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Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee


In Attendance

Senator Abetz, Minister for Employment and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service

Senator Colbeck, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture

Department of Agriculture


Dr Paul Grimes, Secretary

Ms Rona Mellor, Deputy Secretary

Mr Phillip Glyde, Deputy Secretary

Mr Mark Tucker, Deputy Secretary

Finance and Business Support, Governance, Information Services and People and Service Delivery

Ms Jo Evans, Acting Chief Finance Officer

Ms Vanessa Berry, Assistant Secretary, External Budget and Strategy Branch, Finance and Business Support Division

Ms Jenny Berry, Acting Assistant Secretary, Business Support Operations Branch, Finance and Business Support Division

Ms Amy Fox, Assistant Secretary, Financial Management Branch, Finance and Business Support Division

Mr Matt Ryan, Assistant Secretary, Cost Recovery and Funding Analysis Branch, Finance and Business Support Division

Mr Nico Padovan, First Assistant Secretary, Governance Division

Ms Lee Cale, Assistant Secretary, Parliamentary Business Branch, Governance Division

Dr Michael Bond, Interim Inspector General of Biosecurity

Mr Graham Gathercole, Chief Information Officer, Information Services Division

Ms Debbie Lutter, Deputy Chief Information Officer, Information Services Division

Ms Lynne O’Brien, First Assistant Secretary, People and Service Delivery Division

Office of the General Counsel

Ms Kerrie-Anne Luscombe

Agricultural Adaptation and Forestry

Ms Fran Freeman, First Assistant Secretary

Ms Victoria Anderson, Assistant Secretary, Drought Policy and Reform Branch

Ms Julie Gaglia, Acting Assistant Secretary, Adaptation Branch

Mr Paul McNamara, Assistant Secretary, Forestry Branch

Ms Anna Willock, Assistant Secretary, Farm Business Branch

Border Compliance

Mr Colin Hunter, Acting First Assistant Secretary

Dr Danielle Klar, Assistant Secretary, Passengers and Mail

Mr Peter Liehne, Assistant Secretary, Cargo and Shipping

Mr Wayne Terpstra, Assistant Secretary, Industry Arrangements and Performance

Post Entry Quarantine Program

Dr Colin Grant, First Assistant Secretary


Mr Tom Aldred - First Assistant Secretary

Ms Kylie Calhoun- Assistant Secretary, Export Operations Branch

Ms Louise Van Meurs - Assistant Secretary, Import Operations Branch

Australian Chief Plant Protection Officer

Mr Tom Aldred - First Assistant Secretary


Mr Greg Read, First Assistant Secretary, Food Division

Dr Ann McDonald, Assistant Secretary, Exports Standards, Food Division

Ms Cathrine Stephenson, Assistant Secretary, Residues, Dairy, Fish and Egg, Food Division

Ms Barbara Cooper, Assistant Secretary, Food Exports Food Division


Mr Greg Williamson, First Assistant Secretary

Ms Lisa Elliston, Assistant Secretary, Partnerships

Ms Debbie Langford, Assistant Secretary, Legislation

Ms Michelle Lauder, Assistant Secretary


Mr Tim Chapman, First Assistant Secretary

Dr Andrew Cupit, Assistant Secretary, Animal Biosecurity, Biosecurity Animal Division

Dr Tamira Ford, Acting Assistant Secretary, Animal Imports Operations

Dr Robyn Martin, Assistant Secretary, Animal Health Policy

Ms Jackie South, Assistant Secretary, Animal Welfare

Dr Carol Sheridan, Acting Assistant Secretary, Biological Imports Operations and Marine Pests

Live Animal Export Division

Ms Rebecca Irwin, First Assistant Secretary

Dr Narelle Clegg, Assistant Secretary

Dr Jenny Cupit, Assistant Secretary

Australian Pesticides and Veteri nary Medicines Authority

Ms Kareena Arthy, Chief Executive Officer

Dr Raj Bhula, Executive Director, Pesticides Program

Dr Allen Bryce, Executive Director, Veterinary Medicines Program

Mr Tony De La Fosse, Executive Director, Corporate Services

Ms Stefanie Janiec, Executive Director, Legal and Strategic Coordination Program

Dr Jan Klaveer, Acting Executive Director, Compliance, Re-registration and Regulatory Program

Dr Jason Lutze, Manager, Pesticides Residues

Ms Helen Stokes, Director, Strategic Coordination

Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences

Ms Karen Schneider, Executive Director

Dr Kim Ritman, Chief Scientist

Dr Michael Harris, Chief Economist

Dr Helal Ahammad, Assistant Secretary, Adaptation and Biosecurity Branch

Dr David Cunningham, Assistant Secretary, Natural Resources Branch

Mr Peter Gooday, Assistant Secretary, Farm Analysis, Productivity and Social Sciences Branch

Dr Jammie Penm, Assistant Secretary, Agricultural Commodities and Trade Branch

Dr Ilona Stobutzki, Assistant Secretary, Fisheries and Quantitative Sciences Branch

Australian Fishe ries Management Authority

Dr James Findlay, Chief Executive Officer

Ms Tanya Howitt, Chief Finance Officer

Mr Peter Tegart, General Manager Corporate Services

Mr Peter Venslovas, General Manager Fisheries Operations

Sustainable Resource Management

Mr Ian Thompson, First Assistant Secretary

Ms Jenny Barbour, Assistant Secretary, Sustainable Agriculture and Engagement

Mr Gordon Neil, Assistant Secretary, Fisheries

Agricultural Productivity

Mr Matthew Koval, Acting First Assistant Secretary

Ms Barbara Jones, Assistant Secretary, Research and Development and Food Security

Mr Peter Ottesen, Assistant Secretary, Crops, Horticulture and Wine

Mr Travis Power, Assistant Secretary, Food

Ms Trysh Stone, Acting Assistant Secretary, Livestock Industries and Ag Vet Chemicals

Trade and Market Access

Mr Simon Murnane, Acting First Assistant Secretary

Ms Elizabeth Bie, Assistant Secretary, Multilateral Engagement and Market Strategy

Ms Amy Guihot, Acting Assistant Secretary, Bilateral Engagement and Regional Trade Negotiations

Wine Australia

Mr Andreas Clark, Acting Chief Executive

Grains Research and Development Corporation

Mr John Harvey, Managing Director

Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation

Mr Ed Parker, Financial Controller

Fisheries Research and Development Corporation

Dr Patrick Hone, Executive Director

Mr John Wilson, Business Development Manager

Rural Industries Resea rch and Development Corporation

Mr Craig Burns, Managing Director

Ms Anwen Lovett, Executive Director

Australian Livestock Export Corporation Limited

Mr Sam Brown, Chief Executive Officer

Mr David Galvin, Chairman

Australian Wool Innovation

Mr Wally Merriman, Chairman

Mr Stuart McCullough, Chief Executive Officer

Ms Peta Slack-Smith, Group Manager, Corporate Affairs and International Market Access

Meat and Livestock Australia

Mr Scott Hansen, Managing Director

Mr Peter Barnard, General Manager, Trade and Economics

Ms Karen Hellwig, General Manager, Industry Communication and Engagement

Committee met at 09:00

CHAIR ( Senator Heffernan ): I declare open this public hearing of the Senate Rural, Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee. Today the committee will commence its examination of the additional budget estimates within the Department of Agriculture. The committee has fixed Thursday 17 April 2014 as the date for return of answers to questions taken on notice. This deadline is longer than the usual time frame for the return of answers to questions on notice to account for the time agreed by the committee for senators to provide written questions to the committee secretariat. Senators are reminded that any written questions on notice should be provided to the committee secretariat by close of business Friday 7 March 2014. Under standing order 26, the committee must take all evidence in public session. This includes answers to questions on notice.

I particularly draw the attention of witnesses to an order of the Senate of 13 May 2009, specifying the process by which a claim of public immunity should be raised, which is incorporated in Hansard.

The extract read as follows—

Public interest immunity claims

That the Senate—

(a) notes that ministers and officers have continued to refuse to provide information to Senate committees without properly raising claims of public interest immunity as required by past resolutions of the Senate;

(b) reaffirms the principles of past resolutions of the Senate by this order, to provide ministers and officers with guidance as to the proper process for raising public interest immunity claims and to consolidate those past resolutions of the Senate;

(c) orders that the following operate as an order of continuing effect:

(1) If:

   (a) a Senate committee, or a senator in the course of proceedings of a committee, requests information or a document from a Commonwealth department or agency; and

   (b) an officer of the department or agency to whom the request is directed believes that it may not be in the public interest to disclose the information or document to the committee, the officer shall state to the committee the ground on which the officer believes that it may not be in the public interest to disclose the information or document to the committee, and specify the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document.

(2) If, after receiving the officer’s statement under paragraph (1), the committee or the senator requests the officer to refer the question of the disclosure of the information or document to a responsible minister, the officer shall refer that question to the minister.

(3) If a minister, on a reference by an officer under paragraph (2), concludes that it would not be in the public interest to disclose the information or document to the committee, the minister shall provide to the committee a statement of the ground for that conclusion, specifying the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document.

(4) A minister, in a statement under paragraph (3), shall indicate whether the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document to the committee could result only from the publication of the information or document by the committee, or could result, equally or in part, from the disclosure of the information or document to the committee as in camera evidence.

(5) If, after considering a statement by a minister provided under paragraph (3), the committee concludes that the statement does not sufficiently justify the withholding of the information or document from the committee, the committee shall report the matter to the Senate.

(6) A decision by a committee not to report a matter to the Senate under paragraph (5) does not prevent a senator from raising the matter in the Senate in accordance with other procedures of the Senate.

(7) A statement that information or a document is not published, or is confidential, or consists of advice to, or internal deliberations of, government, in the absence of specification of the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document, is not a statement that meets the requirements of paragraph (1) or (4).

(8) If a minister concludes that a statement under paragraph (3) should more appropriately be made by the head of an agency, by reason of the independence of that agency from ministerial direction or control, the minister shall inform the committee of that conclusion and the reason for that conclusion, and shall refer the matter to the head of the agency, who shall then be required to provide a statement in accordance with paragraph (3).

(d) requires the Procedure Committee to review the operation of this order and report to the Senate by 20 August 2009.

(13 May 2009 J.1941)

(Extract, Senate Standing Orders, pp 124-125)

Good morning, Minister and Secretary. I am very familiar with Mr Phillip Glyde. Minister, would you like to make an opening statement?

Senator Abetz: No, thank you, Chair.