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Tuesday, 2 February 2010
Page: 175

Senator Ronaldson asked the Minister representing the Minister for Human Services, upon notice, on 10 September 2009:

For the 2008-09 financial year:

(1)   Did the Minister have any ministerial letterhead produced using the funds or resources of his or her home department; if so: (a) how many sheets of letterhead were produced; and (b) what was the cost of the production of the letterhead.

(2)   What was the total postage cost of mailings conducted by the Minister and/or Parliamentary Secretary using their departmental-funded franking machine.

(3) (a)   What was the total cost, including production and distribution, of all direct mail pieces produced by the department, including as part of a government communications campaign, where the Minister or Prime Minister was the nominal author of the piece; and (b) can an itemised list be provided of: (i) production costs, and (ii) distribution costs.

Senator Ludwig (Special Minister of State and Cabinet Secretary) —The Minister for Human Services has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:

(1)   No.

(2)   Nil.

(3)   In the 2008-09 financial year, the Child Support Agency sent three issues (issues 8, 10, and 11) of its regular customer newsletter, Child Support Matters, to my parliamentary colleagues, under the cover of a letter that I nominally authored and signed. These were sent in my capacity as then Minister for Human Services. The total cost of producing and distributing these newsletters to my colleagues was $414.35. This cost comprised $43.10 for printing 675 copies of the newsletter and $371.25 in postage costs. Note that the letterhead for these activities was embedded in electronic letter templates and printed internally within the Department onto blank paper along with the letter text. These letters were not produced in bulk by professional printers so there is no printing cost associated with them. Envelopes were provided by the Department of Human Services. I sent copies of this newsletter to all Members of Parliament and Senators to keep my colleagues informed about changes to the Child Support Scheme and the work being undertaken within the Child Support Agency to improve the delivery of services to customers. This activity was also intended to help them deal with their constituents’ child support enquiries. This was particularly important in the lead up to and following the introduction of the new Child Support Scheme on 1 July 2008.