4) What steps has the department taken to ensure that substances, materials, products etc, produced using nanotechnology will not have a detrimental effect on the total environment.

(5) Will organisations that are using the technology be required to follow the precautionary principle i.e., the proponents must confirm that there will be no harm to any part of the environment for each product developed.

(6) Are there current labelling regulations for products developed through the use of nanotechnology; if not, will the Minister introduce such regulations in the near future.

(7) Is there a register of products, covering all industries including medical and information technology, which have been and will be developed using nanotechnology.

(8) Will an agency be established to ensure nanotechnology is used in an ethical manner.

(9) Will the Minister facilitate a full public debate on the use of this technology, as was the case with genetic engineering.

2206  Senator Nettle: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the north coast railway: What Commonwealth funding has been provided for: (a) the construction of the divided Pacific Highway between Newcastle and Tweed Heads; and (b) major improvement of the North Coast railway between Broadmeadow and Murwillimbah; if no funding has been provided, why not.

2207  Senator George Campbell: To ask the Minister for Family and Community Services—

(1) What was Centrelink’s expenditure on contracting private sector recruitment companies to recruit non-executive staff for each of the following financial years: (a) 2000-01; (b) 2001-02; and (c) 2002-03.

(2) (a) Can a list of these companies be provided indicating whether they are, or were, a Job Network provider or a Government-approved job placement organisation; and (b) how many people have been recruited through the use of such companies.

2208  Senator Ludwig: To ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General—With reference to the third round of the Australia-United States free trade agreement negotiations from 21 July to 25 July 2003:

(1) Can the composite text capturing the view of both parties on nearly all chapters be provided.

(2) In relation to the intellectual property chapter, can the composite text following the negotiations meeting in Washington from 29 September to 1 October 2003 be provided.

(3) (a) When are the next consultations regarding the intellectual property aspects of the free trade negotiations between Australia and the United States; and (b) what, if any, are the outcomes to date.