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Notice given 21 June 2007

3385  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Defence—With reference to submissions by the department to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee’s inquiry into cluster munitions and the impending acquisition of an advanced sub-munition capability:

(1) Which model or models of advanced sub-munition capability is the department proposing to acquire.

(2) What is the name of the manufacturer of these cluster munitions.

(3) From which country or countries will the munitions be sourced.

(4) How many of each model are proposed to be acquired.

(5) What is the total cost and the unit cost for the purchase.

(6) How many sub-munitions does each of the proposed cluster munitions contain.

(7) (a) Which of these sub-munitions, if any, is precision guided and; and (b) for each of these sub-munitions, how are they precision guided.

(8) What is the estimated failure rate of the proposed sub-munitions.

(9) Were the sub-munitions tested for reliability; if so: (a) under what conditions were they tested; (b) by whom; (c) were the results of the tests independently verified; (d) was the test conducted by the Australian Government or any other government; (e) what were the results of the test; and (f) can a copy be provided of the report of the testing.

(10) For each model of cluster munitions, what mechanisms, if any, help to reduce the likelihood that sub-munitions will be dispersed in areas beyond the designated target.


 (11) Does the sub-munition contain safety features designed to minimise its humanitarian impact; if so: (a) what are these features; (b) do the features have mechanical or electrical triggers; and (c) can the features be deactivated; if so, under what conditions or circumstances.

(12) What measures will the department take to minimise the humanitarian impact of the acquired sub-munition.

(13) What position was adopted by the Australian Government in the recent international meeting on cluster bombs held in Lima, Peru.

3386  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister—With reference to a petition presented to the Prime Minister by Dr Kathryn Eriksson in relation to her husband, the former Federal Member of Parliament, Dr Andrew Theophanous and the National Crime Authority (NCA):

(1) Has the Prime Minister considered the petition.

(2) Does the Prime Minister believe the evidence provided by the petition warrants further investigation.

(3) Will the Prime Minister commission an independent inquiry into the NCA and its dealings in this particular case, as requested by the petition.

3387  Senator Wong: To ask the Minister for Human Services—With reference to the 2007-08 Budget papers which refer to efficiency measure savings for Centrelink of $107.9 million over 4 years, corresponding to a return of savings from Centrelink clients using self-service channels, and given that, during estimates hearings of the Finance and Public Administration Committee on 24 May 2007, service efficiencies were attributed to savings of $25 million, $26.3 million, $27.6 million and $29 million respectively for each of the financial years from 2007-08 to 2010-11 (F&PA Committee Hansard , pp 109-110): (a) can further details be provided on how saving from clients using self-service channels will be achieved; and (b) what will the impact of the use of self-service channels be on staffing numbers at Centrelink.

3388  Senator Wong: To ask the Minister for Human Services—With reference to Table A5 in Appendix A of the 2007-08 Budget Paper No. 1, which estimates the average staffing levels of the department and Centrelink (p. 10-32):

(1) Can a breakdown be provided, by function and program, of how the 370 additional staff in Centrelink will be allocated.

(2) Can a breakdown be provided, by function and program, of how the 1 255 additional staff in the department will be allocated.

(3) How is the allocation of additional staff indicated in paragraphs (1) and (2) compatible with the efficiency measures also identified in the budget papers.

3389  Senator Wong: To ask the Minister for Human Services—With reference to the new shared services centre:

(1) What is the start date for the full functioning of the centre.

(2) What are the planned staffing numbers and classifications for: (a) the human services function; and (b) financial transaction processing.

(3) (a) Where will the centre be physically located; and (b) on what date will staff be physically accommodated there.


 (4) (a) What consultations will be conducted with staff on the establishment of the centre; (b) when will the consultations take place; and (c) can a copy be provided of any consultation material when it becomes available.

3390  Senator Wong: To ask the Minister for Human Services—With reference to the announced savings of $48 million over 3 years for national office reductions in Centrelink and Medicare:

(1) How are these savings to be made.

(2) What will be the impact on staffing levels.

(3) By agency and function, what are the current staffing numbers and classification levels for each Centrelink and Medicare national office in: (a) human resources; and (b) financial transaction processing.

(4) What is the time frame for implementing these staffing changes.

(5) What particular head office functions in Centrelink and Medicare will be targeted.

(6) What plans are there for staff affected by these head office staffing changes to be redeployed into the new shared services centre.

(7) In regard to improvements to work practices in Centrelink and Medicare: (a) what work has been undertaken to analyse where work practices can be improved; and (b) what consultation has taken place with staff regarding these changed work practices.

3392  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs—

(1) What was the justification for the removal of the tiered rating system for the Child Care Quality Assurance System and its replacement with a pass-or-fail system.

(2) How will this change contribute to continuous improvement of child care services.

(3) What is the timeline for finalising the Integrated Child Care Assurance Standards.

(4) (a) Can a list be provided of any groups that have provided responses or feedback to the ‘Integrated Child Care Quality Assurance (CCQA) Draft Standards for Discussion’ paper; and (b) are these responses publicly available; if not, why not.

(5) What is the process for responding to groups that have provided feedback on the paper.