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Economics Legislation Committee
Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

Department of Industry, Innovation and Science


Senator PATRICK: Ms Manen, as you would recall, last estimates I asked questions about the Seafood Origin Information Working Group, which was established in November 2016. You advised that the group had met in 2017, and, from memory, there was a report and the government was going to respond to that report.

Ms Manen : Yes, the government made a commitment to provide a report in relation to the work of the seafood working group.

Senator PATRICK: Last time we met you said that there would be a meeting taking place in November.

Ms Manen : Yes, that's right. Last time we met I mentioned that there were two subsequent processes underway—one that was run by Minister Littleproud in relation to fast food. He hosted fast-food forums. One occurred in May and one occurred in November last year. The meeting in November in particular was very positive. Representatives from the fast-food sector that attended that meeting indicated their support for making origin information available to their consumers, and they agreed that they would continue to explore ways that they could make that information available for products on their menus. I also mentioned when we last met, Senator Patrick, that the food ministers had asked for advice from the Consumer Affairs Forum. The Consumer Affairs Forum met in October of last year, but we are still waiting advice from CAF on the outcomes of its consideration.

Senator PATRICK: Okay. In November, Minister Andrews wrote to a constituent of mine advising that a paper on the working group had been uploaded on the department's website. My understanding is that there's no final report at this stage.

Ms Manen : That's right.

Senator PATRICK: The minister basically stated that the papers that were uploaded onto the website were the views of the working group.

Ms Manen : That's right.

Senator PATRICK: But it's been put to me that they're not the views of the working group but the views of the department and that the views of the working group are not expressed on the website.

Ms Manen : My understanding is that those papers, whilst written by the department, expressed the views of the general working group.

Senator PATRICK: Have those papers been presented to the working group, and has the working group signed off on them?

Ms Manen : I would need to take that on notice.

Senator PATRICK: That's inherent in what you have just told me—that they are representative.

Ms Manen : Certainly my understanding is that it's representative of the views of the working group that were obtained during the consultation process that was undertaken in 2017. I would need to take on notice the process by which they were put up.

Senator PATRICK: A normal process would be that a working group would meet. The department may well form some notes or some papers that would purport to reflect the views of the group. One would imagine those papers would be sent back to the group and would be endorsed by the group before they would be put up on a website proclaiming they are the views of the group.

Ms Manen : I understand your point. I will need to take on notice the process that occurred. I wasn't involved in that process, so I'd need to take it on notice.

Senator PATRICK: Is there anyone else around here that might have been involved in that process?

Mr Power : I don't think so, so we might have to take that on notice.

Senator PATRICK: All right. Thank you.

CHAIR: Thank you very much to the department. We're going to move on immediately to the Anti-Dumping Commission now.

Dr Smith : Chair, can I check that the officers for programs 1, 2 and 3, apart from those attached to the science agencies, can be dismissed.