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Thursday, 19 June 2008
Page: 2889

Senator SIEWERT (8:05 PM) —I have a few more questions of clarification for the minister. I will try not to take too much time. I am now trying to chase some answers and clarification over Wheat Exports Australia. In the minister’s second reading speech he said:

Wheat Exports Australia will regularly review the financial conditions, and activities, of accredited exporters to make sure they are complying with the conditions of their accreditation.

Seeing as we all know that the last WEA had some fundamental issues and some of us believe that part of the AWB scandal was due to the poor ability of the WEA to audit and properly see what AWB was doing—so we are quite keen to make sure that WEA has got sufficient powers to do their job—could you tell me how regularly the government expects the WEA to conduct their regular review function? I should note that in the bill it does not say the WEA will regularly review; there is just a requirement for annual reports from exporters and powers to direct audits and seek information. I would like to see a clarification of what ‘regularly review’ means, and does the minister have something broader in mind than what the bill says?