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Notice given 6 February 2007

2979  Senator Bob Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations—Further to question on notice no. 2828 that refers to the issuing of conscientious objection certificates to employers:

(1) Have there been any certificates issued to employers in states other than Victoria.

(2) To which businesses in Victoria have certificates been issued.

2983  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing—

(1) Can the Minister confirm that the report of 13 December 2006 by the Australian Institute of Medical Scientists Review of Australia’s Blood Fractionation Arrangements, found that competitive tendering and offshore fractionation of Australian donated blood plasma will undermine access to intravenous immunoglobin (IVIg) by:

(a) increasing the costs to the Australian health services in the regulation of plasma fractionated off shore;

(b) increasing the price of plasma due to increased international handling costs (e.g. transport, special storage and warehousing);


 (c) reducing the amount of plasma available due to lower yields achieved by offshore fractionation technology;

(d) increasing the vein to vein time between donation of plasma and clinical use as a finished blood product;

(e) elevating the risk of disturbance of supply (transportation by shipping) the consequences of which are costly and highly disruptive; and

(f) undermining of the volunteer ethos of blood donation and the high regard in which the Australian Red Cross Blood Service is held.

(2) Will the Government be adopting recommendation 10 of the Review which states: ‘Australia should maintain its reservation regarding the procurement of blood fractionation services under the Australia - United States Free Trade Agreement. The reservation exempts the procurement of plasma fractionation services from the government procurement provisions in Chapter 15 of the Agreement. The CSL Act should also be maintained.’; if not: (a) why not; and (b) how will the Government ensure that access to intravenous immunoglobin (IVIg) does not deteriorate by becoming more expensive, less available and less reliable.

(3) What plans does the Government have to maintain and encourage volunteer blood donation.