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Monday, 3 April 2000
Page: 15111


Mr Tanner asked the Minister for Finance and Administration, upon notice, on 8 March 2000:

(1) Which CSIRO properties have been recommended for sale as a result of the recent CSIRO property review.

(2) What is the current estimated book value of each property recommended for sale.

(3) What is the current estimated annual rent level likely to be required for each property recommended for sale.

(4) What is the current estimated annual rent expressed as a percentage of the current estimated book value for each property recommended for sale.

(5) If the property sales go ahead will funds previously marked for research be used to pay property leases and rents; if so, will the Commonwealth adequately compensate the CSIRO budget if any CSIRO property sales do have a negative effect on the CSIRO's overall financial position and available research funds.

(6) What benefits to the Commonwealth will result from the sale of CSIRO.


Mr Fahey (Minister for Finance and Administration) —The answer to the honourable member's questions is as follows:

(1), (2), (3), (4). The CSIRO Property Review Committee has reported to the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources and me. The Government is currently considering this report therefore no properties have been recommended for sale.

(5) The Government continues to value the capacity of CSIRO to contribute to the future wealth of the nation. CSIRO is provided with appropriation funding to undertake its statutory functions. The appropriation funds for the coming three years were announced in last year's Budget.

(6) The sale of CSIRO is not proposed. The Government's policy is to ensure that it makes better use of scarce capital than by engaging in property investment. The sale of Commonwealth property puts the Commonwealth on a firmer financial footing, allowing it to retire debt, invest in programs to enhance productivity, or to provide additional funding for its priorities without the need to raise taxes.