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Monday, 9 February 2015
Page: 267

Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System

(Question No. 550)

Mr Kelvin Thomson asked the Minister for Agriculture, in writing, on 28 October 2014:

(1) Did he refuse to grant Livestock Shipping Services (LSS) from 13 to 21 October 2014 for either Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) approval or an export permit for a shipment to Israel and Jordan, then Kuwait, in respect of the Maysora livestock vessel that recently departed Adelaide for Fremantle and Qatar.

(2) Has his department taken evidence in respect of ESCAS breaches by LSS to the Department of Public Prosecution for assessment.

(3) When will his department conclude its investigations into complaints of ESCAS breaches in Gaza lodged between February and July 2014.

(4) How many (a) investigators does his department have in its Investigations and Enforcement Unit, and (b) investigations into allegations of ESCAS breaches are yet to commence.

Mr Joyce: The Minister for Agriculture has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1) No.

(2) It is not appropriate to comment on matters that may or may not be under assessment with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

(3) It is difficult to estimate when both regulatory and criminal investigations into complaints of ESCAS breaches in Gaza will be concluded. There are a number of issues and stakeholders to consider with a large volume of information to analyse and subsequent enquiries to be conducted. ESCAS investigations typically take several months to complete partly due to (in addition to the large volumes of information) evidence and witnesses being located overseas. The investigations are ongoing.

(4) (a) The department has 41 staff in the investigations unit.

(b) All allegations received relating to possible ESCAS breaches, whether it be of a criminal or regulatory compliance nature, are currently in progress.