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Consideration resumed from 18 February 2008.

Senators in attendance:

Senator the Hon Nick Sherry, Minister for Superannuation and Corporate Law, representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Dr Conall O’Connell, Secretary

Mr Daryl Quinlivan, Deputy Secretary

Dr Cliff Samson, Deputy Secretary

Mr Stephen Hunter, Deputy Secretary

Mr Bill Pahl, Chief Operating Officer

Mr John Bridge, Chief Finance Officer

Mr Greg Haughey, Manager, Budget Management

Mr David Williamson, Acting Executive Manager, Corporate Policy

Ms Nicola Hinder, General Manager, Parliamentary and Media Branch

Ms Leanne Herrick, Acting General Manager, Governance and Planning Branch

Mr Travis Power, Acting General Manager, Policy Development Branch

Ms Elizabeth Bie, Acting General Manager, Ministerial Liaison

Mr Tom Aldred, Executive Manager Product Integrity, Animal and Plant Health

Dr Andy Carroll, Chief Veterinary Officer, Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer

Dr Bob Biddle, General Manager, Animal and Plant Health Policy

Ms Sally Standen, General Manager, Animal Welfare

Mr Bill Magee, General Manager, Product Integrity and Safety

Dr Eva Bennett-Jenkins, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority

Mr Greg Read, Executive Manager, AQIS Exports

Mr Mark Schipp, General Manager, Animal Products Market Access Branch

Dr Narelle Clegg, National Manager, Animal and Plant Exports and Imported Food Safety Branch

Mr Colin Hunter, Acting National Manager, Food Exports Branch

Ms Jenni Gordon, Executive Manager, Quarantine Division

Mr Peter Liehne, National Manager, Animal and Plant Quarantine Branch

Ms Helen Gannon, Acting National Manager, Border Branch

Mr Robert Langlands, Acting National Manager, Cargo Management and Shipping Branch

Ms Jenet Connell, Executive Manager, Business Strategy and Corporate Support

Mr Steve Prothero, General Manager, Information Services

Ms Cathy Cox, General Manager, Business Strategy

Mr Peter Moore, Chief Financial Officer

Mr Wayne Terpstra, National Manager, Information Services

Mr John Cahill, Chief Executive

Dr Ann McDonald, General Manager, Biosecurity Development and Communications

Ms Louise van Meurs, General Manager, Plant Biosecurity

Dr Bill Roberts, Principal Scientist, Plant Biosecurity

Dr Robyn Martin, General Manager, Animal Biosecurity

Dr Mike Nunn, Principal Scientist, Animal Biosecurity

Mr Craig Burns, Executive Manager

Mr Paul Morris, Executive Manager, Technical Market Access

Ms Frances Freeman, General Manager, Multilateral Trade Branch

Mr Bruce Bowen, General Manager, Bilateral Trade Branch (Americas, South East Asia,     Subcontinent, NZ and the Pacific)

Mr Simon Smalley, General Manager, Bilateral Trade Branch (North Asia, Europe and Middle East),

Ms Fiona McKergow, Acting General Manager, Multilateral Trade Branch

David Mortimer, Executive Manager, Food and Ag Division

Richard Souness, General Manager, Food Policy and Safety Branch

Mike Ryan, Acting General Manager, Horticulture and Wine Branch

Russell Phillips, General Manager, Wheat Sugar and Crops Branch

Simon Murnane, General Manager, Meat Wool and Dairy Branch

Peter Woods, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Export Wheat Commission

John Watson, Chair, Export Wheat Commission

Keith Perrett, Chair, Grains Research and Development Corporation

Peter Reading, Grains Research and Development Corporation

Geoff Budd, General Counsel, Grains Research and Development Corporation

Danielle White, Finance Manager, Grains Research and Development Corporation

David Palmer, Managing Director, Meat and Livestock Australia

Scott Hansen, General Manager, Corporate Communications and Livestock Exports, Meat and Livestock Australia

Laurie Robinson, General Manager Corporate Services, Meat and Livestock Australia

Mr Phillip Glyde, Executive Director

Ms Karen Schneider, Deputy Executive Director

Dr Don Gunasekera, Chief Economist

Dr Terry Sheales, General Manager, Agriculture/Chief Commodity Analyst

Dr Colin Grant, Executive Director, Bureau of Rural Sciences

Dr Kim Ritman, General Manager, Social, Biosecurity and Information Sciences Branch

Dr James Findlay, General Manager, Fisheries, Land and Forestry Sciences Branch

Peter Ottesen, General Manager, Climate and Rural Water Sciences Branch

Mark McGovern, Manager, Business Strategy and Operations

Mr Ian Thompson, Executive Manager, Rural Policy and Innovation Division

Mr Ross Dalton, General Manager, Industry Leadership and Development

Dr Melanie O’Flynn, General Manager, Research and Innovation

Ms Jenny Cupit, General  Manager, Drought and Exceptional Circumstances

Mr Rod Shaw, Acting Executive Manager, Natural Resource Management Division

Mr Mark Gibbs, General Manager, Climate Change

Mr Gerry Smith, General Manager, Australian Government Natural Resource Management Team

Mr John Talbot, General Manager, Australian Government Natural Resource Management Team

Mr Martin Walsh, Acting General Manager, Landcare and Sustainable Production

Dr Michael Robinson, Executive Director, Land and Water Australia

Mr Allen Grant, Executive Manager, Fisheries and Forestry Division

Dr John Kalish, General Manager, International Fisheries and Aquaculture

Mr Tony Bartlett, General Manager, Forest Industries

Mr Robert Murphy, General Manager, Fisheries and Marine Environment 

Mr Glenn Hurry, Managing Director, Australian Fisheries Management Authority

Ms Kerry Smith, Acting General Manager, Compliance, Australian Fisheries Management Authority

Dr Nick Rayns, Executive Manager, Fisheries, Australian Fisheries Management Authority

Mr Peter Venslovas, Senior Manager, Northern Compliance, Australian Fisheries Management Authority

Mr David Perrott, Chief Financial Officer, Australian Fisheries Management Authority

Mr Nigel Catchlove, Acting Senior Manager, Communications, Australian Fisheries Management Authority

CHAIR —The committee will continue its consideration of the 2007-08 additional estimates for the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. As agreed, I propose to call on the estimates according to the format adopted in the printed program. I remind the department that the committee is due to report to the Senate on 18 March 2008 and has fixed Wednesday, 9 April 2008 as the date for the return of answers to questions taken on notice.

We will take a break for tea at 9 pm. Under standing order 26, the committee must take all evidence in public session. The Senate, by resolution in 1999, endorsed the following test of relevance of questions at estimates hearings: any questions going to the operations or financial positions of the departments and agencies which are seeking funds in the estimates are relevant questions for the purpose of estimates hearings. The Senate has resolved also that an officer of a department of the Commonwealth or of a state shall not be asked to give opinions on matters of policy and shall be given reasonable opportunity to refer questions asked of the officer to superior officers or to a minister. This resolution prohibits only questions asking for opinions on matters of policy and does not preclude questions asking for explanations of policies or factual questions about when and how policies were adopted. If a witness objects to answering a question, the witness should state the grounds upon which the objection is taken and the committee will determine whether it will insist on an answer having regard to the ground on which it is claimed. Any claim that it would be contrary to the public interest to answer a question must be made by the minister and should be accompanied by a statement setting out the basis for the claim.

I remind all witnesses that, in giving evidence to the committee, they are protected by parliamentary privilege. It is unlawful for anyone to threaten or disadvantage a witness on account of evidence given to a committee and such action may be treated by the Senate as a contempt. It is also a contempt to give false or misleading evidence to a committee. When called to answer a question for the first time, please state your full name and the capacity in which you appear.