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Notice given 17 August 2007

*3441  Senator Murray: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs—With reference to the Commonwealth-State/Territory Disability Agreement (CSTDA) between the Commonwealth and Victoria:

(1) Does the Minister recall questions on notice nos 410 (Senate Hansard , 19 August 2002, p. 3289), 1459 (Senate Hansard , 30 March 2006, p. 247) and 1678 (Senate Hansard , 14 June 2006, p. 179) which form the background to this question.

(2) Is the Minister aware that St John of God Services Victoria continues the tradition of the Hospitaller Order of St John of God (the Order) as a registered service provider for people with disabilities under the current CSTDA.

(3) Is the Minister aware that: (a) since the early 1990s, members of the Order have been alleged to, or been found to, be responsible for the physical, sexual and emotional abuse of people with disabilities under its care in New South Wales and Victoria; (b) one of the Order’s brothers has been sentenced on three occasions, most recently to 5 years gaol in New Zealand, and (c) another brother and a priest are currently awaiting trial in New Zealand, after contesting their extradition all the way to the High Court of Australia.


 (4) Is the Minister aware that Dr Michelle Mulvihill, a former member of the Order’s professional standards committee stated, in an ABC Radio National interview on 27 June 2007, that this organisation suffers from a culture of paedophilia, collusion and denial.

(5) In light of these circumstances, and in light of the Minister’s concern to stamp out abuse of a similar kind in Northern Territory Indigenous communities, how is the Minister ensuring that any organisation using Commonwealth funds under the CSTDA has supervision and processes to ensure that, as far as humanly possible, it is free of the possibility that clients or patients in its care could be subject to abuse or assault.

*3442  Senator Murray: To ask the Minister representing the Treasurer—

(1) With reference to the Treasurer’s statement of 27 June 2007 on the release of the 2006 census information that ‘the Census forms the basis for our electoral system, the provision of services and policy to meet the challenges that we face’: does this mean that the effects of fly-in and fly-out workers who record their domicile elsewhere, or of transient/tourist numbers, will not be sufficiently taken into account for the provision of services in shires such as Roebourne and Wyndham East Kimberley; if not, how are fly-in fly-out or transient/tourist requirements factored in.

(2) Given that, according to the recently released Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) census figures, in the Kimberley Region, between 2001 and 2006, the population of Broome has risen by only 1.8 per cent, or 1 240 people, and in the Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley, by just 0.4 per cent, or 133 people: (a) why do these figures differ from the shires’ views as to significant real population growth; and (b) how were these figures arrived at, given, for instance, that school student numbers, a good indicator of permanency, in the region have risen by more than this amount in absolute terms (e.g. at Kununurra District High School, by at least 13 per cent).

(3) Do census collectors obtain accurate figures from Indigenous communities in the Kimberley; if not, what is the degree of error.

(4) Has the ABS investigated its figures to determine how such apparent small rises in overall population in the Kimberley can be possible, given the rise in housing demand and construction in these areas since the 2001 census and the overall increase in numbers of children enrolled in the local schools, in some areas, up at least 10 per cent.

(5) Given that, according to an ABS seminar in Kununurra in 2007, the community was advised that the figures for the 2006 census were collated based on ‘place of enumeration’ while the method used in the 1996 census and the 2001 census was ‘usual place of residence’: (a) what impact has this change had on the census outcome; and (b) have Australians still continued to identify their usual place of residence (e.g. Perth) rather than place of enumeration (e.g. Argyle Mine).

(6) Can the Treasurer confirm that any funding allocations from the Commonwealth, which are aligned to population numbers based on the census, will take into account other factors, such as housing demand and school enrolments in the East Kimberley, when considering funding allocation.