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Notice given 8 December 2003

2448  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Heritage—(a) On what grounds, or against which criteria, was the Tasmanian Environment Centre’s (TEC) funding cut by 71 per cent in 2003; (b) in what way is the centre failing compared to previous years; and (c) was funding cut because the TEC promotes public education on the environment and so threatens government security.

2450  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister—(a) What is the Halliburton stake in the consortium which built and operates the Alice Springs to Darwin railway line; (b) was Halliburton the project leader; and (c) what discussions has the Prime Minister or the department had with Halliburton about the projects, including where and when these were held.

2453  Senator Forshaw: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Science—

(1) Was a meeting of the board of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) held at Parliament House in October or November 2002; if so: (a) when was it held; and (b) can a list be provide of all those who attended and the capacity in which they attended, including ANSTO Board members, ANSTO staff, ministers and their staff and other government representatives.

(2) Was the issue of geological faulting, which has been discovered at the new reactor construction site, discussed at any time during the meeting.

(3) Was the impact of the faulting on the construction schedule for the reactor discussed; if so, what are the possible effects, remedies and potential cost of remediation.

(4) (a) How was substantive rather than ancillary construction work affected during the months in which expert geological surveys and reports were prepared and considered; and (b) was work on the reactor construction site effectively shut down; if so, for how long.

(5) (a) Is ANSTO required to continue to make progress payments to INVAP during any construction hiatus; (b) are similar payments required to be made to any other organisations involved in reactor construction; and (c) was any contingency funding included in the project’s budget for unseen delays.

(6) How much were the scheduled payments made monthly by ANSTO to INVAP SE during the 2002 calendar year.

(7) Has ANSTO requested any additional funding for the reactor project; if so: (a) when was it requested and by whom; (b) how much was requested; (c) over what period and for what purpose; and (d) what was the government’s response.

(8) Has additional funding been provided or promised to ANSTO to complete the reactor; if so, by what mechanism and in what timeframe will such funds be provided.

(9) Was any discussion of the foregoing matters at the board meeting referred to in (1) minuted; if so, can a copy of the minutes be provided.

(10) How are contributions made to discussions by invitees and/or observers at ANSTO meetings minuted.

(11) (a) Who were the invitees and/or observers that attended the ANSTO board meeting referred to in (1); and (b) were their contributions minuted; if not why not.

(12) (a) What is the expected total cost of the new reactor; and (b) what would the expected cost of the reactor have been if the delay caused by the geological faulting had not occurred.

(13) Jas ANSTO reduced operational funding of its other areas (non new reactor project) during the current and previous financial years; if the Government has not reduced ANSTO’s budget for its usual activities: (a) is the Government satisfied no recurring funding provided by the taxpayer is being diverted to subsidise new reactor construction costs; and (b) what mechanisms are in place to ensure that this does not occur.

2457  Senator Cherry: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—What was the cost to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) including time and expenditure on material, labour and other expenses, in: (a) investigating and responding to Senator Alston’s 68 allegations of bias, made against the ABC in relation to its coverage of the war on Iraq; and (b) responding to Senator Santoro’s freedom of information requests in relation to ABC news and current affairs coverage of: (i) the Iraq war, (ii) the Tampa incident, (iii) illegal arrivals, (iv) the Government’s detention policies and the ‘Pacific solution’, and (v) Australia’s political and military relationship with the United States and Britain in the context of Iraq and the war on terrorism.