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Notice given 13 October 2010

*163  Senator Milne: To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—

(1) Have evaluations of the Tasmanian Forestry Industry Development Program, the Tasmanian Softwood Industry Development Program and the Tasmanian Country Sawmills Assistance Program, auspiced under the Tasmanian Community Forest Agreement (TCFA) and foreshadowed by the department in response to a question taken on notice (CC 16) during the 2009 supplementary budget estimates hearing of the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee, been completed; if so: was the success criteria listed in Table 2.1 (p. 44) of the Australian National Audit Office report no. 26 of 2007-08, Tasmanian Forest Industry Development and Assistance Programs: Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (the report), used for the evaluations.

(2) What performance indicators were used to assess whether these success criteria were achieved, both by individual grantees and each program as a whole.

(3) (a) If the success criteria referenced in (1) were not used, why not; and (b) what criteria were used to assess the success of the three programs.

(4) Regardless of the criteria used, can the full outcomes for each program identified by the evaluation be provided.

(5) Did the program evaluations use the available data sources to measure program effectiveness as listed in Appendix 2 of the report.

(6) If the data sources referenced in (5) were used in the program evaluations, what outcomes do these data sources demonstrate in relation to the success of each program in achieving: (a) continuing development of a sustainable, efficient and value adding forest and forest products industry; and (b) assistance to the forest industry to adjust to changes in the wood resource mix arising from the TCFA.

(7) In relation to each grantee assessed as part of program evaluations, what outcomes do these data sources demonstrate in terms of: (a) the increased efficiency of the grantee’s operations; (b) the increase in value adding to production of the grantee’s operations; and (c) the adjustment made to changes in the resource mix arising from the TCFA of the grantee’s operations.

(8) If the review by the department and Tasmanian officials of the three programs has not used the ‘available data sources to measure program effectiveness’ as listed in Appendix 2 of the report; why not.

 

 (9) For each of the three programs, how many: (a) businesses were assisted; (b) jobs were maintained; and (c) jobs were created, and subsequently maintained.

(10) For each of the three programs: (a) what was the total value of the grant assistance provided; and (b) what was the monetary value of new investment in forestry industries leveraged by the grant assistance provided.

(11) For each business or organisation assisted in each program, how many jobs were maintained, and created and maintained, as a result of the grant assistance provided by the relevant program.

(12) If the review by the department and Tasmanian officials of the three programs has not yet been completed, when will it be completed and made publicly available.

*164  Senator Milne: To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to the first three recommendations made on pp 29-30 in the Australian National Audit Office report no. 26 of 2007-08, Tasmanian Forest Industry Development and Assistance Programs: Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (the report), which were agreed to by the department:

(1) What strategies have been put in place by the department to implement these recommendations since the tabling of the report on 28 February 2008 and the completion of the three Tasmanian forest industry development and assistance programs on 30 June 2009.

(2) Did the implemented strategies result in more stringent administrative procedures for the three programs; if so, how was this measured.

(3) Did the department use the current standard funding Deed of Agreement, as recommended by the report for grants under these three programs between 28 February 2008 and 30 June 2009; if not, why not.

(4) Upon accepting the recommendations of the report, did the department prior to the completion of the grants program in June 2009, change the method of payment to grantees and develop and implement operational guidelines for the payment of claims, compliance reporting and acquittal of grants; if not, why not.

(5) In accordance with the report recommendation regarding ongoing performance evaluation for the three programs: (a) what ongoing performance data was collected and how was it validated; and (b) has the data been analysed; if so, what conclusions were drawn regarding the efficiency and effectiveness of the three programs and specifically, what evidence did the performance data provide to show that the three programs increased employment in the Tasmanian forestry industry, and in the businesses of grantees.

(6) Did the relevant Deed of Agreement for grants disbursed under each of the three programs include requirements for the repayment or reclaiming of grant moneys in the event of a grantee entering into liquidation, receivership or administration; if so:

(a) what were these requirements;

(b) did the department identify grantees under any of the three programs that ceased operation due to entering into liquidation, administration or receivership since receiving a grant; if so, how many grantees were identified under each program;

 

 (c) if the requirements included repayment of all or part of grant moneys received, how much money has been recovered, and from which grantees;

(d) for how long after the termination of the programs did the Deed of Agreement requirements on repayment relating to a grantee in financial administration, liquidation or receivership remain in effect; and

(e) if the relevant Deed of Agreement does not require the repayment of part or all of grant moneys received in the event of a grantee entering liquidation, receivership or administration, why was such a condition not included.

(7) Did the relevant Deed of Agreement for grants disbursed under each of the three programs include requirements for the repayment or reclaiming of grant moneys in the event of a grantee’s business being taken over by other business; if so:

(a) what were these requirements:

(b) did the department identify grantees under any of the three programs that had their businesses subsequently taken over by another business;

(c) how many such grantees were identified under each program;

(d) if the requirements included repayment of all or part of grant moneys received, how much money has been recovered, and from which grantees;

(e) for how long after the termination of the programs did the Deed of Agreement requirements on repayment relating to a business being taken over remain in effect; and

(f) if the relevant Deed of Agreement does not require the repayment of part or all of grant moneys received in the event of a grantee being taken over by another business, why was such a condition not included.

*165  Senator Milne: To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to the financial accounting for the following three Tasmanian Forest Industry Development and Assistance Programs (the programs): the Tasmanian Forest Industry Development Program (TFIDP), the Tasmanian Country Sawmills Assistance Program (TCSAP) and the Tasmanian Softwood Industry Development Program (TSIDP), including the following:

• the total value of these three programs when they were introduced was:

TFIDP $42 million

TC SAP $4 million

TSIDP $10 million

TOTAL $56 million

(source: Australian National Audit Office report no. 26 of 2007-08, Tasmanian Forest Industry Development and Assistance Programs (the report), p. 12)

 

 â€¢ in October 2007 all grants under each program were ‘increased by 30 per cent to assist applicants in offsetting the income tax liability’ of their grant so that the value of each program was:

TFIDP $54.6 million

TC SAP $5.2 million

TSIDP $13 million

TOTAL $72.8 million

(source: the report, p. 14)

• in October 2009 a full list of disbursements of funds under the three programs was provided in response to a question taken on notice (CC 10) during the 2009 supplementary budget estimates hearings of the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee, stating that the amounts disbursed in the three programs were:

TFIDP $51,557,904.03

TC SAP $3,696,441.00

TSIDP $13,632,247.10

TOTAL $68,886,592.13

• in October 2009 the funds remaining in the programs were provided in response to question taken on notice (CC 06) during the 2009 budget estimates hearings of the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee, stating that the amounts were:

TFIDP $1,530,296

TC SAP $1,579,701

TSIDP  -$195,284

TOTAL $2,914,713

• finally, if the funds remaining in each program are added to the funds expended, as detailed in the third dot point above, the total funds allocated to the programs are:

Actual allocation†

TFIDP  $54,088,200.03 $54.6 million

TC SAP $5,276,142.00 $5.2 million

TSIDP $13,436,963 .10 $13 million

TOTAL $ 71,801,305.13 $72.8 million

(†source: the report, p. 14)

(1) Why do the disbursements of each program, and of the total in (iii) above, vary from the values of the programs, and of the total in (ii) above.

(2) With regard to the answer to question CC 10 which stated that ‘[i]n most cases, the final disbursements included an additional 30 per cent payment to compensate grantees for tax liabilities incurred in receiving their grants’:

(a) can the meaning of the phrase ‘in most cases’ in this statement be clarified;

(b) in which cases was the additional 30 per cent paid to grantees and in which cases was it not;

(c) what was the basis of the determination for which grantees would receive the additional 30 per cent funding; and

 

 (d) does this variation in the payment of the additional 30 per cent to grantees account for the discrepancy in the figures quoted in (ii) and (iii); if not, what is the reason for the discrepancy.

(3) Why do the figures from the answers to question CC 10 and question CC 06 vary from the actual allocations to the programs.

(4) What happened to approximately $1 million from the total actual allocation of $72.8 million.

(5) Why did the TFIDP not expend its actual funding allocation.

(6) Why did the TCSAP and TSIDP exceed their actual funding allocation.