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Notice given 27 February 2003

1219  Senator McLucas: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—

(1) (a) Can a list be provided of meetings in which the Government and/or the department discussed the financial situation facing the South Johnstone sugar mill in far north Queensland including dates and who was present; and (b) can a copy of the department’s minutes of the meetings be provided.

(2) (a) What due diligence or any other analysis of the financial situation facing South Johnstone Mill Limited did the Government undertake prior to agreeing to provide $3 375 000 in finance to the mill; and (b) can a copy of this analysis be provided.

(3) (a) What safeguards did the Government put in place prior to lending this money to ensure that taxpayers’ money would be repaid; and (b) can an outline of the terms of the financial agreement be provided.

(4) How much money was finally provided to finance South Johnstone Mill Limited; (b) when were these monies paid; (c) how much has been repaid and when did this occur; and (d) what is the Government doing to recoup outstanding monies.

(5) What action did the Government take when notified by CJ Cooper and Associates, solicitors for the Canegrowers Organisation, by facsimile on 5 July 2000 that advertising under the Cane Supply and Processing Agreement, dated 26 May 2000, had not been undertaken correctly as required under the Queensland Sugar Act 1999 ; and (b) what involvement did the Government have in this advertisement.

(6) As a creditor to South Johnstone Mill Limited, what involvement did the Government have in the sale of the mill to Bundaberg Sugar Limited; and (b) can a list be provided of meetings at which the sale of the South Johnstone mill was discussed, including dates and attendees.

(7) What proposals and options were considered prior to the sale of the South Johnstone sugar mill to Bundaberg Sugar.

(8) What involvement did the Government have in the March 2001 novation and amendment deed between South Johnstone Mill Limited, Canegrowers South Johnstone Mills Suppliers’ Committee, South Johnstone Mill Negotiating Team and Bundaberg Sugar Limited.

(9) Is the repayment of the Government finance to South Johnstone Mill dependent on the validity of this deed.

(10) Can copies of any advice, legal or other, received in relation to this deed be provided.

1220  Senator McLucas: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Education, Science and Training—(a) What increases in Commonwealth spending are contained within the Budget forward estimates for higher education; and (b) can a year-by-year breakdown of increase by program be provided, indicating whether the spending on the program will have peaked by the end of the forward estimates, including the date and forum of any announcements of these spending increases by Commonwealth ministers or departments.

Senator Brown: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 1221-1222)—

(1) When persons who have been detained on the island of Nauru have been persuaded to return voluntarily to Afghanistan, have they been promised that they may safely do so.

(2) Has any effort been made to ensure the safety of those returning to Afghanistan, or to determine whether they have been able to successfully resettle; if so, can the Minister attest that most have safely and successfully returned to Afghanistan.

(3) Have those returning to Afghanistan been provided with any warm clothing and footwear, particularly when being returned in the Northern Hemisphere winter.

1221 Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs

1223  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—

(1) Is the Minister aware of any evidence that the mandatory spraying inside the cabins of aircraft arriving in Australia causes distress to persons sensitive to the chemicals used.

(2) Will the Government give consideration to requiring airlines to provide masks and protective coverings to those passengers who wish to use them.

1224  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Heritage—

(1) Can the Minister confirm that Origin Energy plans to build a gas plant within 5 kilometres of the township of Nyora in South Gippsland, Victoria.

(2) Were the people of Nyora consulted prior to approval being given for the plant.

(3) Is the Minister aware of claims by residents of Nyora that, given the prevailing winds and the relatively high rainfall of the area, toxic pollution will be deposited on the town and its inhabitants.

(4) Has there been any scientific study undertaken to investigate the likely health and environmental impact upon the township.

1225  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Treasurer—

(1) Will the Treasurer ensure that the Energy Grants Credit Scheme (EGCS), which is to be introduced on 1 July 2003, has a substantial environmental component and that payments under the scheme are made only in respect of vehicles that meet strict environmental standards.

(2) Given that pollution from old diesel trucks is a major problem, particularly in the workplace, and that a growing number of companies are now demanding that delivery vehicles entering warehouse areas comply with Australian Design Rule 80/00 (low emission), with the Truck Industry Council attaching a large logo to all ADR 80/00 trucks identifying them as low emission vehicles): Will the Treasurer ensure that the EGCS supports the use of such vehicles.

1226  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs—

(1) Can the Minister confirm that on 1 March 2003 the savings threshold for self-funded retirees immigrating to Australia will be increased from $200 000 to $1 million.

(2) Has there been any investigation of the extent to which such a large increase will exclude persons who could contribute to the community without requiring assistance and being a burden on government resources.

(3) Has the Government advertised this change to the immigration rules.

(4) How will the change be effected.

1227  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs—With reference to the attack on Elsye Rumbiak Bonai and her 12-year old daughter, Mariana, in West Papua on 28 December 2002:

(1) (a) When was the Minister informed of the attack; and (b) was the Minister aware that Ms Bonai is the wife of the director of the Institute for Human Rights Study and Advocacy, Johannes Bonai.

(2) What was the involvement of the Indonesian Army in this attack.

(3) How was the attack carried out and who else was involved.

(4) What has the Australian Government done to help bring the attackers involved to justice, including ensuring a full and independent inquiry into the atrocity.

1228  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister for Justice and Customs—Can a list be provided of names of the people who boarded the vessel known as SIEV X, indicating which of those people died.

1229  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister for Justice and Customs—

(1) Is the Indonesian Justice Minister correct in saying that the Minister has not approached Indonesia to extradite Abu Quessai to Australia; if so, why did the Minister not approach the Indonesian Government.

(2) Why has the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, Mr Keelty, not issued warrants as previously stated.

(3) Does Mr Keelty know: (a) the name of the vessel known as SIEV X; and (b) the names of the victims who died in the sinking of  SIEV X.

Senator O’Brien: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 1237-1238)—Can details of the department’s expenditure on fisheries management and/or enforcement be provided, for each of the following financial years: (a) 2000-01; (b) 2001-02; and (c) 2002-03 to date.

1237 Minister for Defence

1238 Minister for Justice and Customs