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Notice given 25 May 2006

Senator Allison: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 1805-1806)—

(1) Is the Minister aware that, following the recent Cyclone Monica, many buildings in the community of Maningrida have been badly damaged.

(2) Is the Minister aware that many of these buildings, including the school, contain asbestos.

(3) What information does the Government have on the risks to the community of Maningrida due to exposure to asbestos dust. 

(4) What has the Federal Government done (or what does it intend to do) to protect the health of those people in the community, including the children who have returned to the school, who are now exposed to asbestos dust.

1805 Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing


 1806 Minister representing the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

1807  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing—

(1) Is the Minister aware that a study published in a recent edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that alcoholism can be treated successfully with the drugs Naltrexone and Acamprosate in combination with specialised counselling.

(2) Will the Government consider making such treatment available to treat alcoholism, particularly in Indigenous communities.

1809  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the overseas travel by the Secretary of the department, Mr Michael Taylor, in May 2006:

(1) On what date did Mr Taylor advise the Minister he intended to be absent during the May 2006 Senate Budget Estimates hearings.

(2) On what date did the Minister approve Mr Taylor’s absence.

(3) On what date did Mr Taylor depart Australia.

(4) What date does Mr Taylor return to Australia.

(5) Can a detailed itinerary of Mr Taylor’s trip be provided; if not, why not.

(6) For each meeting, when was Mr Taylor’s attendance confirmed with his hosts.

(7) What was the total cost of airfares, disaggregated by sector.

(8) In relation to accommodation: (a) what accommodation was used; (b) what nights did he stay at each hotel; and (c) what did each hotel cost.

(9) What other expenses were incurred including: (a) gifts; (b) hospitality; (c) meals; (d) land transport; (e) travel insurance; and (f) other expenses not listed above.

(10) What was the total cost of Mr Taylor’s overseas visit.

(11) (a) Which officers accompanied Mr Taylor on this trip, and for which periods; and (b) what was the total cost incurred in relation to the participation of each of these officers.

1810  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Education, Science and Training—

(1) Did the Minister, as reported recently, threaten to withdraw funding from Queensland schools if State legislation governing the teaching of religion was changed; if so, does the Government intend tying schools funding to the provision of religious education.

(2) Can a copy of the Government’s policy and guidelines for religious education in schools be provided; if not, why not.

(3) Is it Government policy that all children should participate in religious education. 

(4) Does the Government intend to implement measures to maintain or increase the number of children participating in religious education. 

(5) What does the Government consider to be the appropriate amount of time, per school term, that should be spent on a child’s religious education.


 (6) Does the Government consider that there should be a limit, if any, on the amount of religious education a student should receive. 

(7) Does the Government support the placing of hurdles in front of parents who do not wish their children to participate in religious education.

(8) The Minister’s press release, dated 22 May 2006, ‘Religion in Queensland State Schools’, states that ‘political correctness has gone too far when religious education at school now permits almost any belief system to be taught…’: What religions, denominations and belief systems does the Government oppose being taught in schools.

(9) What quality control mechanisms does the Government have in place to ensure that religious education is non-discriminatory, respectful and equitably applied to all religions and denominations in both government and non-government schools.

(10) Does the Government support ‘opt out’ rather than ‘opt in’ systems for all elements of education; if not, what subjects does the Government believe should be ‘opt out’.

1811  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Treasurer—

(1) For each financial year from 2000-01 to 2005-06, what was the revenue foregone by the decision in 2001 to reduce and then freeze indexation of fuel excise for: (a) diesel; and (b) petrol.

(2) If these revenues vary markedly from the 2001 Budget Papers, can an explanation be provided.

1812  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the Albury-Wodonga Hume Freeway Upgrade Project:

(1) What is the total amount expended on this project from its inception to and including the 2005-06 financial year.

(2) What is the latest estimate of the total cost of the project.

1813  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—

(1) Of the estimated $2.2 billion spent on land transport in the 2005-06 financial year for road and rail projects, how much was allocated to:

(a) road works;

(b) the Hume Highway;

(c) rail;

(d) advanced planning of major road upgrades on new land corridors, including the Pacific Highway; and

(e) advanced planning of rail deviations on new land corridors, including the proposed deviation, at 14 locations on the New South Wales north coast railway noted on page 37 of the 2004 Auslink White Paper.

(2) What are the Commonwealth receipts from each of the New South Wales and Victorian Governments for loan repayments for construction of an Albury to Melbourne standard gauge line that was completed in 1962.

(3) (a) What is the total amount in interest and principal to be paid on these loans; and (b) when are they due to be paid off.


 1814  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources—

(1) What is the total amount expended to date on the Automotive Competitiveness and Investment Scheme.

(2) Can a breakdown be provided of the companies in receipt of funds under the scheme.

(3) What will be the cost of the scheme in the 2005-06 financial year.

(4) What is the budget for the scheme in the following financial years: (a) 2006-07; (b) 2007-08; (c) 2008-09; and (d) 2009-10.

(5) How much of the cost, to date and in budget projections to 2009-10, has been targeted specifically at the local production of: (a) hybrid petrol-electric vehicles; (b) compact vehicles; (c) vehicles meeting specific fuel efficiency standards; and (d) buses or urban passenger trains.

(6) What is the value of funding, on the scheme, to date and in the budget projections to 2009-10, expended on cars with six or more cylinders.

1815  Senator Webber: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer—Given that the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has stated that it was keen to pursue promoters of mass marketed tax effective projects: did the ATO refer any of the promoters of these projects who should have lodged a prospectus under corporations law, but did not, to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission for action.