Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Economics Legislation Committee


CHAIR: The committee will now resume and we'll examine the Industry, Innovation and Science portfolio with questions for the department. The hearing will follow the order as set out in the circulated program. I welcome the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Senator the Hon. Matt Canavan and the Secretary, Heather Smith, and officers of the department. Minister or Secretary, would you like to make an opening statement?

Senator Canavan: I'm okay.

Dr Smith : I don't have an opening statement, but can I perhaps just announce a staffing change within the department?

CHAIR: Certainly.

Dr Smith : I want to note, for the record, that Ms Sue Weston was today appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of CommCare, which is a promotion for Ms Weston. I want to acknowledge in this committee that she has given many years of service to the portfolio. She joined in 2001. This portfolio has had many iterations in terms of its titles, but she's been a deputy for nearly 10 years and has made enormous contributions to science and innovation policy and research across the public service and in serving governments. I want to acknowledge her enormous contribution and wish her the best in her new role.

CHAIR: Thank you for that, Dr Smith. On behalf of the committee, I acknowledge the extraordinary contribution that Ms Weston has made.

Senator KIM CARR: Can I reiterate those remarks? I worked with Ms Weston and I think she's an outstanding officer. In my time she has been entirely dependable and reliable—a really outstanding officer. I wish her well.

CHAIR: As do we all. Senator Carr, why don't you start us off?

Senator KIM CARR: Minister, I'll start with you. I'd like to give you an opportunity to deal with a matter that's of some interest and public tension today. I'm reading in the social media that you've threatened to resign. Is that the case?

Senator Canavan: Those reports are incorrect. As a general rule you shouldn't believe what you read on social media.

Senator KIM CARR: I see. So it's not true that the government is in disarray over the mining question?

Senator Canavan: The government fully supports mining, Senator Carr. Unlike your own party, who often fails to defend the interests of coalmining workers and jobs in my region in Central Queensland.

Senator KIM CARR: So you've made no threat to resign today over the Adani mine?

Senator Canavan: As I've said, those reports are incorrect. No.

Senator KIM CARR: I'm hoping that we can conclude this, from my end.

CHAIR: I only have a few questions, Senator Carr, so let's see how we do.

Senator KIM CARR: I'm hoping we can conclude this in about an hour, if the officers will keep that in mind.

Senator Canavan: Let's check if there's any dissent on that matter!

Senator KIM CARR: That's right. I just thought I'd offer that advice from my end of the table.

CHAIR: I think we can do that, just so long as we don't need a breather in the middle. We can work through.

Senator KIM CARR: Can I deal, first of all, with the issue of the complementary medicines that the minister has put a release out today on. Minister, you may wish to answer this, because it's not directly your portfolio responsibility. In the press release that has been issued today there's discussion of a mechanism to deal with the issue of complementary medicines. Can I get an explanation of what that mechanism is?

Senator Canavan: I will pass over to officials. As you say, it is not my portfolio responsibility, but my understanding is that the government will seek to ensure that the complementary medicines sector continues to have access to the Australian made logo and that it will move away from the substantially transformed definition that has been of contention here. We will develop a mechanism, as you say, to ensure that those products that have manufacturing here continue to have access to that logo. I'm going to hand over to Mr Squire to discuss further.

Mr Squire : The government proposes to make regulations, under the Australian consumer law, to define particular processes as essentially meeting the test for substantial transformation.

Senator KIM CARR: Which is the act that you are using? You say 'consumer law'. Which act is it in particular?

Mr Squire : It is the Australian consumer law. It is the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, section 255.

Senator KIM CARR: It's section 255(3), I take it. Is that right?

Mr Squire : That's correct.

Senator KIM CARR: Have the regulations actually been prepared?

Mr Squire : The regulations are in the process of being prepared. That work is not yet concluded.

Senator KIM CARR: Can you tell me why that is the case?

Mr Squire : Certainly. You might recall that the Australian consumer law is a single law administered by both the Commonwealth and the state and territory governments. To amend that law, there is an intergovernmental agreement that requires the support of the Commonwealth and three of the state and territory governments. To make regulations or to change the law, the government is required to consult with the Ministerial Council on Consumer Affairs.

Senator KIM CARR: It's just I've been hearing about this now for three weeks. When was the decision made?

Mr Squire : Which particular decision?

Senator KIM CARR: To actually regulate under these provisions.

Mr Squire : So the exact date that the Prime Minister agreed to the changes?

Senator KIM CARR: Yes, please. That would do.

Mr Squire : It was 2 April.

Senator KIM CARR: The letter was actually signed off by 2 April, but there would have been a decision made prior to that. Was that the case? The letter would have been sent to the Prime Minister earlier than that.

Mr Squire : That's correct.

Senator KIM CARR: What was the date on which the letter was sent from the minister to the Prime Minister?

Mr Squire : It was 22 March, from memory.

Senator KIM CARR: I presume there was a meeting of the task force that recommended these?

Mr Squire : There were three meetings of the task force, which was established in December. The task force met in December last year and again in January as well. The task force provided its report to Minister Andrews in late February.

Senator KIM CARR: And that recommended the changes?

Mr Squire : The task force report provided a series of options for the government to consider.

Senator KIM CARR: This was one of the options, I presume?

Mr Squire : That's correct.

Senator KIM CARR: I'm just wondering, if you've had this in the works for this length of time, why there hasn't been drafting undertaken?

Mr Squire : My answer indicated that to make these changes—

Senator KIM CARR: I understand what you're saying, but you would have surely prepared the drafting to show to the states?

Mr Squire : In addition, we need to consult with the agencies that were in the task force—including, in particular, with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade—to ensure the proposed regulations are consistent with our WTO commitments.

Senator KIM CARR: I recall that we discussed this proposal 18 months ago at this committee.

Mr Squire : Yes, that's correct.

Senator KIM CARR: It's taken a while to get to this point, hasn't it?

Mr Squire : As my evidence indicated at previous hearings, this has been a complicated matter. The proposed solution is not straightforward. We have been required to undertake research and seek legal advice to ensure that the proposed solution is effective in terms of meeting industry's desire to have access to the Australian made logo for export markets.

Senator KIM CARR: Do these regulations have to go to the executive council?

Mr Squire : Yes, though that process I indicated before around consulting through the Ministerial Council on Consumer Affairs. Once that council has endorsed the proposed changes, the government is then in a position to progress and make the regulations.

Senator KIM CARR: If an election is called on Sunday, when will the executive council meeting be heard?

Mr Squire : I presume from your question that you're asking around when the executive council would meet to consider those—

Senator Canavan: That's not a matter for this department, sorry.

Senator KIM CARR: Minister, you can tell me then: when will the executive council meet to actually put these regulations forward?

Senator Canavan: I don't have that information, sorry.

Senator KIM CARR: It is part of the process. To get a regulation in to force, it needs to go to the executive council. We agree with that?

Mr Squire : Yes.

Senator KIM CARR: We have a caretaker period looming.

Mr Squire : It will take a number of months to progress these changes.

Senator KIM CARR: A number of months?

Mr Squire : Yes.

Senator KIM CARR: What's the ACCC doing while all of this is going on?

Mr Squire : The ACCC is scheduled to appear at estimates hearings next Thursday.

Senator KIM CARR: Yes, I got that.

Mr Squire : The ACCC provided evidence at the last set of hearings. Mr Sims, in particular, indicated that they would take into account signals of government policy change in terms of their prioritisation of compliance and enforcement.

Senator KIM CARR: What I'm trying to put to you is that these regulations need to come into force, presumably, for the ACCC to act on them. Is that the case or not?

Mr Squire : I'm not sure I understand what you mean by 'acting'.

Senator KIM CARR: The ACCC has embarked upon a course of action, which I presume these regulations are designed to stop?

Mr Squire : I would put it somewhat differently to that.

Senator KIM CARR: How would you put it?

Mr Squire : The regulations—as the government is proposing to make them, obviously subject to an endorsement and agreement from the states and territories—are to define a broader range of manufacturing processes as meeting the substantial transformation test. If that is the case, that then would allow Australian Made Campaign Limited to issue licences for particular classes of products.

Senator KIM CARR: I don't think that's inconsistent with what I've said. It would certainly be contrary to the way the ACCC is currently acting. Would the ACCC undertake to suspend compliance activity, pending the change of circumstances that you've just outlined, in regard to these regulations?

Mr Squire : Senator, the ACCC is an independent regulator, and I can't speak for them.

Senator KIM CARR: Have you had any discussions about the nature of these regulations?

Mr Squire : Yes. The ACCC was part of the complementary medicine task force and was involved in the development of those options that were put to the minister.

Senator KIM CARR: For instance, the ACCC's currently pursuing action against the company Nature's Way. Is that action being pursued?

Mr Squire : I can't speak for the ACCC.

Senator KIM CARR: What capacity does the department have to encourage the ACCC to cease compliance activity now that a decision in regard to these regulations is pending?

Mr Squire : As I indicated previously, the ACCC is an independent regulator which sets its particular compliance activities and its priorities. The ACCC, in seeing that the government has proposed a significant change, would take that into account in determining their compliance activities.

Senator Canavan: I will just add that in terms of the Nature's Way case, the information I have is that the ACCC action resulted in a Federal Court decision. I think it was—what I've got here—late last year, and now I believe Nature's Way is seeking to challenge that decision. So, in that particular case at least, I don't believe the ACCC is proactively taking further action, but it may have to defend a previous decision made under the guidelines but that's just in that case.

Senator KIM CARR: I see your point, Minister. The department has had no direct talks with the ACCC on this matter outside of the task force's deliberations?

Mr Squire : Sorry, Senator, could you be more specific in terms of which particular matter?

Senator KIM CARR: In regard to these regulations and the effect of these regulations?

Mr Squire : That has been the work of the task force.

Senator KIM CARR: I understand that. I'm asking you have you had any direct contact with the ACCC outside of the task force meetings?

Mr Squire : Concerning any particular matter?

Senator KIM CARR: Regarding the operation of these proposed regulations.

Mr Squire : The ACCC was part of the task force and helped develop those—

Senator KIM CARR: But the task force proposed a series of options for which the Minister has now determined a course of action.

Mr Squire : Correct.

Senator KIM CARR: The Prime Minister has signed off on that course of action. You're now consulting with the states about that course of action. You have yet to draft the regulations, that's correct?

Mr Squire : With part of the process of amending the consumer law, where the department has to prepare effectively a COAG regulation impact statement, we're using the task force report and repurposing that report to form the basis of the regulation impact statement. We have in mind a form of words for the regulation. We're consulting with task force members, to date Treasury but also Foreign Affairs and Trade. We will consult, but we haven't yet consulted, with the ACCC on the specific words.

Senator KIM CARR: What happens if a caretaker period is commenced? What do you do then?

Mr Squire : Sorry, Senator?

Senator KIM CARR: What's the effect of the caretaker period commencing in terms of your operations on this matter?

Senator Cormann: I have sought clarification on this particular matter. The government does not expect the proposed regulations to be in effect before caretaker, given the consultation has to occur with the states and territories. We announced an intention to make these changes. That intention will be relayed, as has been described, to the ACCC and I'll ask them to take that into consideration. But as has been also described the ACCC is an independent regulator. We'll seek to make these changes as quickly as we can, but we have to go through the appropriate process to change the Australian Consumer Law. We're not envisaging that the question—

Senator KIM CARR: I understand that you don't intend to act on this presumably before Sunday?

Senator Canavan: Whenever that may be.

Senator KIM CARR: I don't expect you to agree with my timetable—and there's every expectation that the caretaker period may well commence on Sunday—I want to know what do you do after the caretaker period has commenced? Do your actions stop? What is the effect of the caretaker period?

Senator Canavan: It's up to you guys I would've thought, the development of regulations—

Mr Lawson : There's no reason for us to stop working with the states during the caretaker period. We've made contact to arrange to appear at the next Consumer Affairs Forum meeting. Those arrangements are in play.

Senator KIM CARR: When is that meeting?

Mr Lawson : We haven't got the date, but we've engaged about making sure that this process continues. It's the ordinary business of government. It appears to have bipartisan support, so, therefore, we would—

Senator KIM CARR: We don't know what it is. We haven't seen a copy of these proposed words. When do we get to see the copy of these words?

Mr Lawson : We have had press releases from the two industry associations that are relevant supporting the—

Senator KIM CARR: The industry associations are not the opposition.

Mr Lawson : Indeed. But they've indicated that they think this is an appropriate solution.

Senator KIM CARR: That's not what I'm asking. I proposed this course of action to you 18 months ago, and I have expressed my frustration that it has taken you this long. What I'd like to know is, in the caretaker period, do you intend to consult the opposition about the form of words that you intend to put into this regulation?

Senator Canavan: In fairness, can I just say that my experience is that, of course, the department itself won't be in a position to finalise any such proposal. Obviously, they'll seek to draft proposals that would then go to any government. As I've already outlined, the government does not believe it will be in a position to finalise these regulations before caretaker—and just to clarify: it is my understanding—before the election. I don't think we'll be at that point where potentially such consultation will be necessary. Obviously, post the election, any government would presumably receive advice from the department on its development of the announced policy, and it will be up to that government in the future to decide what to do.

Senator KIM CARR: That's your view. I expect that it's your view.

Senator Canavan: It's based on the information that I've received from the minister's office.

Senator KIM CARR: Your view is that it won't be necessary to consult with the opposition?

Senator Canavan: Yes.

Senator KIM CARR: You say the Prime Minister signed off on this matter on 2 April. Is there any pressure from the Prime Minister's office on the minister to announce this today?

Mr Squire : I can't comment on that, Senator.

Senator KIM CARR: Minister?

Senator Canavan: No information to that effect.

Senator KIM CARR: Can I turn then to the business research, development and commercialisation section. Section 1 on page 14 of the budget statement discusses the flagship programs for the department: the Industry Growth Centres initiative and the CRCs, the Entrepreneurs' Programme, and the Research and Development Tax Incentive and so on. It talks about them in terms of making Australia a leader in a global innovation race. Minister, does the government stand by the proposition that's outlined on page 14 of the budget statement?

Senator Canavan: Can you maybe repeat that reference?

Senator KIM CARR: It's section 1 on page 14 of the budget statement.

Senator Canavan: You're referring to the PBS?

Senator KIM CARR: Yes, it's the budget statement. I hope I've got the right one here.

Senator Canavan: Just the first paragraph on page 14?

Senator KIM CARR: That's right.

Senator Canavan: I certainly support that statement in terms of the department's focus.

Senator KIM CARR: I noticed there have been a few changes. Can you perhaps tell me why it is that the government is seeking an efficiency of $48.9 million over five years from the Entrepreneurs' Programme and the industrial growth initiatives? For a start, what's the breakdown between those two programs? How do you reach the $48.9 million? How does that work? Can anyone help me with that?

Dr Smith : Senator, Mr Medland will take you through those.

Mr Medland : As part of the budget, there was a saving listed there of $13.9 million, and $9.9 million of that relates to the Entrepreneurs' Programme and $4 million relates to the Industry Growth Centres.

Senator KIM CARR: Have you got a profile on that?

Mr Medland : I do.

Senator KIM CARR: Have you got that there with you?

Mr Medland : For the Industry Growth Centres, I have $1.2 million in 2021-22 and $2.8 million in 2022-23. That comes to $4 million. For the Entrepreneurs' Program, in 2021 it is $1 million, in 2021-22 it is $1 million and in 2022-23 it is $2.9 million. It comes to the $9.9 million.

Senator KIM CARR: Thank you. I notice that there's a saving of $35 million over five years from 2018-19 for this measure. It's already been provided by the government. When were these savings provided?

Mr Medland : That was provided at MYEFO.

Senator KIM CARR: How are they being distributed? What's the profile on that?

Mr Medland : With the Industry Growth Centres, the saving is over four years in that instance. 2019-20 is $3 million, 2020-21 is $3 million, 2021-22 is $3 million and 2022-23 is $2 million, to come to the $11 million. For the Entrepreneurs' Program, in 2018-19, the saving is $2 million, in 2019-20 it is $6 million, in 2020-21 it's $6 million, in 2021-22 it's $6 million, and in 2022-23 it's $6 million.

Senator KIM CARR: Thank you. That's the $35 million, is it?

Mr Medland : Correct.

Senator KIM CARR: This has all gone back into consolidated revenue, has it?

Senator Canavan: Like any efficiency, it obviously provides the government with more resources, which you would also note, presumably on the same pages of Budget Paper No. 2 that you're looking at, the government's made a range of investments in this portfolio, particularly to do with space, with enhancing the outreach of Questacon et cetera.

Senator KIM CARR: So this has funded the new initiatives for Questacon. What else?

Senator Canavan: As I say, they're not directly linked, but I think it's important to take the government's budget strategy in its totality, rather than just individual measures.

Senator KIM CARR: It's just that if we add them up it's nearly $90 million there. There are nowhere near $90 million worth of new initiatives, are there?

Senator Canavan: As we've just outlined—I believe Mr Medland will pick me up—the efficiencies in the budget are $18.9—

Senator KIM CARR: Well, it's $48 million plus $35 million—sorry, $49 million.

Senator Canavan: And the $35 million was from MYEFO, I believe.

Senator KIM CARR: That's right. I'm just saying it's $49 million plus $35 million—that's the effect of the changes. There's nowhere near that amount in terms of new initiatives.

Senator Canavan: I'm just describing how I'm happy for Mr Medland to run through the other initiatives and changed programs. Here, I've got $15 million for expanding Questacon, $3.4 million for promoting women in STEM, a very important initiative, and another $20 million for the Space Infrastructure Fund, and also some funding for ANSTO as well.

Mr Medland : If I could just clarify, the saving in budget was $13.9 million. The MYEFO saving was $35 million. Combined, that's the $48 million. So that's the impact of the saving.

Senator KIM CARR: So it wasn't $48.9 million?

Mr Medland : Combined, it's $48.9 million.

Senator KIM CARR: Combined with the two effects?

Mr Medland : Correct.

Senator KIM CARR: Oh, so I'm double counting. I see what you're saying. Okay. There was a review of the growth centres by the Nous consulting group, is that right?

Mr Medland : Yes.

Senator KIM CARR: Did Nous Group recommend that you cut the growth centres?

Mr Lawson : Nous Group reviewed, I believe, the growth centres that existed. The reduction in the program isn't a reduction of the existing growth centres. As a result of the Nous review, those growth centres were found to be doing well and their funding was extended for two years. The savings have been taken out of uncommitted funding in the program.

Senator KIM CARR: Can we get a copy of this review?

Mr Lawrence : The review undertaken by Nous was used to inform the minister's decision to extend them—

Senator KIM CARR: Sorry, Mr Lawrence, but does that mean yes or no?

Mr Lawrence : and a decision to release that is up to the minister.

Senator KIM CARR: I see. Minister, can we get a copy of this review?

Senator Canavan: We'll have to take that on notice, Senator. It's not my report, sorry.

Senator KIM CARR: There was a letter that my colleague put in on behalf of the opposition. I'm just wondering: do we have the matters contained in that, Madam Secretary?

Dr Smith : Yes, we do.

Senator KIM CARR: Can I get a copy of those?

Dr Smith : I'm happy to table those. Could I clarify: in the answers to one of the questions, Senator Ketter asked for information around funding and staffing for NISA. We interpreted that as you were perhaps the Office of Innovation and Science rather than NISA itself, because you were looking for funding and staffing numbers.

Senator KIM CARR: This department.

Dr Smith : That's right, not NISA itself because that's scattered across. We've assumed that's what you've asked for. We're happy to table those answers.

Senator KIM CARR: Thank you very much. You've covered all of those?

Dr Smith : Yes—

Senator KIM CARR: Thank you very much, Madam Secretary.

Dr Smith : except to note two questions around forecast of expenditure, R&D, the tax incentive and the current value of revenue. That's something that I need to go to the Treasury for. Similarly, there was a question about water infrastructure programs, which we don't have carriage for. That's for infrastructure. We have attempted to answer everything else.

Senator KIM CARR: There is the last one on questions on notice. Are there any outstanding?

Dr Smith : No, Senator.

Senator KIM CARR: Thank you. I will press on, then. With regard to the R&D tax incentive, the performance criteria in output 1, table 2.13 on page 35, refers to business research development. The note there indicates: 'The intended result was to increase research and development for business.' Is that what's actually happened?

Mr Calder : Could I ask you to repeat the question?

Senator KIM CARR: Yes. I'm referring to the criteria in outcome 1, the table at 2.113, which is on page 35, and the performance criteria for outcome 1 specifies that the intended result of this program was to increase research and development in business. Is that what's happened?

Mr Calder : Senator, as you know, the only tax incentive is a demand-driven program. The amount registered in any given year will depend on how many companies decide to register for the R&D tax incentive and what types of activities they're actually undertaking as part of that program. So, year on year, it is simply based on what the demand from individual companies would be for accessing that program.

Senator KIM CARR: You would be able to claim that you've met your performance criteria?

Mr Calder : I note that, in that table, that is the actual estimate from the registration data of what the actual amount of R&D activity under the program is. So it's not a target; it's a simple estimate of what has been registered to date in the program for the current year.

Senator KIM CARR: On page 38, it actually does refer to a target, doesn't it? Is that the case? On page 38, the portfolio, on 1.2: the 2018-19 target for R&D expended for business was $13.9 billion.

Mr Calder : What I'm saying, Senator, is that that is the estimate, in an incomplete year, of the actual R&D claims through the R&D tax incentive. It's not a target.

Senator KIM CARR: It's not a target. That's what the table actually says, though, isn't it?

Mr Calder : I think it does earlier in the table. But what I'm saying is that simply is just the estimate of the amount of R&D registered.

Senator KIM CARR: It should say 'estimate', not 'target'?

Mr Calder : It's the estimate of the amount of R&D registered in the program.

Senator KIM CARR: That's not what has happened, is it? We're down on those figures, aren't we?

Ms Mulder : The most recent income year we have is the 2016-17 income year, and as we've reported, it's $13.9 billion in terms of R&D expenditure. So that's the figure that's been translated over to the estimate of the next income year, which would be 2017-18.

Senator KIM CARR: So the figure in 2017-18 was 9.2, wasn't it?

Ms Mulder : You're referring to the 2017-18 PBS?

Senator KIM CARR: Yes, the previous PBS.

Ms Mulder : I understand that was the figure, yes.

Senator KIM CARR: And what was actually achieved?

Ms Mulder : That was in reference to a different income year. In the 2014-15 income year, the registered R&D expenditure—noting this is through registration, Senator, as you would know—was $18.3 billion. That was the actual figure.

Senator KIM CARR: What have we got for the next year after that?

Ms Mulder : The next year after that was $16.1 billion?

Senator KIM CARR: That's down, is it?

Ms Mulder : From 18.3, yes.

Senator KIM CARR: And what have we got for the year after that?

Ms Mulder : That was the most recent income year, and, as I said, that was $13.9 billion.

Senator KIM CARR: So it would be fair to say that, on the available evidence, business R&D is going down?

Mr Calder : Business R&D has been trending down since 2008-09.

Senator KIM CARR: I see.

Mr Calder : This would be based on some broad economic factors in the economy. We've seen the mining investment boom move through the economy—

Senator KIM CARR: And you don't think it's got anything to do with reductions in support from the government? Would it have anything to do with the support from the government being reduced?

Mr Calder : I wouldn't be able to talk to what individual companies would react to, in terms of changes within the program. I note the changes announced at the 2018-19 budget currently legislated them before parliament. The changes that happened earlier were a cap of $100 million on the total claims that companies could make and a 1½ percentage point reduction in the offset rate itself.

Senator KIM CARR: Those changes have gone off to a consultation committee, now, haven't they?

Mr Calder : The legislation went to the Senate Economics Committee.

Senator KIM CARR: We are members. This is the same committee. It went off to a further consultation, because it didn't actually proceed in the parliament, did it, in the Senate?

Mr Calder : We issued the draft legislation for consultation—

Senator KIM CARR: There's been a further round of consultations. The government has set up a further consultative committee, has it not?

Senator Canavan: I think that's a matter for Treasury.

Senator KIM CARR: I thought it was this department, too.

Senator Canavan: That's right.

Senator KIM CARR: Because this department's part of that consultation, as well.

Senator Canavan: I think the legislation is a matter for Treasury, but I'll just ask my officials to add what they can on that.

Mr Lawson : As our colleagues from Treasury talked about in the estimates earlier today, the committee made some specific proposals that the government should consider, and the government is currently considering those, and we are with Treasury in doing that.

Senator KIM CARR: Mr Lawson, I'm aware of what the committee has recommended. I'm aware that the government is considering the committee's recommendations, but it is my understanding there has been a consultation group set up which this department has been part of; is that the case or not?

Mr Lawson : Senator, I think we will talk about that consultation process, but that's not specifically about the policy matters; that's a matter of implementation—Joanne Mulder?

Senator KIM CARR: It goes to the matters covered by the policy matters.

Ms Mulder : You are correct, Senator. The co-administrators—the ATO and Ausindustry—have established the Research and Development Tax Incentive Roundtable. The first meeting—

Senator KIM CARR: We're on the same wavelength.

Ms Mulder : I think so, now. Yes, Senator. That first meeting was held on 7 March, but, as we discussed last time, it's not a policy forum; it's a co-administrators forum.

Senator KIM CARR: And it has had one meeting since this Economics Committee has reported?

Ms Mulder : The first meeting was on 7 March, Senator.

Senator KIM CARR: What was considered at that meeting?

Ms Mulder : A range of topics were discussed at that meeting, including an update on where the draft legislation was up to, as well as administrative matters such as software guidance, program integrity and program performance, and some ATO matters as well.

Senator KIM CARR: Were there any conclusions reached at the meeting?

Ms Mulder : We have made the minutes of the meeting available on our BGA website.

Senator KIM CARR: Of course.

Ms Mulder : But, in terms of conclusions, we certainly do have actions for next time.

Senator KIM CARR: Can you refresh my memory: what are they?

Ms Mulder : Yes, I can. We were asked to look at the type of information that we can provide to the round table. We'll be providing some more numbers on various aspects next time. We've sought feedback on the draft terms of reference, and we're receiving some of that at the moment. We agreed to have a further discussion on the software development. We agreed to have a discussion about the revised registration form for the program. And there were also some administrative matters around co-chair arrangements.

Senator KIM CARR: Thank you for that. I might turn quickly to the CRC Program. I see there was a target listed in the budget last year. The number of commercialisation agreements was estimated to be at 306 in 2018. This year the number is 2,558. Can you tell me how we get such a disparity?

Mr McIntyre : One of the CRCs, the autism CRC, had a very large number and, as a consequence, that's inflated that figure when compared to the trend that goes before and after that year.

Senator KIM CARR: Can you repeat the CRC that had this massive number of agreements.

Mr McIntyre : I'll get the precise title, Senator. It is the CRC for living with autism spectrum disorders.

Senator KIM CARR: How many agreements did they manage to have?

Mr McIntyre : I don't have a breakdown of that figure, but basically the reason for the increase is because of a very large—

Senator KIM CARR: For one CRC?

Mr McIntyre : That's correct. We've changed the way in which we tend to attribute those matters between companies involved in CRCs and—

Senator KIM CARR: Thank you for that. We're going so well, Madam Chair, that I have one final question. I thank the officers for their assistance with this. I apologise, there are two questions. My office will be cranky with me if they see I've missed two questions. I will come back to the R&D matter. Do we have a final number on the estimated save from the intensity measure, included in this budget?

Mr Lawson : You will remember that was a matter that was announced in the previous budget, and an aggregate figure for the save from changes to the R&D tax incentive was provided, but not a breakdown of individual measures—

Senator KIM CARR: That's why I was interested to know: do you have one?

Mr Lawson : because those measures are interactive, so any change to them depends on what other measures are taken or not taken.

Senator KIM CARR: So there's been no policy change and you can't help me with a number on that specific measure.

Mr Lawson : Precisely. As you said, the committee made some recommendations. We are looking, with Treasury, at the analysis of those recommendations and their implications. That work has not been finalised.

Senator KIM CARR: So you don't have it—that's the nub of it.

Mr Lawson : Correct.

Senator KIM CARR: This is another one for you, Mr Lawson. What is the budget for the ARP Authority?

Mr Lawson : You'll find an answer on—

Senator KIM CARR: In the stuff we have got there. So what is the staffing?

Mr Lawson : That answer is—

Senator KIM CARR: In there as well?

Mr Lawson : Yes.

Senator KIM CARR: Thank you. That concludes my question.

CHAIR: I have a couple of questions which follow up on questions I've asked in previous estimates about the budget initiatives for women in STEM. What is the allocation in the 2019-20 budget for women in STEM and what initiatives will that funding support?

Ms Forsyth : The 2019-20 budget has announced $3.4 million over four years to increase girls' and women's participation in STEM study and careers. That's made up of two specific measures. One is $1.8 million over three years to continue support for the Science In Australia Gender Equity initiative, SAGE, to enable the higher education and research sector to continue to improve gender equity policies and practices. The second initiative is $1.5 million over three years for a national digital awareness-raising campaign to increase the visibility of girls and women in STEM.

CHAIR: To increase the visibility. What does that involve?

Ms Forsyth : To increase visibility of girls and women in STEM, a digital awareness-raising initiative. It'll be led by our Women in STEM ambassador, Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith.

CHAIR: This is something I have asked about in estimates after estimates. The coalition is obviously quite dedicated to this initiative. What do you have before you—I know it's a bit retrospective—as to the total amount that has been committed over the past six years to addressing this issue?

Senator Canavan: I have a figure in front of me that the funding in this budget builds on the $4½ million over four years we've invested for women in STEM. There might be additional figures.

Ms Forsyth : That's correct, and we also invested over $13 million from 2016-17 to 2019-20 through the National Innovation and Science Agenda. So that is $4.48 million plus over $13 million.

Mrs Urquhart : Plus the $3.4 million in this budget.

CHAIR: So over $20 million. Thank you. That's very encouraging.

Senator KIM CARR: I just want to double-check something. I apologise if I've misled here. Does the material you've given me on notice provide details of the Questacon funding and the Innovation Games and the digital awareness funding?

Dr Smith : No, not the material that Senator Ketter asked for.

Senator KIM CARR: Have you got a profile on that funding, please?

Dr Smith : I should have; I think so, Senator.

CHAIR: While we're waiting, can someone explain to me exactly what the national Innovation Games involve?

Mr Medland : Senator, Carr, what were those programs?

Senator KIM CARR: Questacon funding, the Innovation Games and the digital awareness funding. Can we get the profile on those, please.

Mr Medland : Certainly. If you look at the PBS in the budget measures table on page 18, that outlines it. Expanding Questacon's education outreach in 2019-20 is $4.9 million; in 2020-21 it's $5.1 million; and in 2021-22 it's $5.1 million.

Senator KIM CARR: And what is the profile on the Innovation Games?

Mr Medland : Making the Innovation Games national: in 2019-20 it's $1.8 million; in 2020-21 it's $1.8 million.

Senator KIM CARR: Thank you. So it's just two years?

Mr Medland : Correct.

Senator KIM CARR: And the digital awareness funding?

Mrs Urquhart : I assume, by 'digital awareness-raising initiative' you're referring to the component of the women in STEM measure. That is profiled at 0.5 per year over three years from 2019-20.

Senator KIM CARR: What is the purpose of the funding for the Questacon outreach? What is the intention?

Prof. Durant : The funding will give us the opportunity to extend our outreach programs into regional Australia. I'm pleased that it's recognition by the government of the quality and the impact of our various programs.

Senator KIM CARR: But your standard outreach programs?

Prof. Durant : They are standard. We'll be doing a little bit more experimental work, going a little bit deeper in some of the communities. So, we'll be not only looking at breadth—and we've got great coverage across the country—but also going into some communities, such as one or two Indigenous communities, in a little bit more depth, to build pathways between programs and to connect other STEM initiatives in those areas.

Senator KIM CARR: How far out in the community are you going?

Prof. Durant : It varies from location to location. Each location is very specific. For example, the last tour of the Science Circus, the first one of this year, travelled from Canberra to Young and across to Goulburn and Cowra and interacted with 48 schools in that time.

Senator KIM CARR: This is stuff that you've done for a very long time, though, isn't it?

Prof. Durant : It is—34 years now.

Senator KIM CARR: Still through the ANU?

Prof. Durant : It's still in partnership with the ANU. The advantage of the new measure is that we will be able to use the resources at times when the students are undertaking other activities as part of their training.

Senator KIM CARR: Fair enough. And the Innovation Games—what's that about?

Ms Kelly : It relates to a program that really amounts to a hackathon, where businesses respond to an innovation challenge, and it's conducted in a hackathon. It's been run very successfully by the Victorian government, and it's a further application of that model.

Senator KIM CARR: How much did you say that was—the total?

Ms Kelly : It's 1.8 for two years.

Mr Medland : It's 3.5 in total.

Senator KIM CARR: And this is the first time it's been run here?

Ms Kelly : It's the first time that the Commonwealth has—

Senator KIM CARR: So, no contracts have been issued yet?

Ms Kelly : That's correct.

Senator KIM CARR: It's still discretionary funding, then?

Ms Kelly : That's my understanding. I'll confirm it, but that's my understanding.

Senator KIM CARR: And the digital awareness funding—what's that for?

Mrs Urquhart : I referred to that earlier. That relates to the Women in STEM measure.

Senator KIM CARR: Yes, you did say that. Sorry. Is this the first time you've run that?

Mrs Urquhart : Yes. It's intended that the Women in STEM Ambassador, Lisa Harvey-Smith, will lead that initiative.

Senator KIM CARR: What exactly are you intending for her to do with that?

Mrs Urquhart : We'll be investigating options together with her, in close consultation with her. The intention of the initiative is to use audiovisual and video material to extend outreach to girls and women about opportunities in STEM careers.

Senator KIM CARR: Thank you for that. I want to turn to the ANSTO moneys. This is a departmental expense, presumably, is it? It's $56 million over three years and includes $31 million for the capital funding. And there's a $56 million equity injection. Can you tell me what that's for?

Ms O'Loughlin : The money isn't departmental money; it's money for ANSTO. It's a total of $112 million, of which $38.4 million is for high-priority activities focused on short-term safety and operational requirements. It includes $13.9 million for proactive maintenance work for the nuclear medicine processing and distribution facility. It includes $12.6 million to address recommendations from the ARPANSA review, $5.9 million for managing radioactive waste, $1.2 million for managing spent fuel and $4.9 million for decommissioning and demolishing a contaminated building.

Senator KIM CARR: Is it your intention, though, that this money will—you said the ARPANSA report, so it's dealing with those safety issues?

Ms O'Loughlin : Yes.

Senator KIM CARR: So, is it the intention of the department that this emergency funding will prevent further interruption of supply?

Ms O'Loughlin : It addresses the issues that ANSTO has been facing, and it does have money for capital funding for upgrading of infrastructure.

Senator KIM CARR: I thought they needed a fair bit more than that, though, didn't they?

Senator Canavan: Perhaps you could be more specific.

Senator KIM CARR: My understanding was that, regarding the figure to upgrade the facilities, there was a requirement for a lot more than the amount that you've just indicated as part of this package to deal with the safety questions.

Senator Canavan: My understanding is that these funds are for an imminent or immediate benefit to improve safety. There is also $12.6 million, as I think was outlined by Ms O'Loughlin, to put together a business case that would potentially support more significant investments in upgrading facilities at ANSTO. So that might be what you're referring to.

Senator KIM CARR: I thought the director mentioned a figure of over $200 million.

Senator Canavan: My understanding is that we don't have a costed amount for the infrastructure he may have been referring to at that point, and the funding for the business case will provide government with more detail.

Senator KIM CARR: Minister, you have a brief there. What's the additional equity for $56 million for, then?

Senator Canavan: My understanding is that is just a normal equity injection to support ANSTO's balance sheet, but I'll ask the officials.

Mrs Urquhart : The equity support recognised the unforeseen expenses that ANSTO experienced last year in responding to nuclear medicine supply disruptions, as well as the desirability of a buffer for ANSTO whilst it works through responding to recommendations from that ARPANSA directed review.

Senator KIM CARR: So there's no need for the redundancies now?

Senator Canavan: I'm not aware of any redundancies.

Senator KIM CARR: I understand there have been some discussions about redundancies at ANSTO.

Senator Canavan: I'm not aware, unless the officials—

Senator KIM CARR: The department's not aware of that?

Mrs Urquhart : ANSTO is scheduled to appear next Thursday. It would be a question you would need to ask ANSTO.

Senator KIM CARR: We all trust that that won't be necessary, but—

Senator Canavan: You never know your luck.

Senator KIM CARR: It's not part of the budget measure to deal with the redundancy issue?

Mrs Urquhart : No.

Senator KIM CARR: There has been a suggestion that there has effectively been underinvestment in ANSTO for the last few years now. Is this a response to that underinvestment?

Senator Canavan: A suggestion from whom?

Senator KIM CARR: ARPANSA reports did specifically refer to this question of the underinvestment in capital in ANSTO.

Mrs Urquhart : That's correct. The ARPANSA directed review made clear the urgency of replacement of building 23.

Senator KIM CARR: But this doesn't replace building 23, does it?

Mrs Urquhart : No, it doesn't, but, as outlined, it includes the $12.6 million which covers developing a business case, which would seem appropriate when scoping an expenditure of that magnitude.

Senator KIM CARR: So it's a business case for the replacement. It doesn't actually go to capital work.

Mrs Urquhart : There is provision, though, of $18 million in capital funding for upgrading of infrastructure in the meantime. So it is intended to assist ANSTO with meeting the recommendations of the ARPANSA directed review and to ensure that the workplace is safe in the meantime.

Senator KIM CARR: You're not just putting them on the long finger in this measure, are you?

Senator Canavan: That's certainly not my perspective or the government's perspective. We remain very committed to ensuring that the Lucas Heights facility is a world-class facility. While it's not in my portfolio, I catch up with Adi regularly about that. The government fully supports ensuring that ANSTO is sufficiently resourced to maintain that capability. As has been outlined, we don't have a properly costed proposal before us to replace building 23 or to do other infrastructure works that would meet the issues raised by the ARPANSA directed review, but the funding we're providing here does respond in part to those issues and we are also progressing a plan to get those proper costings so we can make further decisions.

Senator KIM CARR: Regarding the Space Agency infrastructure fund, is there a $19 million fund—or $19½ million, rather? How much of that has been announced so far? Has the $19½ million been allocated yet?

Mr Murfett : In the budget, $19.5 million has been announced for the Space Infrastructure Fund. Two projects have been announced under that fund: $6 million for a mission control facility; and $2 million allocated to support future space manufacturing capability.

Senator KIM CARR: That's $8 million altogether. So, what's happening with the rest of the money?

Mr Murfett : Two projects were announced under the $19.5 million and it's a matter for and a decision of government to make decisions on further projects under that fund.

Senator KIM CARR: Have decisions been made but are yet to be announced or are there decisions yet to be made?

Mr Murfett : Those decisions are a matter for government. They're responsible for making decisions on the fund.

Senator KIM CARR: I'm asking you a different question. Yes, I know they're decisions for government. I'm asking if the decisions been made but are yet to be announced? Therefore, has the $19.5 million been allocated?

Mr Murfett : In the budget, $19.5 million is announced as a commitment of the government for the fund. Two projects have been announced. There have been no further decisions on the fund.

Senator KIM CARR: I'll repeat that. There have been no further decisions. So, there still remains in the fund, unallocated, the balance of the fund beyond those two decisions?

Mr Murfett : I would say there's $19.5 million for the fund. Two projects are announced at a total of $8 million and the government has not made a decision on the remaining projects under that fund.

Senator KIM CARR: There was a reference in the statement of 194 on the Building Strong Regions—a total of seven projects. Is that something to do with the space program?

Mr Murfett : Which program was that?

Senator KIM CARR: A ministerial statement, Building Strong Regions 2019-20—an intention to fund a total of seven projects. Are any of those projects space projects?

Mr Murfett : Do you have the page?

Senator KIM CARR: I'm told it's on page 194—Building Strong Regions, page 194. Where it says 'to locate the Australian Space Agency'. It is the Space Infrastructure Fund. It talks about the $19.5 million and it talks about the first of the project funds, the $6 million and the $2 million.

Mr Murfett : I've got the reference.

Senator KIM CARR: You see there are seven priority infrastructure projects and in my copy the seven has a line through it.

Mr Murfett : I see that.

Senator KIM CARR: Is that an editing error that's not been corrected by the Treasury boffins? What's happening there? What does the seven relate to?

Mr Murfett : I think that with the infrastructure fund that we have, there is $19.5 million and two projects have been announced.

Senator KIM CARR: I've got that.

Mr Murfett : The number of projects hasn't been decided. There could be seven.

Senator KIM CARR: I'm not making myself clear, perhaps. I read the document and it talks about seven priority projects. You've told me about two. Where are the other five?

Mr Murfett : As I said, $19.5 million under the Space Infrastructure Fund. Two projects have been announced. No announcements have been made about other projects. It's a large fund of $19.5 million and the objective of the fund is to grow and transform our space industry. What the future projects will be have not been announced.

Senator KIM CARR: Minister, can you help me? What are the seven priority infrastructure projects referred to in this statement?

Senator Canavan: I'll have to take that on notice. Sorry.

Senator KIM CARR: Mr Lawson, can you help me?

Mr Lawson : I'm discovering this as we speak.

Senator Canavan: We'll take it on notice.

Senator KIM CARR: It's amazing what people can draw your attention to? It is just a joy in the estimates.

Mr Lawson : As you say, it does appear to have been crossed out.

Senator KIM CARR: Yes, it has.

Senator Canavan: I'm informed, from the minister's office, that it is a mistake. It should have been removed from the budget. That's why it's struck through.

Senator KIM CARR: I see, it's a mistake. Who does the editing on this?

Senator Canavan: Not this department, I don't think—I'm not trying to flick the buck.

Senator KIM CARR: The performance bonus should be looked at, there, I would have thought.

Senator Canavan: We all make mistakes, Senator.

Senator KIM CARR: We'd make mistakes, all right. Thank you very much. But there's no more to be announced, is what you're telling me. Is that right?

Mr Murfett : As I said, they're a decision for government, and that's a question you'll have to put to government.

Senator KIM CARR: Yes, I got that. But we go into caretaker in a couple of days. I'm must saying, you're not aware that there are no more decisions made yet to be announced. You're deputy head of the agency, aren't you?

Mr Murfett : I am deputy head of the agency.

Senator KIM CARR: And you've not been aware of any other decisions yet to be announced.

Mr Murfett : I think the correct way to characterise it is that the agency is responsible for providing advice to government on matters relating to civil space policy. It is a matter for government to make decisions on those projects and that is a question that needs to be directed to government, on what those decisions are.

Senator KIM CARR: All right. Minister, can you tell me, are there any other decisions that have been made in regard to the allocations of money from this fund yet to be announced?

Senator Canavan: I'll have to take it on notice.

Senator KIM CARR: Given that's a mistake.

Senator Canavan: I've clarified that, but I'll take that question on notice.

Senator KIM CARR: Thank you. Do you have a profile on the fund? How does that work?

Mr Murfett : I can read through the profile of the fund. In our PBS, on page—

Senator KIM CARR: It's in the PBS?

Mr Murfett : It's in the PBS, page 19.

Senator KIM CARR: Thank you, that'll do, if it's in the PBS. In terms of the particular projects that you have announced, is there a profile on the allocation of money for those?

Mr Murfett : Which projects, sorry?

Senator KIM CARR: The projects that you have announced, the $6 million and the $2 million. Is there a profile on the distribution of funds for that?

Mr Murfett : There is a profile.

Senator KIM CARR: May I have that, please?

Mr Murfett : For the mission control centre, which has been announced, 1920 has $3 million, 2020-21 has $2 million and 2021-22 has $3 million.

Senator KIM CARR: Thank you. And the other one?

Mr Murfett : For the $2 million project, there is a profile in 2020-21 of $0.7 million and in 2021-22 of $1.3 million.

Senator KIM CARR: Both those projects will start this year, will they, if you've got a funding profile of 2019-20?

Mr Murfett : For the second project that I just discussed there isn't a funding allocated in 2019-20, but that wouldn't stop, for example, undertaking some feasibility work to support that project.

Senator KIM CARR: In regard to the Adelaide City Deal, which has an allocation of 0.5, 0.3 and 0.4 for forward estimates and a capital measure of 0.5 in year 4, what's that for?

Mr Murfett : That's in relation to the announcement of the Australian Space Discovery Centre as part of the Adelaide City Deal. Those funds are part of us partnering with Questacon to create a public face for the activities relating to space so that we can engage with the community, get the kids to touch, feel and play with space activities.

Senator KIM CARR: In any of these projects what's the state government involvement, the funding commitment from state governments?

Mr Murfett : In some of these projects we're still undergoing negotiations with those projects that are not available. But for the mission control facility it was announced that the South Australian government's allocating $2.5 million.

Senator KIM CARR: And the others, you're still talking about?

Mr Murfett : We're still under negotiations.

Senator KIM CARR: I'm sorry to go back to Questacon but I want to clarify something. You've allocated $15.1 million for three years for Questacon. You've said that's the outreach programs. Is there any revenue from ticket sales in there?

Prof. Durant : There is a charge for the Science Circus when it goes into various communities, so there is an element of cost recovery.

Senator KIM CARR: What's the charge?

Prof. Durant : I believe it's $15 per student.

Senator KIM CARR: What's your total revenue from ticket sales?

Prof. Durant : Total revenue from ticket sales last year—the actuals for 2017-18 were $5.9 million, and for 2018-19 they were $6.4 million.

Senator KIM CARR: Across the forward estimates, do you have any sense of it?

Prof. Durant : I can do a back-of-envelope calculation, by which it's coming in at around $6 million a year. So, over four years, we're talking—

Senator KIM CARR: Six by four. Can you give me a breakdown on adults, children, concessions and family tickets?

Prof. Durant : Yes, I can.

Senator KIM CARR: Do you have that on the table and could you table it?

Prof. Durant : Yes.

Senator KIM CARR: Is that all right, Madam Chair?

Prof. Durant : The admission prices have been static since 2012. The current price for an adult is $23 and for a child it is $17.50. Family tickets are $70. Family memberships are $160, and there's a discount if you take on a two-year family membership.

Senator CANAVAN: My wife and kids visited this week. I thought it was quite reasonable. They had a good time. I couldn't make it.

Senator KIM CARR: I do remember the figures from 2012. Your prices—that revenue figure includes the Science Circus for outreach.

Prof. Durant : No, that's a separate line.

Senator KIM CARR: If you include the Science Circus for outreach, how much is the total revenue?

Prof. Durant : Perhaps I have misled you. I think that figure does actually include some circus revenue.

Senator KIM CARR: So the total revenue for ticket sales is about $6 million a year.

Senator KIM CARR: It's about $6 million a year. There's $2.5 million for sponsorship, $2.6 million for the sale of goods, half a million or thereabouts for program income, $775,000 for memberships, $289,000 for lease and car parks, other revenue is $24,000, and exhibition hire is over $500,000. They're all ballpark figures. I have the exact figures if you'd like them.

Senator KIM CARR: If you could. If you've got that table, that'd be very handy.

Prof. Durant : The total for 2018-19 revenue is $13.567 million.

Senator KIM CARR: The money on the SAGE initiative provides three years extension, doesn't it? Can I just confirm that that's three years?

Ms Forsyth : Yes, that's correct.

Senator KIM CARR: That's about $600,000 a year, is that right?

Ms Forsyth : I'd have to check how much it is each year.

Mrs Urquhart : Just bear with us, Senator. We do have a profile.

Ms Forsyth : It's $500,000 in the 2019-20 financial year, $600,000 in the 2020-21 financial year and $700,000 in the 2021—

Senator KIM CARR: So it averages out.

Ms Forsyth : It does.

Senator KIM CARR: Is that less than the previous funding?

Ms Forsyth : We're just trying to find the information.

Mrs Urquhart : It might be most helpful if my colleague gives you the profile for the previous funding, because it's not quite the same.

Senator KIM CARR: But is it less?

Ms Forsyth : In the 2016-17 financial year it was $1 million.

Senator KIM CARR: So $1 million for the previous three years?

Mrs Urquhart : No. It then goes on over 2017-18.

Ms Forsyth : Then 2017-18 is $500,000 and 2018-19 is $500,000.

Senator KIM CARR: Okay, but there is $1 million in there somewhere, right?

Mrs Urquhart : In the first year.

Senator KIM CARR: What I'm interested to know is if the aggregate on those three years is less. Would that be right?

Ms Forsyth : Yes.

Senator KIM CARR: Okay. What's put to me is that there's less money available. The SAGE people asked for more money, presumably.

Mrs Urquhart : We would have to take on notice what figures, if any, were given to us by the Academy of Science.

Senator KIM CARR: Okay. I'm just wondering: are they expected to do more with less? As the business model changed, is there a—

Mrs Urquhart : No, the funding is a contribution to the base of the SAGE initiative, so it's not held against particular activities.

Senator KIM CARR: So there's no expectation of efficiencies required?

Mrs Urquhart : No.

Senator KIM CARR: Is there an expectation that participants are to pay a higher share of costs?

Mrs Urquhart : I'm not sure I understand the question.

Senator KIM CARR: Has there been a change in the modelling for the way in which the costs are distributed for the running of the program? I'm just trying to work out how they're supposed to do the job with less money. What's the effect?

Mrs Urquhart : As I mentioned before, it's a government contribution to the base of the SAGE initiative, so it's intended to help support the SAGE initiative as it's becoming established and as it's bringing on more members. So, in a way, it's not possible to answer your question, because it's not structured in that way.

Senator KIM CARR: Thank you very much. I'll leave it there.

Senator Canavan: Sorry, there's just a clarification.

Mr Murfett : I just want to make a clarification to my earlier statements around the projects. When considering the question and the answer, one thing I want to clarify is that the government has made up to seven projects but they're still subject to negotiation. I think in my answer I was trying to make a distinction with the agency providing advice on what they are. It is a matter for government to make a decision, but they are still subject—

Senator KIM CARR: What I'm trying to establish is how much of the money is unallocated.

Mr Murfett : Decisions have been made against the full quantum of the dollars.

Senator KIM CARR: The whole lot has been allocated?

Mr Murfett : The government has made a decision against the full $19.5 million.

Senator KIM CARR: Yes, that's fine, but I'm trying to establish: is there any money yet to be allocated?

Mr Murfett : There are decisions against the full $19.5 million.

Senator KIM CARR: That was the point of my question. Thank you very much.

Mr Murfett : Thank you for the opportunity to clarify.

Senator KIM CARR: Thanks for correcting the record too.

CHAIR: No-one move and no-one make eye contact, just in case Senator Carr still has another question!

Senator KIM CARR: That's right.

CHAIR: You'll get another involuntary colonoscopy if you're not careful! I have just a couple of questions, and then I will genuinely let you go. In particular, I had a question about the National Innovation Games, but Senator Carr got in before me. What are the National Innovation Games exactly? I heard about the funding.

Ms Kelly : It is in effect a hackathon where there's an innovation challenge set and businesses compete with—

CHAIR: I know what a hackathon is.

Ms Kelly : A hackathon is where there is a problem put out and then, usually over a concentrated period of time, people get together in teams to come up with solutions to the challenge that's put out. In this case, it's businesses competing to provide a solution to an innovation challenge. It has been used very successfully in Victoria by the Victorian government to foster innovation in small business in particular.

CHAIR: Thank you. In the same vein, I want to ask you about the commercialisation Incubator Support initiatives. I understand there's been some research done about increased commercialisation recently. Is that in the same vein, the same group, or am I barking up the wrong tree?

Ms Kelly : The Incubator Support initiative is still very much in its early stages, but there has been very positive feedback about the early stages of the program. I'm not quite sure of the research that you might be referring to, but certainly the program is only—

CHAIR: It's the National Survey of Research Commercialisation—is that something that rings a bell?

Mr Tonkin : That is an annual survey that is undertaken by the department.

CHAIR: So the department undertakes the research on its own initiative?

Mr Tonkin : We undertake that research through a survey mechanism through the relevant agencies. We ask 18 questions around key indicators around commercialisation within publicly funded research bodies. That covers things such as resourcing, licence options, assignments, start-ups, spin-out companies, consultancies and collaborations as well as skills development in the technology transfer and the ecosystem they're building to try to foster that commercialisation of publicly funded research into the ecosystem.

CHAIR: Has there been a suggestion that the commercialisation has improved in the last period? I don't know what period you measure that over.

Mrs Urquhart : The results from the 37 universities, 20 medical research institutes and the six publicly funded research agencies that responded indicated increased commercialisation and collaboration activities over the life of the survey. The survey data shows positive trends across metrics, including continued growth in start-up creation, increased technology licences executed and consultancies, contracts and collaborations with end users, including industry partners.

CHAIR: Does that include the Biomedical Translation Fund?

Mrs Urquhart : No. It includes medical research institutes but not the Biotechnology Translation Fund. It may be, however, that the biomedical technology—or BTF, as we call it—would have contributed to the results reported in the survey. They are reported through the institutions. It is the institutions that respond to the survey, as opposed to a fund.

CHAIR: My very last question is on program 3, so I'm afraid I'm dragging different groups of people up. It is about the National Measurement Institute, which is not something I know an awful lot about but which I wanted to ask about. I probably should have saved this for when we do the agencies next week, which might be a little ambitious. But there was a recently announced fuel pump blitz, and I'm just wondering whether you can explain to me what a fuel pump blitz is?

Dr Warrington : The fuel blitz is a targeted compliance program. We have trade measurement inspectors in the field. Normally we have a range of businesses that they visit. What we have trialled twice now is a concentrated effort where we focus on a particular trade sector. We ran one last year on supermarkets and we have run one this year on fuel. It was just completed today, in fact. It's a national program with all the inspectors visiting stations across the country.

CHAIR: If you finished it today, when will you get the results?

Dr Warrington : It takes some time to pull those together and analyse them. It's a very rich dataset for us in terms of individual instruments and the businesses that are visited. I would expect it would take some weeks to months to pull that data together to extract the full set of results. Just to make clear, what the inspectors do when they visit a petrol station is simply check that the fuel pumps give you a fair measure such that when they say they're dispensing a certain volume that's actually the volume the consumer gets.

CHAIR: I never suspected otherwise, but I'm very glad somebody has an eye on that. That's all we've got for now. We have no more. Thank you very much to the department for appearing tonight. We will let you go.

Pr oceedings suspended from 20:25 to 20:40

CHAIR: The committee will now resume. Senator Patrick has the floor. Senator Patrick, you were going to let the committee know which agencies can go home.

Senator PATRICK: Can I just ask for the ones I want?

CHAIR: Yes; that's probably better.

Senator PATRICK: The Australian Space Agency and manufacturing and radioactive waste.

Senator Canavan: Which one do you want to start with?

Senator PATRICK: Whichever is convenient.

Senator Canavan: Space is right here.

Senator PATRICK: I love space.

CHAIR: Everyone else can go home, if they are not the Space Agency, advanced manufacturing or radioactive waste.

Senator PATRICK: Mr Murfett, I would like to get a status update, as to where things are up to, maybe by way of an opening statement or just telling me what has happened since we last met here.

Mr Murfett : I might reflect on the 10 months since the establishment of the Space Agency. It has been a pretty busy time. The government has invested over $300 million in space activities broadly since 2018 and, following the recent budget, the commitment since 2018 to the Space Agency and its activities is in the order of $73.2 million. That includes a new program called the Space Infrastructure Fund, of $19.5 million, designed to accelerate the growth of industry through targeted infrastructure investments.

Over the 10-month period, we've done the governance arrangements, which means that we have our charter up and running. In December, the government announced that the agency was to be located in Adelaide. Other activities we've undertaken include supporting amendments to legislation. One of the interesting statistics we've had is that the reach of the agency, the accumulative reach of audiences, is in excess of 73 million people. Some science agencies in Australia might aim for around five in a year, and in 10 months we've hit 73 million. It would be nice to say that every Australian has read that about us three times. The cumulative reach doesn't quite work that way, but it does show that there's an appetite in Australia for space. We've also worked with all states and territories to understand investment opportunities. We've worked with industry and we've worked with international counterparts. It all comes back to our purpose, which is to grow and transform a globally respected space industry.

Also this week there's been the announcement of a 10-year strategy for the Australian space sector. It outlines a path to grow Australia's space industry to become a greater part of the $350 billion global market. The way that that will be achieved is by focusing on an international dimension. A premise of the agency is to open doors internationally, and I can say that we've done that. We've signed four MOUs with the likes of the Canadian Space Agency, the UK space agency, the French space agency and, most recently, the UAE.

Importantly, the agency's role is around growing and transforming the industry. We have a target of growing and creating up to another 20,000 jobs by 2030 and tripling the size of the space sector, which is currently $3.9 billion. We have a goal by 2030 to get it to $12 billion. As part of that, we've been working with industry and we've been signing statements of intent which outline where industry and partners can see investments in Australia. They are with companies such as Airbus, Lockheed and, interestingly, a non-traditional space sector, Woodside Energy. What it's doing is using robotics that are in space but using them in the mining sector. The opportunity in front of us is to actually use mining technology robotics, automation, in space. Those are some of the achievements with our strategy that has been announced by the government.

The other pillars include the international pillar and the national pillar, which is about working across the nation. Importantly we're a regulator as well, so we need to ensure that our space activities are safe and we're globally responsible. The last part is that we need to inspire the nation. The way that we'll do that and achieve that broader goal of tripling the size of the economy is by focusing on seven priority areas in the Australian economy. That is around areas such as communication technologies, how we communicate from the ground to space and back down and how we use earth observations or images from satellites. I talked about robotics, and that's a very important part. There are a couple of others, but the last one I'll mention that's outlined in the strategy is called access to space. One thing that we have seen with the announcement of the agency is that the sector is looking at opportunities for small launch, and we're looking at the regulatory components of that.

I would say that it's been a pretty busy 10 months, but I think we've got the momentum of the sector behind us. I think that our strategy that the government has announced sets a strong path forward over 10 years, and, with the new Space Infrastructure Fund, we've got the foundation to accelerate the growth of the industry.

Senator PATRICK: Thank you. That's a pretty good, informative summary. What exactly will the budget for the targeted infrastructure cover? Is that just government assets?

Mr Murfett : For the infrastructure, one of the things that was identified when we spoke to companies and other states and territories was that, compared to some other countries, there wasn't particular infrastructure that was available. So one of the projects that we've announced is a mission control—$6 million—in Adelaide. The mission control allows companies to focus on building small satellites or nanosatellites. I think in a previous hearing I've described that nanosatellites can be 10 centimetres by 10 centimetres by 10 centimetres, so quite small. The gap that can be filled is providing the ability to control and receive data from those satellites and ensure they're operating as they fly overhead. So the mission control that was announced is very much part of providing a capability industry so they can focus on doing the design of satellites, the looking at new sensors that can help farmers, and they can go to a facility that means that, once they're launched, they can actually control those satellites.

Senator PATRICK: That's going to be at lot 14, is it?

Mr Murfett : That's correct.

Senator PATRICK: How long until the lot 14 site—bear in mind that you've got to be very truthful here because it's about 150 metres from my office!—is going to be ready to receive your headquarters and then commence the mission control?

Mr Murfett : We were factoring on moving in by mid-2019 but we have recently received a letter that said that, because of the construction, it will just take time. It's a beautiful site, the Royal Adelaide Hospital, but it does take time to do the construction and build the facilities. I think that may push out a little bit later on this year, but that hasn't stopped the momentum of us operating from Adelaide.

Senator PATRICK: I'm sure that letter would have indicated a time frame, being in the commercial world.

Mr Murfett : That's right. I think we've been told that the end of October is what we're now aiming towards.

Senator PATRICK: It's at that point you move into lot 14. My understanding is you've got three FTE down in Adelaide now. Is that correct?

Mr Murfett : Three people. We've got the head, a support staff and a part-time officer. As Dr Clark outlined in Melbourne, she works out of the Adelaide office, and she commenced those operations on announcement that the agency would be in Adelaide. We have a staff member located in Adelaide and another part-time officer. So there are those three.

Senator PATRICK: Where are they operating out of at the moment?

Mr Murfett : They're in the AusIndustry facilities on Franklin Street. We've got a sign out as you come out of the foyer. We operate out of there, because I think one thing we're very keen to do is have that presence in Adelaide and leverage on the facilities and opportunities that are there.

Senator PATRICK: So in October, perhaps November, we will see that office shipped out across in lot 14?

Mr Murfett : Based on the advice we have at this point in time, that time frame is now October but we are doing all we can to sort of keep the momentum going, so we are working closely with the South Australian government. We have agreed what the floor structure looks like and that takes a fair bit of time because of the IT arrangements, making sure the walls are the right thickness so we can have IT facilities in place. It takes time to do the design. We have been working closely with the South Australian government. Now the other part of the story is we also have the mission control facilities which we need it factor in as well.

Senator PATRICK: I was going to ask you about that.

Mr Murfett : I reported earlier in the hearing that there is—

Senator PATRICK: Is that going to be on another floor? You have laid out plans already for the agency, and I presume there is another floor that you are now going to occupy and a completely different arrangement? I was going to ask you about the tender process. Are you going to go to tender? Who are the likely candidates? I have no idea in that domain who plays in that space.

Mr Murfett : The mission control centre does change how we think about where we are, and not only the mission control but also the space discovery centre. There needs to be a close connection between the mission control and space discovery centre because we got the mission control to allow businesses to control their space assets but we need to connect with the kids and communities to show space is real to Australians and we want to have that backing on so they can look in and go, 'Wow, space is real in Australia,' so you can touch and feel what space is.

Turning to where it is, we had agreed where the agency will be, which is in one of the buildings. Now we have the mission control, we need to sort of think about where the best place is for that. We don't have an answer. We are thinking about what is the best way to engage and where is the place? So the consideration could be from: do we put interim facilities in so we can quickly connect and then move it once a new facility happens? We need to have those discussions with the South Australian government, understand the buildings that are around and, as they pull together that innovation precinct, work out how do we make the space agency a landmark presentation in that facility?

Senator PATRICK: So a realistic time frame getting to the point where you have to plan for the mission control centre, and then a target—because I know you like targets in the space industry—

Mr Murfett : I think that's defence, not civil.

Senator PATRICK: When are you likely to launch mission control?

Mr Murfett : Being honest, I think it is hard to give a time frame because we have to wait for the availability of the building.

Senator PATRICK: I know it is early in the piece. Are we talking 10 years, five years, two years?

Mr Murfett : Much sooner. We have a funding profile at the moment that says that we will do some activities within 2019-20 but the first part of that is understanding the requirements. As you mentioned, we have to work out what the businesses need, design the program for grants and go out and approach the market.

Senator PATRICK: Do you mean a grant or a tender?

Mr Murfett : We have to work through those details about how we are going to do the requirements and whether it is probably likely to be a grant, because we want to leverage funding as well, not just from the Commonwealth's investment the South Australian government is putting in but we have to leverage from industry because it goes to the mandate of being a sustainable industry.

Senator PATRICK: If I looked up in the Yellow Pages—not that we have those anymore—or if I looked online for who builds mission control systems, would I find five companies or one company or is it something that NASA would—

Mr Murfett : I think I have a lot of new friends since we announced the mission control centre. There are several companies nationally and internationally that do these types of facilities. So, again, that is why we need to step back, look at the requirements, what do we need—

Senator PATRICK: I'm presuming the start will be the Commonwealth procurement which would say 'open tender' as a first?

Mr Murfett : The reason I'm not saying 'tender' is because our concept was around a grant because we are trying to leverage funding.

Senator PATRICK: But you are going to have to have a prime integrator and that won't be a hotchpotch of industry; they may have some input into it.

Mr Murfett : The reason we want to do a grant is so we can provide it to a company or a group of companies that can lead that facility with the expertise needed for our industry.

Senator PATRICK: I will be very interested as you move forward on that. Those MOUs that are in place—are they public documents?

Mr Murfett : They are, and they should be on the website now. What we are endeavouring to do is to make sure, as we sign those MOUs and our statements of strategic intent—I will take that on notice to make sure they are there, but I know most of them are there.

Senator PATRICK: Yes—even if you put a link in the answer to the question on notice.

Mr Murfett : Yes, we'll just do that.

Senator PATRICK: Finally, when are you likely to be in a position where we're seeding money, perhaps, to assist industries? The big guys you mentioned before, Lockheed Martin and Airbus, have got their own money and research organisations and so forth. Some of the smaller companies that are doing some of the nanotechnology—you were referring to those small satellite systems—may require a bit of a kick-along from government, the sort of fifty-fifty stuff you do with grants and things like that. When in your forward planning do you expect to see that sort of activity being conducted?

Mr Murfett : As I said, I think there are three parts to the story. Last year, in last year's budget, the government announced the international space initiative. That's due to come on line later this year, so it starts in the funding cycle 2019-20. What we're doing at the moment is, following our consultations across the nation, identifying what the gaps in the space sector are that allow them to connect internationally, and that program is designed to get businesses to engage internationally. We've got to now work out how we design that program so we can maximise the benefit of the program. That program will start later this year.

The second part is that we already have a range of programs across the broader portfolio. The space companies cover areas such as advanced manufacturing and others. We have things like the Entrepreneurs' Program and other programs like the CDIC, which is the Centre for Defence Industry Capability—

Senator PATRICK: But they are not Space Agency programs.

Mr Murfett : They're not Space Agency, but they are two different programs that the advanced-manufacturing-type space companies can engage, if they're eligible through those rules for those particular programs, and then, in the CDIC context, if there's a defence element to their work. We see a close synergy between the two. There's an opportunity to leverage activities through that program. They're just some examples of programs that exist to help. And then of course we work closely with Austrade to facilitate where government doesn't need to fund. As we build a sustainable industry, sometimes the best connection is the partner facilitator. By doing the connections, we allow the companies to grow.

The third part of the story links back to the strategy that was released this week. One of the things that are flagged in the strategy is doing some road mapping for the priority areas that I mentioned—things like robotics. What does that mean for Australia? What do we do around future leapfrog technology? What the agency now need to do is work with state governments, businesses and international communities; understand the missions that are underway and the capabilities we have; and then detail where we think the pathway to grow those priority areas is. Once we undertake that analysis, that will identify whether that's something that industry can do or there's a case to come back to government.

Senator PATRICK: In terms of the time frame of that, what I'm trying to do is get into the public domain some understanding by industry as to when that sort of activity might commence so they can get on and do their business and plan for assistance at a particular point in time. Roughly when will that third element kick in?

Mr Murfett : I think the way to answer that question is that businesses can start now. There's a 10-year strategy that says: 'This is the way that we can grow. Here's a role of industry.' There are those other programs. For example, if they need facilitation support to develop their business and they're in advanced manufacturing, they can do that. The road mapping, on a rough estimation—this is not a firm time, because we've got to work through the planning processes—

Senator PATRICK: I understand that.

Mr Murfett : is going to take us around a year—because that's detailed analysis about what the programs are, what our capabilities are and what the gaps in the market are—to do properly so we can really grow and accelerate.

Senator PATRICK: So realistically it's a couple of years by the time you get the rubber on the road on that?

Mr Murfett : If we look at our strategy, it's a ramp up. The strategy has a tiered approach over a 10-year period. I think the outcomes of the road mappings will be decisions for the government at that particular time. I think the important point for businesses looking to engage in space is that they should come and talk to the agency now and understand what we're doing because we might be able to facilitate or connect to existing programs. If not, we can understand their capabilities, which will feed into the road mapping that will actually inform future decisions. We have a team that undertakes that so we can really understand the market. We have to hit that growth. But I would say to businesses looking to be engaged in space: 'Engage with the agency, because we're on a path and, with 10 months behind us with some good frameworks, I think we're on a good trajectory.'

Senator PATRICK: Thank you. That was very informative.

Senator KETTER: I understand that you've met with the Queensland government in relatively recent times to look at how that state can engage in the space industry?

Mr Murfett : That's correct.

Senator KETTER: Can you tell us the outcome of that? Where's that going?

Mr Murfett : Dr Megan Clark and I have engagement across all jurisdictions to understand investment opportunities. In the context of Queensland, their parliament has recently undertaken an inquiry on the opportunities in space. That report looked at a couple of opportunities for Queensland specifically. That included activities such as the development of satellite parks, which is where you can bring ground stations together and create an agglomeration to support the growth of the ground segment that communicates with space assets. They talked about opportunities to better link with Defence, because there are synergies between civil space and Defence activities. They talked about opportunities around launch capability. The Queensland government now need to consider that report and prepare a response. We're looking forward to working closely with the Queensland government on those opportunities.

With other states and territories we are undertaking memorandums of understanding so that we can work with those jurisdictions on clear opportunities that align with the broader vision to grow and transform our space sector.

Senator KETTER: I understand Gilmour Space Technologies has done a study that suggests that the Queensland coast is the best place in Australia for a launch facility. What do you say to that?

Mr Murfett : I'd need to see the report. What I would say about many of the companies that are out there that are looking at launch is that we're seeing growing appetite. Those companies are now really tasked with working out whether it's a commercial opportunity and what would be the right flight paths. They will also need to look through environmental requirements to undertake launch. Our role in that would be the regulatory part of ensuring that the operations are safe. I think the company in question there will need to consider a range of factors as to what those opportunities could look like in a commercial sense.

Senator KETTER: Are they engaging with your agency? I understand Black Sky is another one that is based in Queensland.

Mr Murfett : Yes. Gilmour and Black Sky have engaged closely with us, so we're aware of their operations. They're aware of the regulatory obligations and also the growth of the industry, so they engage closely with us to understand what those requirements are. When it comes to things like the opportunities around launch and where's the appropriate site, our view is that the companies need to determine the right trajectories for the type of orbit they need to achieve and then what the requirements are—for example, local government and environment—to achieve those outcomes.

Senator KETTER: Are these companies at the forefront of launch activities in Australia?

Mr Murfett : For example, Gilmour—and I haven't got the exact figure—have recently attracted around $19 million in venture capital. When venture capital is putting that sort of money on the table it signifies that it is something investors are willing to invest in. I think that shows a lot of promise. I think they are working on unique hybrid rocket technology. They are doing well, particularly in attracting venture capital. There are a range of other companies that are looking at different things. In Australia we absolutely have some great companies. If they are able to attract venture capital, I think that is a good signal.

CHAIR: Senator Patrick, do you have any more questions?

Senator PATRICK: Not for the Space Agency.

CHAIR: We might let the Space Agency go home. Thank you very much, Mr Murfett. You have been very patient. Senator Patrick, who would you like to hear from?

Senator PATRICK: Automotive. I want to go through the capital program, the $47 million fund. From memory, that was done in two rounds.

Dr Richards : Yes.

Senator PATRICK: In terms of the first round, have any of the entities completed the grant cycle—concluded the investment, commissioned?

Ms Ryan : Contracts have all been executed with round 1. I don't believe any are completed. They are still ongoing with their contracts. That's my understanding.

Dr Richards : Many of the projects that came forward were early in their design phase. They were often having six to nine months of design before they started to—

Senator PATRICK: In no way am I criticising anything, I'm just trying to understand their status.

Dr Richards : They are long-run projects. Two to three years was quite typical for that run to implementation.

Ms Ryan : We do have an example of one project that we could tell you about, which is flat glass around one recipient. They upskilled 75 employees to operate and support new advanced manufacturing equipment. That was the first project completed.

Senator PATRICK: Where is that located?

Ms Ryan : I would have to take that on notice.

Senator PATRICK: I wouldn't mind following up with some of these entities. That's part of my question. I know that in the discussions related to this grant arrangement the former Senator Xenophon, with me as an adviser discussing with the department, talked about metrics to be able to work out, when these grants are made, what the return has been—so looking at the success. The critical reason for that, and the reason I might persist in asking for that as we move forward, is that it creates a basis for either doing something similar again or, alternatively, abandoning that sort of approach. Can you assure me that you are keeping these metrics?

Ms Ryan : We have made an estimate that over the two rounds of the program, with the 32 projects, there will be around $129 million worth of induced investment.

Senator PATRICK: And how will you track that?

Dr Richards : The projects will all be subject to formal evaluation.

Senator PATRICK: In the case of this first concluded activity, have we looked at what they suggested in their grant would be achieved and what has actually been achieved?

Ms Ryan : Yes. Throughout the grant process, they are subject to various milestones along the way, and they have achieved all of those milestones.

Senator PATRICK: It is not about milestones in terms of hitting particular dates with particular outcomes. All of these grants would say something like, 'We intend to invest this amount of money and we will think it will create this many FTEs.' Do you check at the conclusion and say, 'How much money did you invest in family full-time employees resulted from it?'

Ms Ryan : That will be part of the evaluation of the program.

Senator PATRICK: So you haven't done that for the first one that has concluded?

Ms Ryan : Not yet.

Senator PATRICK: What about the smaller program for the research projects?

Ms Ryan : I think you're referring to the two final elements. There is the $5 million Automotive Engineering Graduate Program—

Senator PATRICK: No, it's not that one. There was a $47 million capital program, and then there was a smaller one. I think it was $20 million. I'm running blind because—

Dr Richards : The $20 million would have been to the CRC program, and it would be evaluated within the framework of the CRC program.

Senator PATRICK: How many of those programs have been funded, in terms of value?

Ms Ryan : I believe there were 15 successful CRC projects.

Senator PATRICK: Are they listed anywhere?

Dr Richards : They would have been announced as part of the normal grants arrangements. I think that was in December 2017.

Senator PATRICK: Is it possible to provide that list on notice?

Ms Ryan : Yes.

Senator PATRICK: That would be appreciated. The scholarships?

Ms Ryan : That was the one I just mentioned.

Senator PATRICK: I'm just going in the order that I remember they were originally listed.

Ms Ryan : That was the $5 million Automotive Engineering Graduate Program. That one is going through the final stages of the granting process.

Senator PATRICK: How many universities have been involved in that? Have any in South Australia been involved in that?

Ms Ryan : I would have to take on notice the location of the universities. But the applications have been assessed, and 10 projects were recommended for funding to the program delegate. The program delegate agreed to those projects, and those successful applicants will be contacted shortly.

Senator PATRICK: And shortly means?

Ms Ryan : Very soon—within days.

Senator PATRICK: The reason I'm asking is that I want you to provide, on notice, a list of the successful applicants, noting it will take some time for that answer to come back.

Ms Ryan : We can do that.

Senator PATRICK: That would be helpful. There was the tax concession, which really doesn't make much sense to answer—the import tariff reduction. That's just underway. What's the status with the innovation labs?

Ms Ryan : They have a similar status in that assessments were made, a committee recommended the successful grantees to the delegate and the delegate accepted those recommendations. Those applicants will be advised shortly—within days.

Senator PATRICK: My understanding is that there's a Victorian-based innovation lab and that there will be a South Australian-based innovation lab.

Dr Richards : The grant we just referred to with the $7 million element was the access grant. That's companies bringing new design prototyping ideas to facilities, including the ones that were—

Senator PATRICK: I remember it had two parts—

Dr Richards : There was a seven and a three split. $7 million was for the access grants. They will be announced in the time frame that Ms Ryan said. The $3 million—

Senator PATRICK: Isn't there a show on tomorrow in Melbourne? I know there's a show on in Melbourne because I've been invited to it. The MTAA has an automotive show on in Melbourne. Is anyone going to that?

Dr Richards : Maybe our Melbourne office.

Senator PATRICK: Referring to the $3 million, the innovation lab in Victoria and South Australia—what's the status of that?

Ms Ryan : The Victorian lab will be operational by mid-2019. That one's underway.

Senator PATRICK: Being a South Australian senator, the next question is more important: when will the South Australian one be opening its doors?

Ms Ryan : The South Australian shopfront to access the Victorian lab will be operational by 30 September this year, and the South Australian lab will be operational by mid-2020.

Senator PATRICK: Thank you very much.

CHAIR: Thank you very much to the advanced manufacturing group. We've got one last group?

Senator PATRICK: The last group is radioactive waste. This might be very short.

Senator Canavan: There's not much to report.

Senator PATRICK: That's why I think it might be short. In fact, Minister, if you were to simply say to me, 'Senator, there will be nothing that takes place between now and the election'—

Senator Canavan: Senator, there will be nothing that takes place between now and the election. That's exactly right. Would you like to ask a specific question?

Senator PATRICK: That's generally where I wanted to get to. There was a marker, I think a week or so ago, about the Human Rights Commission application by the Adnyamathanha people.

Senator Canavan: We're aware of that. I'm not sure exactly what you mean by marker.

Senator PATRICK: There was going to be a decision.

Senator Canavan: I think I know what you mean.

Ms Chard : The Australian Human Rights Commission had deferred the conciliation process to 31 March and intended to review the timing of the conciliation process, pending the outcome from the BDAC v Kimba council legal case. They have not advised us of a revised time frame, but we understand that their intention is to defer any conciliation hearings until after the outcome of the BDAC v Kimba council case.

Senator PATRICK: That makes a lot of sense. I was in Kimba a week ago, and a comment was made that the contact points the community were used to have now changed significantly. Can you give some detail around that.

Ms Chard : Like any government department, we have staff turnover. There have been some changes. There are still some of the team. There's a level of continuity, but I accept that there has been some staff turnover.

Senator PATRICK: Can you give me some idea of the level of continuity and the level of change in percentage terms. I'm happy for you to take that on notice.

Ms Chard : Sure, I'll take that on notice.

Senator PATRICK: The size of the team that has been interacting with the communities both in Hawker and in Kimber, what the stable percentage is and what the changed percentage is.

Ms Chard : Certainly.

Senator PATRICK: That's appreciated. I think that's it, noting the minister's answer.

Senator Canavan: We're still waiting on the court case but, even if it were to come down on Monday, we don't have time to do anything before the election.

Senator PATRICK: The AEC will be doing something else, I imagine.

Senator Canavan: Yes, they might be otherwise engaged.

CHAIR: We will officially now let program 2 and in fact the entire department go—no, we'll move to resources and the Northern Australia development. Senator Patrick, you are the only senator with questions.

Senator PATRICK: I think those questions—

Senator Canavan: Rad waste was resources.

CHAIR: So we're done?

Senator PATRICK: I think so.

CHAIR: There being no further questions at this time, the committee's consideration of the 2019-20 budget estimates will resume on Wednesday 10 April with further examination of the Treasury portfolio. I thank Minister Cormann, Minister Seselja and Minister Canavan, as well as officers from Treasury and the industry department who have given evidence to the committee today.

Committee adjourned at 21 : 18