Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Senate Legislative and General Purpose Standing Committees - Consolidated reports on Additional estimates - 2010-2011


Download PDF Download PDF

Australian Senate

Senate Legislation Committees

Reports on Additional estimates 201 0-11

March 2011

Australian Senate

Senate Legislation Committees

Reports on Additional estimates

2010-11

March 2011

© Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia 2011

ISSN 1834-4038

This document was printed by the Printing Unit, Department of the Senate, Parliament House, Canberra.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Resolutions of the Senate relating to estimates ................................................... ... i

Community Affairs Committee

• Additional estimates 2010-11 report, dated March 2011 .................................... 1

Economics Committee

• Additional estimates 2010-11 report, dated March 2011 ....................... .. ......... 49

Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committee

• Additional estimates 2010-11 report, dated March 2011 .................................. 77

Environment and Communications Committee

• Additional estimates 2010-11 report, dated March 2011 .................. .... .......... 107

Finance and Public Administration Committee

• Additional estimates 2010-11 report, dated March 2011 .. .... .. ........................ 141

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee

• Additional estimates 2010-11 report, dated March 2011 .... .... .................... .... 169

Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee

• Additional estimates 2010-11 report, dated March 2011 ................................ 191

Rural Affairs and Transport Committee

• Additional estimates 2010-11 report, dated March 2011 .. .............................. 221

RESOLUTIONS OF THE SENATE RELATING TO ESTIMATES

STANDING ORDERS-AMENDMENT-COMMITTEES-ALLOCATION OF DEPARTMENTS 1

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (Senator Ludwig), pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved government business notice of motion no . 2-(1) That standing order 25(1) be amended as follows: Omit: ' Environment, Communications and the Arts'

Substitute: ' Environment and Communications'. Omit: 'Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport' Substitute: 'Rural Affairs and Transport'. (2) That departments and agencies be allocated to legislative and general purpose standing committees as

follows: Community Affairs Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Health and Ageing

Human Services Economics Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Resources and Energy

Tourism Treasury

Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations, including School Education, Early Childhood and Youth Environment and Communications

Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities Finance and Public Administration

Finance and Deregulation Parliament Prime Minister and Cabinet, including Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

Defence, including Veterans' Affairs Foreign Affairs and Trade Legal and Constitutional Affairs Attorney-General

Immigration and Citizenship Rural Affairs and Transport Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Infrastructure and Transport. Statements by leave: Senators Fifield and Ludwig, by leave, made statements relating to the motion. Question put and passed.

1

Journals of the Senate, no. 2, 29 September 2010

LEGISLATION COMMITTEEs-ESTIMATES HEARINGS 2

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (Senator Ludwig) amended government business notice of motion no. 2 by leave and, pursuant to notice, moved-(1) That estimates hearings by legislation committees for 2011 be scheduled as foll ows: 2010-11 additional estimates:

Monday, 21 February and Tuesday, 22 February (Group A) Wednesday, 23 February and Thursday, 24 February (Group B). 2011-12 Budget estimates: Monday, 23 May to Thursday, 26 May, and, if required, Friday, 27 May (Group A)

Monday, 30 May to Thursday, 2 June, and, if required, Friday, 3 Jun e (Group B) Monday, 17 October and Tuesday, 18 October (supplementary hearings-Group A) Wednesday, 19 October and Thursday, 20 October (supplementary hearings-Group B). (2) That the committees consider the proposed expenditure in accordance with the allocation of

departments and agencies to committees agreed to by the Senate. (3) That committees meet in the following groups: Group A: Environment and Communications

Finance and Public Administration Legal and Constitutional Affairs Rural Affairs and Transport Group 8:

Community Affairs Economics Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. (4) That the committees report to the Senate on the following dates:

(a) Tuesday, 22 March 2011 in respect of the 2010-11 additional estimates; and (b) Tuesday, 21 June 2011 in respect of the 2011-12 Budget estimates. Question put and passed.

2010-11 ADDITIONAL ESTIMATES-ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS3 The dates set by standing committees for answering questions taken on notice during the 20 I 0-11 additional estimates are as follows: Group A:

Environment and Communications Finance and Public Administration Legal and Constitutional Affairs Rural Affairs and Transport Group 8: Community Affairs Economics

Education, Employment and Workplace

Friday, 8 April2011 Friday, 15 April 2011 Friday, 8 April2011 Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Friday, 8 April 2011 Friday, 8 April2011

Relations Friday, 8 April 2011

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Thursday, 21 April2011

Standing order 74(5) takes effect 30 days after these dates.

2

Journals of the Senate, no. 14, 24 November 2010 3

Senate Notice Paper, no. 26, 24 March 2011, dates set by committees in accordance with standing order 26(9) ii

COMMUNITY AFFAIRS-STANDING COMMITTEE-REPORT-2008-09 BUDGET ESTIMATES­ ENDORSEMENT OF RECOMMENDATION 4

Senator O'Brien, at the request of the Chair of the Community Affairs Committee (Senator Moore) and pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved general business notice of motion no. 144--That the Senate endorse the recommendation contained in paragraph 1.10 of the Community Affairs Committee report on the 20,08-09 Budget estimates that:

Future estimates hearing progra'ms include a separate time to conduct an estimates hearing on Indigenous matters that would include all the portfolios with budget expenditure or responsibility for Indigenous issues. Question put and passed.

COMMITTEE-ESTIMATES HEARINGS-\VITNESS5

Senator Fisher, pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved general business notice of motion no. 596--That-(a) when the Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Committee meets to consider additional estimates in 20 I 0:

(i) the committee further examine Fair Work Australia, and (ii) the President of Fair Work Australia appear before the committee to answer questions; and (b) on each subsequent occasion on which the Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Committee meets to consider estimates in relation to Fair Work Australia, the President of

Fair Work Australia appear before the committee to answer questions. Senator Siewert, by leave, moved the following amendment: Omit paragraph (b). Question-That the amendment be agreed to-put and negatived.

Statements by leave: Senator Fisher, the Leader of the Australian Greens (Senator Bob Brown) and Senator Marshall, by leave, made statements relating to the motion. Leave refitsed: Senator Collins sought leave to make a statement, relating to the motion. An objection was raised and leave was not granted.

Main question put. The Senate divided-

Senators-Adams Bac k Bern ardi Birmingham

Boswell Boyce Brandis Bushby

Senators-Arbib Bilyk Bishop

Brow n, Bob Brown, Carol Camero n Carr Collins

Question agreed to.

Cash Colbeck Conn ann Eggleston

Ferguson Fi elding Fi erra va nti- Well s Fifi eld

Conroy Crossin Farrell Feeney

Forshaw Fumer Hanson-Youn g Hogg

4

Journals of the Senate, no. 22, 26 August 2008 5

Journals of the Senate, no. 95,28 October 2009

AYES, 32

Fi sher Minchin

Heffernan Nash

Humphries Parry (Teller)

Joyce Ronaldso n

Kroger Ryan

Macdonald Scullio n

Mason Troeth

McGauran Xenophon

NOES, 30

Hutchins O ' Bri en (Teller)

Ludlam Po ll ey

Ludwig Pratt

Lundy Siewert

Marshall Sterle

McEwen Wortley

McLucas Milne

iii

iv

The Senate

Community Affairs Legislation Committee

Additional estimates 2010-11

March 2011

© Commonwealth of Australia 20 11

ISBN 978-1-74229-369-1

This document was prepared by the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee and printed by the Senate Printing Unit, Parliament House, Canberra.

2

Membership of the Committee

Members

Senator Claire Moore, Chair ALP, Queensland

Senator Rachel Siewert, Deputy Chair

Senator Judith Adams

AG, Western Australia

LP, Western Australia

LP, Queensland Senator Sue Boyce

Senator Carol Brown

Senator Mark Furner

Senators in attendance

ALP, Tasmania

ALP, Queensland

Senator Clare Moore (Chair), Senator Rachel Siewert (Deputy Chair), Senator Judith Adams, Senator Sue Boyce, Senator Carol Brown, Senator Mark Furner, Senator the Hon Eric Abetz, Senator Guy Barnett, Senator Corey Bernardi, Senator Catryna Bilyk, Senator Doug Cameron, Senator Michaelia Cash, Senator Fierravanti-Wells, Senator

Mitch Fifield, Senator the Hon Bill Heffernan, Senator Gary Humphries, Senator Scott Ludlam, Senator Anne McEwen, Senator Marise Payne, Senator the Hon Helen Polley, Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion, Senator John Williams, Senator Dana Wortley, Senator Nick Xenophon

Secretariat Dr Timothy Kendall Ms Cassimah Mackay

Suite S1.59 Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600

Acting Committee Secretary Research Officer

Telephone: (02) 6277 3515 Fax: (02) 6277 5829

Email: community .affairs.sen@a ph. gov .au

Ill

3

4

Table of Contents

Membership of the Committee ........................................................................ iii

Chapter 1 .......................... .' .................................................................................. 1

Introduction .............................................................................................................. 1

Changes to departmental structures .. ....................... ........... ... ......... .. .. ..... ......... ..... . 2

Questions on Notice ....... .. ..................... .. .. ................... ......... ... .... .............. .. .......... 3

Additional information ................................ ......................... .. ............................ .... 3

Note on references .................... .. .... .. ....... .. ......... .................................................... 3

Chapter 2 ............................................................................................................. 5

Health and Ageing portfolio .................................................................................... 5

Department of Health and Ageing .......................................................................... 5

Whole of Portfolio/Corporate Matters ..................... .. ............. .. ............................. 6

Mental Health ......... ... ........ ......... .. ........................... ............... ........... ......... ......... ... 7

Aged Care and Population Ageing .............. .... ................................... ; ................... 8

Cancer Australia Agency/National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre ................. 9

National Health and Medical Research Council .................................................. 10

Health System Capacity and Quality ................................................................ .... 10

Health Workforce Capacity ................ .. .... ................ ............................................ 11

Primary Care .................................................... ..................................................... 12

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) ...................................... ......... 14

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARP ANSA) .. ...... 16

Office of the Gene Technology Regulator ........................................................... 16

Population Health .... .. ............. ..... .. .. .... ... ..... .. ... .. .. .... .. ................................. ......... 17

Rural Health ............. .. ..................................... ... .. ....... .. .............. ...... ...... ..... ... ...... 17

Biosecurity and Emergency Response ................................................................. 18

Acute Care .................................................... .. ...................................................... 1 8

Chapter 3 ........................................................................................................... 19

5

Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Portfolio ..... 19

Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs .............................................. ............................................... ... ................ ........... ... 19

Cross Outcomes/Corporate Matters ....... .... .... ........ .. ...... .. ...................... .. ............ 19

Families and Children ..... .... .. ......... .. .... ......... .... ...... .. .... .. ..... .... .. .... ... .... .. ... ..... .... .. 20

Seniors .. ....... ... ...... ........ ...... ...... ... ..... .... ......... ............ .. .. .... ....... .. ........ ..... ... ..... ... .. 22

Community Capability and the Vulnerable .... ..... ...................... ........ .......... .... ..... 22

Women and the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) ...................................................... ..... ... ....... ................................ ... ........ 22

Disability and Carers ..... ...... .. ... ........ ....... .... .... ... ..... ......... .......... .. ....... ..... ..... ....... 23

Housing .... .......... ..... ............. .... .... ....... .. ..... .... .. ...... ..... .... ..... ........... ... .... .... ... .... .... 24

Chapter 4 ........................................................................................................... 27

Human Services Portfolio ...................................................................................... 27

Department of Human Services .... ... ........................ ... ..... ... ........ .............. .... .... .. .. 27

Human Services (including Child Support) ........................................ .. ............ ... 27

Centre link Agency ................................................................................................ 28

Medicare Australia Agency ... ......................... .. .... ... ... ..... .. ..... ...... ...... ... ....... ... ..... 30

Chapter 5 ........................................................................................................... 33

Cross Portfolio Indigenous Matters ...................................................................... 33

Closing the Gap .. ...... .... .... .. .. ........... ... ... .. .. ... ............. ..... .................. ... ...... .. ... ... ... 33

Housing .................. ............................................................................................... 35

Employment and Economic Development ........ ................ ........ .... .. .... ... .. ............ 36

Health Issues ................... ...................... .. ...... ... ..... .......... .... ......... .............. ......... .. 37

Appendix 1 ......................................................................................................... 41

Administrative Arrangement Order 14 September 2010 Changed Responsibility .......................................................................................................... 41

VI

6

Chapter 1

Introduction

1.1 On 10 February 2011 , the Senate referred the following documents to the Community Affairs Legislation Committee (the committee) for examination and report:

• Particulars of proposed additional expenditure in respect of the year ending on 30 June 2011 [Appropriation Bill (No.3) 2010-11];

• Particulars of certain proposed additional expenditure in respect of the year ending on 30 June 2011 [Appropriation Bill (No.4) 2010-11];

• Final budget outcome 2009-2010; and

• Issues from the advances under the annual Appropriation Acts for 2009-2010.1

1.2 The committee is responsible for the examination of the Health and Ageing portfolio; the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs portfolio; and, following a resolution ofthe Senate on 29 September 2010, the Human Services portfolio.2

1.3 The committee was required to report to the Senate on its consideration of 20 I 0-2011 additional estimates on 22 March 2011.

1.4 The committee considered the Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements 2010-2011 for both portfolios at hearings on 23, 24 and 25 February 2011. The hearings were conducted in accordance with the agreed agenda as follows:

• Wednesday 23 February 2011 -Health and Ageing portfolio.

• Thursday 24 February 2011 -Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs portfolio; Human Services portfolio

• Friday 25 February 2011 - Cross Portfolio- Indigenous Matters

1.5 The committee heard evidence from Senator the Hon Jan McLucas, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers (representing the Minister for Health and Ageing) and Senator the Hon Mark Arbib, Minister for Sport, Indigenous Employment and Economic Development and Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness (representing the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs).

Journals of th e Senate, No. 19, 10 February 2011 , p. 581.

2 Journals of th e Senate: No.2, 29 September 2010, pp 88- 89.

7

2

1.6 Evidence was also provided by Ms Jane Halton, Secretary of the Department of Health and Ageing; Dr Geoff Harmer, Secretary of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs; and officers representing the departments and agencies covered by the estimates before the committee.

1. 7 The committee thanks the ministers, departmental secretaries and officers for their assistance and cooperation during the hearings.

Changes to departmental structures

1.8 Cancer Australia and the National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre announced on 15 June 201 0 they would be merging, to 'further strengthen the Government's strategic focus on cancer control and build a better health and hospital system'.3

1.9 The committee notes that following the Administrative Arrangement Orders made on 14 September 2010, the Department of Health and Ageing is no longer responsible for the following:

• Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (PM&C)

• Australian Sports Commission (ASC)

• Australian Sports Foundation

The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs is no longer responsible for the following:

• Housing Affordability Fund

• National Rental Affordability Scheme

• Housing Supply and the Housing Supply Council

• Indigenous Cultural Remains Program

• Community Compact

• Volunteering

• Philanthropy

• Disaster Recovery (policy and process)

• Indigenous Capital Assistance

1.10 The committee also notes as a result of the Administrative Arrangement Orders, FaHCSIA have taken responsibility for the Indigenous Capital Assistance Scheme within the Indigenous Business Australia agency.

3 The Hon Nicola Roxon MP, Minister for Health and Ageing, One single, united and stronger national cancer agency, 16 June 2010, p. 1 of 4, http://www. n bocc. or g. au/images/stories/ documents/ can cer-austra 1 ia -ann oun cement.pdf.

8

3

1.11 For a complete list of changes in responsibility, including the departments now responsible, please see Appendix 1.

Questions on Notice

1.12 In accordance with Standing Order 26, the committee is required to set a date for the lodgement of answers and additional information. The committee requested that written answers and additional information be submitted by Friday 8 April 2011.

Additional information

1.13 Answers to questions taken on notice at the committee's additional estimates hearings will be tabled in the Senate in separate volumes entitled 'Additional information relating to the examination of additional estimates 2010-2011, February 2011, Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee'. Documents not suitable for

inclusion in the additional information volumes will be available on request from the committee secretariat.

1.14 Answers to questions on notice received from the departments will also be posted on the committee's website at a later date.

Note on references

1.15 References to the Hansard transcript are to the proof Hansard; page numbers may vary between the proof and the official Hansard transcript.

9

10

Chapter 2

Health and Ageing portfolio

Department of Health and Ageing

2.1 This chapter contains the key issues discussed during the 2010-2011 additional estimates hearings for the Health and Ageing portfolio.

2.2 The committee heard evidence from the department on Wednesday 23 February 2011. Areas of the portfolio were called in the following order:

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

Whole of Portfolio/Corporate Matters

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Mental Health

Aged Care and Population Ageing

Cancer Australia Agency/National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre

National Health and Medical Research Council

Health System Capacity and Quality

Access to Medical Services

Health Workforce Capacity

Primary Care

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ)

• Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency

(ARPANSA)

• Office of the Gene Technology Regulator

• Population Health

• Rural Health

• Biosecurity and Emergency Response

• Acute Care

2.3 The committee agreed to provide any questions on notice to the following outcomes and agencies:

• Private Health

• Private Health Insurance Administration Council (PHIAC)

• Private Health Insurance Ombudsman

• Access to Pharmaceutical Services

• Hearing Services

11

6

Whole of Portfolio/Corporate Matters

2.4 The committee began proceedings by asking the department about the impacts from the recent fire and flood disasters, requesting they provide a more detailed response on notice. 1 Ms Jane Halton, Secretary of the Department of Health and Ageing, responded by listing the areas affected and the different challenges faced by each ofthem.2 Ms Halton made special mention ofthe staff who were evacuated from their Brisbane offices, who continued working from home to support aged care

"d 3 prov1 ers.

Questions on notice

2.5 The committee referred to correspondence sent to the department seeking further clarification as to the delay in returning answers to questions taken on notice. The committee noted that while all answers had been received by the day of the estimates hearing, there were some critical answers that were not received by the committee until 15 and 18 February.

2.6 Ms Halton gave details on the total number of questions on notice ( 431) and the level of detail within each question, noting that 23 per cent of the questions were provided over two months after the estimates hearing and 13 per cent were provided a further month after that.4 Ms Halton also observed that many questions related to health reform and the Health and Hospitals Fund, and explained the large amount of work involved, stating that:

There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours. It is regrettable, but regrettably the pressure of work meant that those questions were finished when they could be finished, because the officers have just been swamped.5

2. 7 The committee expressed its appreciation of the work involved in answering the questions on notice and acknowledged Ms Halton's explanation. 6

Changes to Health Reform

2.8 The committee asked a series of questions relating to health reform, paying particular attention to changes that had taken place under Prime Minister Julia Gillard and as a result of the change in government in Victoria. The committee requested the department account for specific changes between the health reform proposed by the

Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 6.

2 Such as power outages, offices flooded, loss of homes, etc.

3 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , pp 6- 7.

4 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 7.

5 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 7.

6 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 8.

12

7

Rudd Government and the health reform proposed by the Gillard Government. The department agreed to provide this information on notice. 7 The committee sought clarification as to whether or not particular agreements would be affected, such as the public hospital service agreements, the health expenditure working group and the national funding authority.8

2.9 When questioned on the human resources expended on the first health reform proposal, Ms Halton was keen to emphasise that the changes to health reform did not signify that any work done previously had been superfluous. Ms Halton stated:

No, we are not embarking on a new process ... The fact is that we now have a single national agreement which continues with things such as activity­ based funding , which has local hospital networks, which has an enhanced focus on Medicare Locals .. .The truth of the matter is that that work has all contributed to the position we are now in, which is a national agreement. 9

Mental Health

2.10 The department was questioned about the evaluation it had undertaken of the Better Access program. The evaluation will provide details on users of the Better Access program, such as socioeconomic characteristics, and will consider the extent to which the program ensures that new consumers receive services. Officers took on

notice more specific details, such as the sample size of consumers surveyed and the process involved in selecting the participants for the survey. 10

2.11 The committee commended officers on the suicide prevention program and its work with Farm Link, which the department funds through the University of Newcastle. 11 The committee expressed concern over the five year funding period, which concludes in June 2011. Officers reported that the government response to The Hidden Toll: Suicide in Australia indicated that the government intended to continue

the project while an evaluation of takes place. However, no date has been set for the completion of the evaluation. 12

2.12 The committee questioned the department on mental health services in Queensland and what steps had been taken to support those areas affected by the recent floods and Cyclone Y asi. Officers reported that the department has been working closely with the Queensland Department of Health and non-government

organisations (NGOs) and that the Minister announced additional funding of up to $1.3 million this financial year. This has been targeted to help support divisions of

7 Proof Estimates Hans ard, 23 February 2011 , p. 17.

8 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , pp 17- 18.

9 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 24.

10 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, pp 30-32.

11 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 33.

12 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 34.

13

8

general practice in all areas affected by the floods under the Access to Allied Psychological Services program. 13 Officers confirmed that all NGOs funded by the department were contacted, irrespective of whether or not their premises were damaged, to ensure that:

(1) they were okay; (2) that they were operational; (3) to see if there was any damage to their operations and their resources.14

2.13 As a result of these phone calls, the department was informed that the Day to Day Living in the Community Program and the Kids Helpline were affected. The department has not been asked for any funding for damage to premises, as insurance will fully cover any damage that was done. 15

2.14 The committee asked the department to respond to a claim made in an article that 40c in the dollar is lost in the administration of mental health and social services. 16

Ms Halton stated that, in regard to the department, the estimation was incorrect by 'a factor of multiples in the 1 Os'. 17

Aged Care and Population Ageing

2.15 The committee queried the likelihood of the aged-care one-stop shop initiative being operational by 1 July 2011. Officers responded:

There is no plan to delay them. What we will be trying to do is to advance along the framework of thinking and consultation, and we would certainly be aiming for a change in the architecture on the ground in some places in Australia by July, but that may not be the final change; there will be some building blocks along the way. 18

2.16 The committee questioned officers on the new funding arrangements for the Home and Community Care program, which was also due to come into effect from 1 July 2011. Officers responded that there are discussions with states and territories taking place and that they are confident that there are no issues around that deadline. 19

The heads of agreement signed at COAG is very clear, with all jurisdictions agreeing that the Commonwealth will have full policy management funding and delivery responsibility for aged care .Z 0

13 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 35.

14 Proof Estim ates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 36.

15 Proof Estim ates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 36.

16 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 37.

17 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 37.

18 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 42.

19 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 44.

20 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 45.

14

9

2.17 The department noted that an agreement signed by state, territory and Commonwealth governments at COAG is clear that the Commonwealth will have full policy management, funding and delivery responsibility for aged care. Officers also noted that all states and territories (with the exception of Victoria and ACT) have

agreed to, and are in the process of delivering the implementation plan for the Aged Care Assessment Program. T.he ACT is in the final stages of signing that agreement and bilateral discussions with Victoria are due to take place the week after the . h . 2 1 estimates earmgs.

2.18 Officers detailed to the committee some difficulties encountered in developing nation-wide implementation programs, such as technical difficulties with data delivery, noting that the issues are across states and that work between jurisdictions at an officer level has taken place to solve those issues .Z2

Continence Aids Payment Scheme (CAPS)

2.19 The committee sought information on the transition from the old continence aids payment scheme to the new one. Officers stated the transition has been very good overall, with approximately 80,000 people now registered and receiving payments under the new scheme. Information sessions were run throughout the transition process for people receiving services under the previous scheme and officers reported

that they have not had many concerns raised, noting that any concerns that were raised received swift attention and support was provided throughout the transition process. 23

2.20 The committee expressed concern for people who are both Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) pensioners and DVA blue card holders and the confusion that exists over whether or not these individuals are eligible for CAPS. The department clarified that towards the end of 2010 they became aware that some veterans were not receiving support for their continence programs. Following this, the

department consulted Medicare, the current legislation and examined arrangements under the previous scheme. As a result, legislation has been amended to close the gap and Medicare has helped to ensure that veterans received their payments and that payments would be backdated to the date of application. Officers also noted that anyone that had previously had their application declined has since been contacted by the department and advised of these new arrangements. 24

Cancer Australia Agency IN ational Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre

2.21 Officers began by explaining the amalgamation of Cancer Australia and National Breast and Ovarian Cancer Centre. There is a 12 month transition period and officers anticipate the establishment of the new agency in early 2011-12. The

21 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 45.

22 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 46.

23 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 48.

24 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, pp 48-49.

15

10

amalgamation is intended to bring together the cancer control agencies across Australia in to one agency. This will provide a single point of reference for government, consumers, health professionals and researchers. 25

2.22 The committee received an update on the Jeannie Ferris National Centre for Gynaecological Cancers Churchill Fellowship. The committee noted their support of the Fellowship and passed on their good wishes to the inaugural recipient, Ms Merran Williams. 26

Consumer Involvement

2.23 Dr Helen Zorbas, Chief Executive Officer, emphasised the effort taken in ensuring representation from particular communities and groups in consumer programs. They currently have four Indigenous women across consumer programs and approximately 22 per cent of consumers are from regional areas.

2.24 Dr Zorbas detailed the development of a national framework to enable effective engagement of consumers in cancer control, in policy, health services and all parts of health control. 27

National Health and Medical Research Council

2.25 The committee sought further information in regard to funding for the Palliative Care Research Program. Professor Warwick Anderson, Chief Executive Officer, clarified that the department often asks the NHMRC to run the research review program, which means the NHMRC receives applications for funding and undertakes extensive peer review to then see what results occur. Professor Anderson noted that there is a 20 to 25 per cent success rate in those programs that can be funded across the whole grant. 28

Health System Capacity and Quality

e-Health Implementation

2.26 The committee questioned the department on the contracts in place for e­ Health implementation and the reporting arrangements for the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA). Officers explained that as departmental funding for NEHTA is tied to particular deliverables, it is the deliverables that are reported on in the annual report and not the funding specifically. 29

25 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 55.

26 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 55.

27 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , pp 55- 56.

28 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 57.

29 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , pp 58-59.

16

11

2.27 The committee asked officers to describe any benefits identified since the introduction of personally controlled electronic health records (PCEHR). Officers quoted a study that found that two to three per cent of hospital admissions each year relate to medical errors, which have an estimated cost of $660 million annually, all of which could be prevented using PCEHR.30 Officers also noted that in some specific cases, lives had been saved as: a result of PCEHR because information about allergies

was available at the time patients were admitted.31

2.28 Officers gave details on the national e-health conference, explaining that there were 450 participants, representing all the major stakeholder groups, including clinicians and consumers. Officers indicated some of the feedback from consumers related to privacy and ensuring appropriate controls were in place for the consumer, with some discussion on what information is available. The department informed the

committee of the positive feedback that was received and noted that the conference reached a larger number of people than the 450 participants as it was streamed on the web .32

2.29 The committee sought information on international experience of systems similar to the PCEHR. The department indicated that it had held discussions with representatives from the government of Portugal, who are doing very similar work. Scandinavian countries are also advanced in this area, as is France.

Health and Hospital Fund

2.30 The committee sought further information on whether or not the Tamworth, Port Macquarie and Royal Hobart hospitals were receiving any 'special treatment' as a result of the agreement signed with Mr Andrew Wilkie MP. The department clarified that the funding is governed by legislation, which clearly states that projects can only

be funded if the board decides they meet the criteria. 33

Health Workforce Capacity

Registration Issues

2.31 With respect to the numbers of practitioners, the committee asked the department how many have had their registration interrupted by the move to the national registration scheme through AHPRA, the national registration body. The department stated that as AHPRA is not a Commonwealth agency, they are not best

suited to answer the question. However, the Minister was able to provide the committee with the following information:

30 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , pp 61 - 62.

31 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 61.

32 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 62.

33 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 20 II, pp 66--0 7.

17

12

AHPRA has registered 520,000 healthcare practitioners in the period before 31 December 2010. Of the 7,700 registrations that had lapsed, only 500 wish to renew their registrations ... The Commonwealth will consider the ability to provide ex gratia payments for a period of time for Medicare services related to health practitioners whose registration may have lapsed but who wish to continue their practice.34

Rural Incentive Programs

2.32 The committee asked the department to list the incentives in place to encourage GPs to move from major cities to regional and rural areas . The department listed each program in place and the progress made thus far. The General Practice Rural Incentives Program commenced on 1 July 2010, which combined two pre­ existing programs. Scaling payments were introduced to the program so that the more remote the location, the higher the incentive. Officers reported that for the September quarter, payments were made to 617 practitioners, and for the December quarter, this number had increased to 2,100 practitioners. 35

Primary Care

Medicare Locals

2.33 The committee asked officers to describe the progress of Medicare Locals. Officers detailed the processes in chronological order, outlining the discussion paper, the release of draft boundaries and then the release of the boundaries themselves. Officers reiterated the Prime Minister's intention to accelerate the implementation of the Medicare Locals and stated that they are on track, with the program guidelines released the day before the estimates hearings.36 Officers also explained that these guidelines may be updated over the life of the program. 37

2.34 The committee asked the department to explain specifically what role the Medicare Locals will play, and whether it would be replacing or complementing the roles currently in place. When asked whether or not Medicare Locals would see patients, officers explained:

No, and I do not think that privately practicing GPs in an area would actually want an organisation funded by the Commonwealth that would take over that patient coordination role from them .. .I think the simplest way to differentiate is that clinicians will still have, as they should, the responsibility for determining what clinical services a patient needs and, by

34 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 72.

35 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , pp 75-76.

36 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 80.

37 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , pp 87 and 91.

18

and large, they organise and coordinate that care themselves. What Medicare Locals will be doing is at a whole-of-population level. 38

13

2.35 The committee questioned whether the not-for-profit status of Medicare Locals will remain or if there is potential for Medicare Locals to become profit-based. Officers emphasised there is a competitive application process in place and that any applications intending to not fully comply with the selection criteria would not make it

through.39 Ms Halton asserted:

One thing that I can be absolutely clear about- and 1 am categorical about- is that we are blind to the nature of profit or not-for-profit, but no proposal even vaguely hints of cherry picking ... That is not consistent with these guidelines and an organisation that does not meet these guidelines is not going to get funded. 40

2.36 The committee asked the department about areas of possible conflicts of interest and general governance issues that may arise from combining public and private entities. The department emphasised that there were measures in place to combat this, including the applicant's contract with the Commonwealth. Officers

suggested many of these issues will be addressed in this contract and that the department has a 'fair body' of experience in handling such matters. The National Performance Authority will also have a role, as they will be providing support at the national level for Medicare Locals, including meeting their objectives.

41

When

speaking of measures in place, Ms Halton further clarified:

Firstly, choose the right organisation and, secondly, ensure that the contract is sufficiently well written .. . To move to a single head of agreement with the relevant schedules attached, which makes it, firstly, more transparent about what we are requiring of an organisation .. . but then also streamlines our capacity to monitor and manage those contracts in a way I think all the officers in the area would find helpful. 42

2.37 Officers emphasised that the program guidelines for Medicare Locals allow accountability not just to the Commonwealth, but also to the local community.43 Ms Megan Morris, First Assistant Secretary, Primary and Ambulatory Care Division, explained:

38 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 82.

39 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 85.

40 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 93.

41 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, pp 85-86.

42 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 89.

43 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 90.

19

14

You cannot mandate one model and assume that that is going to be replicated uniformly. We are looking to them to make the case and prove that they are serious about it and intend to deliver on it. 44

2.38 Another mechanism in place to ensure the perspectives of the community are reflected is the health needs assessment process. This involves determining the health needs across the whole community, which the department regards as a 'key lever' in Medicare Locals.45 Officers also noted that the guidelines require the applications to ensure community engagement and local community involvement on the board.46

GP Superclinics

2.39 The committee sought information on contractual requirements for GP Superclinics. Officers stated that it was necessary that GP Superclinics:

.. . use the building as constructed to deliver the services for which they tendered originally. They are not carrying on services on behalf of the Commonwealth. 47

2.40 The committee asked the department to provide a list of services delivered in the Southern Lake Macquarie GP Superclinic, particularly in the Morriset community. Officers listed general practice, nursing and medical specialist services, hydrotherapy and rehabilitation centre, physiotherapy, pathology, psychology, dietetics, speech therapy, podiatry and visiting medical specialist including: neurology, gynaecology, ophthalmology, cardiology and pain management.48

2.41 Officers also made mention of the mini emergency treatment room, which offers:

A range of chronic disease management and preventative care programs, such as diabetic clinics, women's health clinics, skin clinics , smoking cessation, diabetic groups, immunisation, wound clinics and a postnatal d

. 49

epress10n support group.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ)

2.42 The committee questioned officers on chemical testing of food imported to Australia. Officers explained the different areas and responsibilities that FSANZ has, compared to those held by AQIS and Biosecurity.

44 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 91.

45 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 92.

46 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 4011 , p. 93.

47 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 96.

48 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 97.

49 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 97.

20

15

2.43 The committee sought further information on the issue of streptomycin used on apples imported from New Zealand. Officers explained:

We can, in theory, have streptomycin residues on New Zealand apples. That is the only antibiotic that I am aware of that is registered. That is the TTMRA arrangement. Again, the risk assessment process that we are doing will inform the position in terms of the level of that risk. 50

2.44 Officers explained that they are currently undertaking a risk assessment, stating it focuses on antimicrobial usage, which includes the particular antibiotic that is approved for use in New Zealand. Once this is complete, FSANZ will provide that advice to AQIS and AQIS can then decide whether or not to test. 51

2.45 The committee asked officers to explain how the Today Tonight television program was able to test food from a supermarket and find levels of banned chemicals, or alternatively, foods with excessive level of chemical concentration. Officers explained they have requested those particular test results and they will be retested, as there were some questions based on the methodology of the testing

involved. Officers also stated:

We have been in contact with the enforcement agencies at the state and territory level. We have obviously also been in dialogue with AQIS about this matter. Lastly, we have also been in discussion with the retailers where these products were sourced. 52

Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)

2.46 The department updated the committee on an issue arising from the previous round of estimates concerning breast imaging equipment listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods. Officers stated that, of the seven non-mammography based devices that were promoted for breast screening, six have since been cancelled, with the remaining one still under investigation. The TGA has cancelled the devices on the register and has written to people who purchased them, advising that claims

relating to breast screening could not be made. 53 Officers noted that the responsibility for preventing the future use of these devices lies with the regulatory bodies. 54

2.47 Officers gave details of the transparency review currently taking place within the TGA. The review aims to determine how effectively the:

• TGA communicates regulatory decisions;

50 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 100.

51 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 100.

52 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 101.

53 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 103.

54 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 104.

21

16

• TGA ensures the public understand the significance of those decisions; and

• Regulatory processes operate.

2.48 The panel conducting the review is due to complete its work by the end of April and will provide advice and recommendations to the department and the Parliamentary Secretary.55

2.49 The committee asked the TGA to respond to an article that quoted a TGA spokesperson stating the 'official register of gifts and benefits .. . has not been updated for some time ... this register is being reactivated immediately'.56 Officers explained that as the TGA is a division of the department, they are subject to the requirements for gifts that apply across the department. Dr Rohan Hammet, National Manager, explained:

Since 1998 the TGA has had a policy that is applied to staff members working in the TGA to require them not to accept gifts except where they have been given by international delegations which have a custom of giving those gifts and those gifts are in fact displayed in the foyer of the TGA with labels and dates at the time they were given. 57

Dr Hammet further clarified:

For instance, if I am asked to address a dinner from, you know, an industry association board meal, I will request that the industry association actually invoice us for the costs of that meal; there are no free meals at TGA. 58

Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA)

2.50 With respect to the national radioactive waste management legislation bill that had just passed in the House of Representatives, the committee asked officers to provide insight into the planned approach to assessing any federal application for a national waste repository. Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson, Chief Executive Officer, explained an assessment is made of the whole application, from citing, to construction, and to the final closure of the facility. 59

Office of the Gene Technology Regulator

2.51 Officers provided a detailed background and subsequent update on the current status of the approval process for commercial release Roundup Ready canola. Officers emphasised that responsibility for risks to health and safety, as well as the

55 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 103 .

56 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , pp 104-105.

57 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 104.

58 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 106.

59 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 2011 , p. 109 .

22

17

environment, fall within the Gene Technology Act. It was approved for commercial cultivation on the basis that the Gene Technology Regulator concluded it was as safe for human health and the environment as conventional canola.

Population Health

2.52 The committee asked' officers to provide further information on a number of tenders. Officers detailed the funding measures for:

• National Sexually Transmittable Infections Prevention Program;

• Market testing for plain packaging of tobacco;

• Recruitment advertising;

• Literary review addressing poor dietary intake; and

• Tackling Smoking and Health Lifestyles Workforce.

2.53 The committee expressed concern over the scheduled end date of funding for the bowel cancer screening program. Noting an independent analysis that estimated:

The program could be fully funded for around a net $80 million per annum based on a $150 million initial investment and substantial cost offsets accruing over subsequent years, and the savings would cetiainly be in reduced hospital services.60

2.54 Officers explained that the funding is a matter for government, however if it were to be continued, the program could proceed providing the contractual arrangements for the provider of the bowel cancer test kits were in place. 61

National Tobacco Campaign

2.55 The committee sought information on the progress of the national tobacco campaign and plain packaging tobacco products. Officers explained the campaign was still in its early stages and therefore that they could not provide any results. However the department has a comprehensive campaign tracking and evaluation approach, and should be able to provide more information at a later date. Officers

also explained that the recommendation for plain packaging came from the National Preventative Health Taskforce, but that the decision to implement the recommendation was ultimately a decision for government. 62

Rural Health

2.56 The committee raised the issue of local governments and councils having to recruit GPs for their areas, which the committee described as a very expensive

60 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 116.

61 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 116.

62 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, pp 117- 118.

23

18

process. The department told the committee they are aware of the local governments and councils engaging in this activity but made clear that this was outside the department's funding responsibilities. The department noted it may be useful to provide a list of incentive programs. 63

Biosecurity and Emergency Response

2.57 The committee sought an update on the prevalence of dengue fever in North Queensland following the floods. Professor Jim Bishop, Chief Medical Officer responded by noting that dengue fever is a 'nationally notifiable disease' so that there is data available, which enables monitoring by a specific committee. Professor Bishop indicated that 38 cases had been reported in Townsville, and 41 cases in Innisfail, within a time frame of seven months. However, Professor Bishop was keen to note that the number has been decreasing since 2007, including those particular recent cases. 64

Acute Care

2.58 The committee sought clarification on privately insured patients who are admitted to public hospitals, and whether or not this will cause states and territories to lose funding. Officers replied that the Deputy Heads of Treasury working group has been asked to consider that issue, but that a response will not be necessary before

1 July 2011. Officers further clarified:

I do not think there is a concern about losing out. It is just that it was not considered fully before the COAG agreement last year, so the clause was put in requiring further work to be done and that work is still under way. 65

Retirement

2.59 The committee took the opportunity to acknowledge Ms Mary Murnane, Deputy Secretary, for her last appearance at Senate Estimates and subsequent retirement. The committee and Minister thanked Ms Murnane, noting 25 years of contribution to the public service and the department. 66

63 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 20 II, pp I2I-I22.

64 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 124.

65 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 20I1 , p. 125 .

66 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 201I , pp 130-133.

24

Chapter 3

Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous , Affairs Portfolio

Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

3.1 This chapter contains the key issues discussed during the 2010-2011 additional estimates hearings for the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs portfolio.

3.2 The committee heard evidence from the department on Thursday 24 February 2011. Areas of the portfolio were called in the following order:

• Cross Outcomes/Corporate Matters

• Families and Children

• Seniors

• Community Capability and the Vulnerable

• Women

• Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA)

• Disability and Carers

• Housing

Cross Outcomes/Corporate Matters

3.3 The committee began by asking the department to inform them of the impact of the recent floods in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria and the affect of Cyclone Yasi in Queensland and the bushfires in Western Australia. The department told the committee there were no personal injuries recorded and no significant damage to any buildings. The head office in Brisbane was evacuated for a few days and the Cairns office was closed because of Cyclone Yasi, but Dr Geoff Harmer, Secretary, confirmed that the department has returned to normal operations. Dr Harmer also

noted that following the recent earthquake in New Zealand, the department made contact with the head of the New Zealand Ministry of Social Development to offer any assistance they could provide. The committee requested that when the time is available, they would appreciate a report on the emergency response plans for the recent natural disasters and the role that the department played at a regional level. 1

Proof Es timates Ha nsard, 24 February 2011 , pp 4- 5.

25

20

3.4 The committee sought further information on the benefits provided in the employee collective agreement, such as the provisions in place for the Promoting Good Health payments? The committee also asked about the department's cultural leave and what criteria is used to determine an appropriate use of cultural leave. Officers explained that cultural leave covers a number of things, and the list of guidelines for such leave can be provided on notice. Officers were confident however that the policy is comparable with other departments. Officers also informed the committee that the current collective agreement is due to expire in November 2011.3

Departmental trial ofiPads

3.5 The committee asked the department to provide information on the amount spent on iPads, the number of iPads purchased and the people they were purchased for. Officers explained they are essentially for senior officers and described it as a 'very modest and targeted trial'. 4 Officers were keen to highlight the security measures in place to ensure there are no breaches, noting the department adheres to the Defence Signals Directorate guidelines and does not allow any secret or confidential information on the iPads. 5

3.6 The committee asked the department to explain any unique functions that made the purchase of the iPads necessary. Officers explained that they are being trialled in a number of ways and were being considered as a replacement for laptops when staff are travelling. The trial is due to complete in early March, with a view to discuss how they could be potentially deployed in a broader context.6

Families and Children

Paid Parental Leave (PPL)

3.7 The committee asked officers to clarify figures listed in the FaHCSIA budget statements, and how they relate to current spending figures. Officers explained that the PPL scheme started on 1 January 2011. Officers explained that there are two particular targeted 'client groups': the people entitled to the payment itself and the employers who will be transferring those payments to their employees.7

3.8 The committee noted the potential for people to access two schemes of paid parentalleave.8 Officers explained that there are many variables involved in whether

2 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 Februal)' 2011 , pp 11-12.

3 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 Februal)' 20 II , pp 6- 8.

4 Prouf Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011 , p. 9.

5 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, p. 9.

6 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 Februal)' 2011 , p. 9.

7 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 F ebrual)' 2011 , pp 14--15 .

8 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 Februal)' 2011 , p. 15.

26

21

one could access both a government sponsored and an employee sponsored scheme, such as what stage they choose to take their leave. Officers clarified:

One of the objectives in the design of the scheme was to allow, for purposes of maternal and child health, for more time between working mothers with very young babies. Should a person choose to tack on to their employer­ provided maternity or parental leave scheme, this payment would not be double-dipping. It would be merely an extension of the possible time away

from work. 9

3.9 The committee asked a number of other questions as to specific cases to determine who specifically would be eligible for the scheme, such as an Australian citizen who gives birth in another country. Officers replied:

Yes, it is possible for an Australian citizen to claim, and for an Australian citizen who has been working overseas to meet the work test by working overseas. 10

Family Support Program

3.10 The committee sought information on the progress of the tender for the Family Support Program, noting that when funding is dependent on the upcoming budget, it can create discomfort for service providers. Officers explained that the department is in the process of approving the new program guidelines and the

'templates' that will be in place for the funding agreements. 11

3.11 The committee asked officers about particular programs offered under the Family Support Program and the likelihood of those programs being continued. Officers explained that the early intervention and prevention programs, as well as pre­ marriage counselling and couple counselling, will continue to be part of the Family

Support Program. 12 When questioned on the eligibility of people seeking assistance in those areas, officers explained:

Certainly our expectation would be that no one who needs a service is denied that service. Different organisations have fees policies that they apply, but that is a very clear requirement that people are not denied a service who are unable to contribute.13

3.12 The committee noted these services are available for everyone, but that organisations place a priority on 'vulnerable clients'. As a result, the committee asked officers to explain the department's definition of 'vulnerable'. Officers were keen to

9 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, p. 16.

10 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, p. 18.

11 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011 , pp 20- 21.

12 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011 , p. 24.

13 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, p. 24 .

27

22

note that the department does not 'own' the definition, but that work has taken place with the service providers to establish a draft definition ofvulnerability. 14

Seniors

3.13 The committee sought further information on the Broadband for Seniors kiosks. Officers reported a total of 2,000 kiosks established, noting that the location of each was based on a high need postal area, as well as the number of seniors, education levels, income levels, and the Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEPIA) score. Officers further noted that the location was also reliant upon applications by individual communities working with the provider, with applications being assessed on a case by case basis to make sure that the highest need areas were given priority. 15

Community Capability and the Vulnerable

Gambling Reform

3.14 The committee queried why the department did not make a submission to the Productivity Commission's inquiry into gambling reform. Officers explained that while the department has programs that fund emergency relief suppliers, they do not require the suppliers to provide the reasons why people affected by gambling have sought assistance and for those reasons did not provide a submission to the inquiry. 16

Income Management

3.15 The committee sought further information on the demand or uptake of services during the rolling out of income management in the Northern Territory. Officers told the committee from 2008-09 to 2009-10, the client uptake increased significantly from 5,277 to 14,000 people. The department were able to provide data for 2009-10, but noted that figures on the new rollout are not due to be provided by the services providers until the end of the financial year. Officers also informed the committee that since the 2010 election, funding has increased to cover approximately

100 additional communities and now covers 180 communities in total, providing greater coverage in the Northern Territory. 17

Women and the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA)

3.16 Officers began by updating the committee on the representation for women on Australian government boards during 2009-10. Human Services notified the department of an error in the calculations for the report, and as such, the report was

14 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011 , pp 24--25.

15 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011 , p. 28.

16 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, p. 30.

17 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, p. 33.

28

23

removed from the website to avoid misleading the public or the parliament. Officers informed the committee of the updated figures:

At this stage, I am able to report that the overall figure as at 30 June 2010 is 34 .3 per cent, which is comparable to the 2007-08 figure of 32.8 per cent and the 2008-09 figure of33.4 per cent. 18

3.17 The committee queried the position of permanent director of EOW A, noting that the current acting director has been in the position for over two years. Officers reported that they anticipate the appointment will be announced within weeks. 19

1800 RESPECT

3.18 The committee sought clarification on the discrepancy between an answer to question on notice and a press release by the Minister for the commencement date for the 1800 RESPECT counselling service. The committee noted that while the service commenced on 1 October 2010, the Minister did not announce it until 5 October. Officers explained that the telephone number was being automatically transferred

from a previous service and explained the delay in the Minister's announcement was due to the requirement to ensure there were no problems in the transfer for the first few days.20

Office for Women

3.19 The committee asked the department for an update on the progress of the establishment of the Office for Woman. Officers reported that in December 2009, the Office for Women issued a request for tender for a panel arrangement of gender experts. From that request, 43 tenders were successful, with 38 contracts signed to

date. The contracts are now published online, and APS agencies were notified on 18 February that the panel has now been established? 1

Disability and Carers

3.20 The committee discussed the selection process for disability ambassadors announced at the Disability Awards in 2010. Officers explained that the department assisted that process by providing suggestions, but that the appointment was essentially a decision for government. The committee raised the issue of the appointment of Ms Catherine Deveny as ambassador, noting that some of her public

comments were a cause for concern. The Minister advised that the appointment was for international day specifically, and the appointment will not be renewed.22

18 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, p. 38.

19 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011 , p. 38.

20 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, pp 40-41.

21 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, p. 44.

22 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, pp 47-49.

29

24

Disability Support Pension (DSP)

3.21 The committee queried why the department had not yet published the latest Characteristics of Disability Support Pension Recipients report. Officers explained they have been unable to meet the timeline due to competing priorities, but that the target date for release is the end ofMarch.23

3.22 The department provided details on the number ofDSP recipients, separating those who were subject to arrangements before the 2006 reforms and those who were recipients afterwards. The committee queried why the recipient numbers were growing at a particularly fast rate when the rate of unemployment is continuing to fall. Officers explained that many factors affect the total number of people receiving DSP, but that economic conditions rarely affect the total. Officers further explained that:

The drivers of DSP also include an increasing number of women seeking the payment as a result of other payments being closed that they might previously have been eligible for, which includes increasing the age of the age pension, the closure of the wife pension and the restriction of parenting payment. DSP numbers are also driven by very low exit rates . Once people are on the payment they tend-sadly, as the minister observed in a newspaper article-not to leave the payment unless they qualify for age pension or they die.24

Housing

3.23 The committee began by asking what effects the recent natural disasters have had on the government's social housing investments. Officers replied that in relation to Queensland, Queensland Housing adopted a policy over many years to build above the one in 100-year flood level, resulting in the vast amount of stimulus housing being unaffected. Officers noted they have not received all information in relation to the

damage caused by Cyclone Y asi because it has not been made available by the Queensland Government yet. 25

3.24 The committee asked the department about a company contracted to build social housing that has reportedly since collapsed. Officers informed the committee they are aware of these reports, and that the stimulus process involved approximately 2,500 projects, of which a small handful ended up with this particular construction company. Officers emphasised that the responsibility for managing the program rests with state governments and that each jurisdiction has different ways of ensuring subcontractors get paid. This particular case occurred in New South Wales, where Housing New South Wales has measures in place that seek statutory declarations from companies that ensure they are in a position to pay their subcontractors. 26

23 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, p. 50.

24 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 20 II , pp 50-51.

25 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, pp 57- 58.

26 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011 , pp 58- 89.

30

25

Public Housing Waiting Lists

3.25 The committee raised a number of figures that showed the number of people on waiting lists had increased, but also that the number of days housing stock was left vacant had increased. Officers explained that it is quite a complex environment, but that a significant part of the ir.crease in the number of people on waiting lists can be explained by the transition of jurisdictions using multiple lists, to using a single

waiting list. This single list is a consolidated waiting list across all types of social housing comprising of community housing, indigenous housing and mainstream public housing. 27 Officers explained that while not all states and territories were currently using a consolidated waiting list, the integration of waiting lists is one of the

reform agenda items that comprise the National Affordable Housing Agreement.28

3.26 Dr Harmer provided another explanation for the increase in number of people on waiting lists, stating:

In our experience, waiting lists often reflect the possibility of being housed, so when there are some additional funds in public housing as there has been recently, the expectation of being housed goes up and people feel it is worthwhile putting their names on the waiting list. 29

3.27 Minister Arbib also noted that the data was collected both during the global financial crisis and prior to the social housing stimulus being completed, which may have had an effect. Officers noted the average turnaround time between tenancies could be attributed to maintenance taking place on the property, as 97.7 per cent of public housing stock was tenanted as at 30 June 2010. 30

Homelessness

3.28 The committee sought an update on progress for new homelessness legislation. The department reported they are advancing the work on the National Quality Framework, which is seen as a key initiative when addressing homelessness. Officers are taking legal advice to determine the parameters of the proposed Commonwealth legislation. 31

27 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 20 II , pp 63- 64.

28 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, p. 64.

29 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011 , p. 64.

30 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, pp 64-65.

31 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, p. 68.

31

26

Retirement

3.29 The committee took the opportunity to acknowledge Dr Harmer's retirement and last appearance at Senate Estimates. The committee and Minister acknowledged Dr Harmer's contribution to the public service since his commencement in 1978.32

32 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 20 II , pp 72- 73.

32

Chapter 4

Human Services Portfolio

Department of Human Services

4.1 This chapter contains the key issues discussed during the 2010-2011 additional estimates hearings for the Human Services portfolio.

4.2 The committee heard evidence from the department on Thursday 24 February 2011 . Areas of the portfolio were called in the following order:

• Human Services (including Child Support)

• Corporate Operations and Enabling Services

• Centrelink Agency

• Medicare Australia Agency

• Australian Hearing

Human Services (including Child Support)

4.3 The committee sought further information on the process of automatic deduction from an individual's pay for child support. Specifically, they sought information on the issue of an employer deducting the amount but not passing it on to the CSA. Officers explained that automatic deduction can occur at the request of either the CSA or the employee. Officers noted there are a variety of reasons why the payments have not been transmitted to the CSA and that there are methods to follow when this occurs:

Generally speaking, we would start by taking the matter up with the employer to see whether we can get is resolved and, in particular, get the money transmitted to us . If that is not able to be done, we can terminate employer withholding arrangements in tho se sorts of circumstances. We

can also-as we have in a small number of cases-move into more formal investigations and prosecution. 1

Paid Parental Leave (PPL)

4.4 The committee asked officers to detail the current maternity and paternity leave schemes in the employee collective agreement. Officers explained each agency across the portfolio has their own specific arrangements that vary from 12 to 14 weeks. The department confirmed that employees eligible for the existing schemes would also be eligible for the incoming Paid Parental Leave.2

Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 78 .

2 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , pp 79- 80.

33

28

Staffing Arrangements

4.5 The committee sought an update on the current staffing arrangements in place, including: turnover rate, recruitment, training and leave taken. Officers detailed the staffing arrangements in terms of the current integration of the agencies and the department, noting the separation rate ofboth.3

4.6 Officers explained that given the sometimes difficult nature of the work, a high degree of effort is taken to ensure staff adapt to the working environment. This includes classroom training, a buddy program where experienced staff work together with new starters on phone calls, and then eventually begin to work more independently with customers on the phone. However officers noted there will inevitably be a proportion of new staff that, once familiar with the work, will decide it does not suit them. 4

Centrelink Agency

Emergency Relief Payments and Services

4.7 The department gave the committee an overview of the emergency relief payments. Three different means of support were identified: the Australian government disaster recovery payment; the disaster income recovery subsidy; and wage subsidies. Officers informed the committee that a coordinated effort involving the ATO, DIAC and the Office of the Fair Work Ombudsman resulted in 700,000 claims being processed, and over 80 social workers and more than 300 staff door­ knocking with the Red Cross and providing assistance in evacuation and recovery centres. Over 2,500 staff were involved in work across Australia in call centres, customer service centres, processing centres, in the national office and in boats travelling through flooded streets. 5

4.8 Ms Carolyn Hogg, Chief Executive Officer, Centrelink, informed the committee that these services have had an impact on the day-to-day work and standards of service. Noting that this time of year is traditionally busy, customers that were not directly affected by the series of natural disasters had to wait longer for services both in Centrelink offices and over the phone. 6

4.9 The committee asked the department to list the total payments for the Australian Government Disaster Relief Payment (AGDRP) scheme. Officers detailed the following:

3 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February ,2011, pp 80-81.

4 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 80.

5 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 81.

6 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 81.

34

29

• As of 31 January, the total number of payments made was 328,717. The total value of these payments was $388 million ($388,292,599.99).

• The total number of payments as of midnight Wednesday 23 February was 636,725, with a total value of$739,515,199.99. 7

4.10 The committee queried the sharp rise in the number of payments in the last three weeks, noting the figure had almost doubled. Officers explained this can be attributed to Cyclone Yasi, with records showing 227,696 people affected. 8

4.11 The committee asked the department to provide a breakdown of the specific processes in place to infonn affected people of their eligibility for support. Officers explained that staff are still working in communities affected to ensure people are aware of the payments. To this end, they have made announcements on community

and local radio. 9 Applications can be made in Centrelink offices, online and over the phone, with recipients having to sign a declaration before they can receive any payments. 10 Officers confirmed that payments are always made into bank accounts, and that there are no legal obligations imposed on the recipient to use the money in

any pre-determined way.11

Disaster Relief Fraud Task Force

4.12 The committee sought further information on the task force investigating fraudulent claims. The department informed the committee that the task force was established as a result of discussions within the portfolio and with the minister, in the first week after the floods in South-East Queensland. Officers explained they have experience in dealing with this type of fraud from previous disasters and as such, were prepared to implement risk checks on the types of activities seen previously. The

committee noted that the powers, roles and responsibilities of the Disaster Relief Fraud Task Force were the same as the existing Centrelink Fraud Investigation Unit, and therefore queried why there was a need to set up this additional task force. The department explained that based on experience from previous disasters, it is beneficial

to have a group of staff focus on that particular payment at that time, because many of these claims can be quite complex, especially if people have made multiple claims. 12

7 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 82 .

8 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 83.

9 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 83 .

10 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 83.

11 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 85.

12 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , pp 85-86.

35

30

4.13 The committee concluded its questioning on the disaster relief services by commending the department on its work and the services provided throughout the numerous disasters since 31 December 2010. 13

News for Seniors

4.14 The committee sought further information on the Centrelink magazine News for Seniors. Officers informed the committee that the key purpose of this publication is to provide pensioners with information on current government policy. Its intent is to be a user-friendly guide that outlines assistance that pensioners may be entitled to.

The magazine was introduced in the late 1990s, it is issued on a quarterly basis, and is currently the largest circulated publication in the country. 14

4.15 The committee queried staffing arrangements, advertising offsets and production costs. Officers advised the committee there are two staff employed full­ time for production, noting the cost for each edition is approximately $1 million, with part of the cost offset by advertising. 15

4.16 The committee questioned advertising protocol and whether or not there are any restrictions as to what can and cannot be advertised. Officers told the committee there are 'quite rigid' constraints. There is a disclaimer in every edition to emphasise that the magazine does not necessarily endorse particular advertisers and officers explained they have been very selective in terms of the advertisers that have chosen. 16

Medicare Australia Agency

4.17 The committee sought further information on issues encountered by practitioners having their registration transferred to the national registration scheme through AHPRA, the national registration body. Officers explained Medicare is involved in the registration process solely so that practitioners can claim Medicare benefits.17 By way of explanation, officers detailed the process Medicare staff experience when AHRP A give notification of registration problems:

We receive information from AHPRA .. .If there are any doctors that have not registered and we have been notified by AHPRA that we need to deregister them, we send a letter to them to info 1m them of the case. We make two phone calls to al ert them to that...That is to alert them that they will be deregistered and it is also to info1m them that they cannot claim medical rebates while they are deregistered. 18

13 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, pp 87- 89.

14 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , pp 96-97.

15 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 97.

16 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , pp 97- 98 .

17 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , pp 115- 116.

18 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 115 .

36

31

4.18 Officers stated they were unable to provide information specifically on patients that have had their Medicare rebates refused, as rebates can be refused for a number of reasons. Officers informed the committee that deregistrations are a normal part of business, and there has not been a rise in phone calls or complaints since the transferral to AHPRA. 19

Individual Health Identifiers (/His)

4.19 The committee sought further information on Individual Health Identifiers (IRis). Officers informed the committee IRis have been assigned to 23.5 million individuals and there are three categories: individual, organisation and professional. The committee raised concerns about privacy and ease of access to information. Officers explained individuals can log into an online account, go to their local Medicare office or call Medicare to access their information, which would include an

identification check prior to accessing the information?0 Officers emphasised the steps taken to ensure privacy:

We have taken these privacy matters very seriously. We have worked with the National eHealth Transition Authority and the Department of Health to always act in the best interests of Australians and protect the privacy of their health information and data, which is very precious to us. 21

4.20 Officers also noted that records are kept so that individuals can request details of who has looked at their IHI. 22

19 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 116.

20 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, pp 118- 120.

21 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 120.

22 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 119.

37

38

Chapter 5

Cross Portfolio Indigenous Matters

5.1 This chapter containS. the key issues discussed during the 2010-11 additional estimates hearings for cross portfolio Indigenous matters pursuant to Resolution of the Senate of26 August 2008. 1 The following portfolio departments were in attendance:

• Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations

• Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

• Department of Health and Ageing

• Department of Human Services

5.2 The committee heard evidence from the departments on Friday 25 February 2011. Areas of the portfolios were called in the following order:

• Closing the Gap

• Northern Territory Emergency Response - Basics card/income quarantining

• Indigenous Housing

• Employment and Economic Development

• Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP)

• Health Issues

Closing the Gap

5.3 The committee queried the use of photos of people, without names, within the Closing the Gap report that was released in February 2011 . The committee was specifically interested on whether permission to reproduce the images was sought from the individuals and whether or not it was department policy to not include names. Officers stated that, given the department's extensive experience in this area, the communications area has a policy of securing the rights and necessary approvals to reproduce images. Dr Harmer explained that the department has a broad policy as to whether or not people are named, and if there were a case of some individuals not

wishing to be named, this would be applied to the whole report for the sake of consistency.2 However in this case, it was determined that the identification of

Journals of the Senate: No.22- 26 August 2008 , p. 683 .

2 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011 , p. 5.

39

34

individuals did not serve any purpose and would have involved additional permissions being sought and further discussions with the individual.3

Reporting

5.4 The committee noted the reports produced for Closing the Gap, including the Prime Minister's report, the Coordinator-General's report and the COAG Reform Council's (CRC) report. The committee queried why the reports are released months apart. 4 The committee further emphasised that there is confusion in comparing the three processes, where people expect the reports to contain an update of the previous report, and do not realise it is not an equal comparison.5

5.5 The department explained that while the reports appear to be of a similar nature, they serve different purposes. The Prime Minister's report reinforces the importance and significance of the anniversary of the apology, the Coordinator­ General's report focuses on 29 communities specifically selected by COAG for 'intensive attention' while the CRC's report is the main accountability mechanism, allowing measurement of progress made in reaching the Closing the Gap objective. In addition to serving different purposes, there were logistical difficulties related to the timing of reports as the Coordinator-General's report relies on data such as the NAPLAN testing, the release of which needs to go through state, territory and Commonwealth approval before it can be applied to the report. Officers further explained:

The current Prime Minister's report 2011 updated on a couple of measures where there is new data. Because the CRC will report in June , it will have an update of more of the targets . So the PM's report next year will obviously have more detail and the year after even more detail as we can get a good longitudinal examination of how things are fairing over time ... The other thing to bear in mind is that, with the Coordinator­ General's report, a couple of the critical indicators, such as school results being a good one, the school results stuff will still only be available after the NAPLAN testing, ACARA, which is the body set up to make sure that we are comparing apples with apples, ministerial sign-off all of that has to occur.6

School Attendance

5.6 The committee sought further information on school attendance in relation to the Closing the Gap program. Dr Harmer infonned the committee that FaHCSIA has overarching responsibility for reporting and collating the information, but are not

3 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011 , p. 21.

4 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011 , p. 6.

5 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011 , p . 7.

6 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011 , pp 6- 8.

40

35

responsible for the six targets within Closing the Gap. 7 The committee asked officers to detail figures for income management recipients and the breaching provision available if their children do not attend school. Officers explained that the breaching provision is only available in communities in which the SEAM trial is taking place. Where SEAM is taking place in the Northern Territory, as of 1 February 2011,

38 customers have been suspended for enrolment or attendance issues. Officers noted that the suspension of income support payments means that these individuals will still receive any other entitlements to which they are eligible.8 The committee asked what processes are in place to follow up on the impact involved in this suspension. Officers replied:

During the period that a person is suspended under the SEAM process, we have a review at the two , four and 10 week stage with our social worker, and they also have ongoing interaction with the education liaison officer during that period. 9

5.7 Officers also explained that there are times when the affected family may be referred to other organisations, such as appropriate NGOs, to support them during that . d 10 peno .

Housing

5.8 The committee sought updates on the figures for the number of houses built, and tenancy agreements in place. Officers detailed the figures on a state and territory­ wide basis. 11 Dr Harmer reminded the committee that while the department is the funding body, the state and territory governments are responsible for the negotiating of tenancy agreements. Officers informed the committee that, despite a 'rocky start', the program is currently exceeding the targets. 12

5.9 The committee asked officers to respond to reported claims that houses under construction differed significantly from the original plans and that one-third of the cost of the home was being taken up in administrative costs. Officers stated that it is incorrect that 30 per cent is taken up in administrative costs, as the costs of program management are capped at 8 per cent. The costs are similar to other large scale construction projects, especially considering workers need to be brought in to remote

locations. 13 In response to houses differing from original plans, officers noted this could be attributed to the four bedroom houses that were built originally. The review

7 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011, pp 12-13.

8 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011 , pp 14--15 and 19.

9 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011 , p. 20.

10 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011 , p. 20.

11 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011 , pp 21 - 22.

12 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011 , p. 23 .

13 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011 , p. 23.

41

36

commissioned in 2009 found that these houses did not solve the problem of over­ crowding. The response to this was to provide more 'modest' , three bedroom dwellings, in close proximity to each other. However officers emphasised that the housing mix will reflect the diversity of the population in each community. 14

5.10 The committee sought further information as to how numbers of bedrooms and houses for each community are determined. Officers informed the committee there is a housing reference group made up of representatives of the community. The Commonwealth and Northern Territory Government regularly meet with the housing reference group from the beginning to the end of the project. 15 The committee asked officers to provide the number of one and two bedroom houses projected to be built between now and the close of the program. Officers explained that there are no set numbers and that house design and the number of bedrooms per house have always been developed in conjunction with the housing reference group for each community, to ensure the housing reflects the diversity of each community. 16

5.11 The committee put to the department that in order to ensure efficiency, building a four-bedroom house would be cheaper than building two two-bedroom houses. 17 Officers explained that this is not necessarily so:

We generate the same amount of rent for a four-bedroom home as for a two-bedroom home, so the matter then becomes how that four-bedroom home is filled .18

Employment and Economic Development

5.12 The committee noted reports stating that the 20 per cent target of Indigenous employment within the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program (SIHIP) has been exceeded and sought further information as to how this is assessed. Officers reported that Indigenous employees currently make up over 30 per cent of the

SIHIP workforce, listing the number of Indigenous employees within the total number of employees. 19 Officers detailed the training programs involved and the number of employees achieving these accreditations, highlighting the importance of education complementing the employment opportunities?0

5.13 The committee asked officers to respond to the ANA 0 Audit Report No. 23 2010-11 Home Ownership on Indigenous Land Program, that stated the plans to use

14 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011 , pp 23- 24.

15 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011 , p. 25.

16 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011, p. 28 .

17 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011 , p. 28 .

18 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011, p. 28.

19 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011 , p. 38 .

20 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011 , pp 38-39.

42

37

CDEP participants were not implemented due to priority being given to completing construction of the houses in a timely manner. Officers responded that statement was in relation to a single large construction project managed by a particular firm that was not within SIHIP, and therefore did not have the specific employment targets that

SIHIP is required to meet. 21

5.14 The committee asked officers to provide further information on the 'Learn. Earn. Legend!' program. Officers informed the committee it is a branding that has been given to a range of activities that involve, among other things, mentoring Indigenous young people at schoo1. 22 The Minister further explained:

It is important. . .in getting kids to school, getting them active in school and making them want to stay in school...It is saying, 'Learn; go to school and get an education so you can earn and get a job and become a legend or a role model in your community.' 23

Health Issues

Dialysis

5.15 The committee sought further information on the department's report into the delivery of treatment for kidney disease among Indigenous people in remote communities in Central Australia. Officers informed the committee that the report covers a broad range of issues, including social and service provision issues, homelessness and projected demands. The report will look at medium and long-term needs and will be circulated to each of the stakeholder states. Officers noted the report will contain a number of recommendations, which the states are aware they will need to respond to. 24

Smoking

5.16 The committee queried the smoking rate for Indigenous Australians. Officers informed the committee that in 2002, 51 per cent of Indigenous Australians were smoking. The 2008 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey reports the figure at 47 per cent. Officers explained the National Healthcare Agreement's goal is to reduce the national daily smoking rate for the general population to 1 0 per cent, and to halve the smoking rate for Indigenous Australians by 2018 ? 5

21 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011 , pp 40-41.

22 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011 , p. 45.

23 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011 , p. 45.

24 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011, pp 50-51.

25 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011, pp 52- 53.

43

38

5.17 The committee sought further information on the recruitment process involved for regional tobacco coordinators. Officers reported the following recruitment figures as at 23 February 2011:

• 12 out of a possible 57 regional tobacco coordinators;

• 12 out of a possible 171 tobacco action workers; and

• 22 healthy lifestyle workers. 26

Officers noted the recruitment processes commenced at the end of 20 1 0 and are actively ongoing.

Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

5.18 The committee sought further information on prevention measures in place for F ASD. The department informed the committee the 2009 NHMRC alcohol guidelines have been distributed on brochures and posters and are also available on the alcohol.gov.au website. The department is providing $768,852 for the National Drug Research Institute and the National Indigenous FASD Resource Project to develop communication materials that will help provide a platform to develop more targeted campaigns for specific at"risk communities. Officers noted these materials will be available in December 2011. 27

5.19 Officers informed the committee that the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, working with the University of Sydney, have developed a diagnostic instrument that will help clinicians diagnose babies and children affected by F ASD which is due to be completed 30 June 2011. Officers also noted the George Institute, Fitzroy Crossing, is working on similar diagnostic issues. 28

Suicide Prevention Strategy

5.20 The committee sought further information on the development of a suicide prevention strategy. Officers informed the committee the department is meeting with the Australian Suicide Prevention Advisory Council and the development of an Indigenous suicide prevention strategy is a priority. 29

5.21 Officers explained there are measures in place to provide an immediate response, which involve working with state governments and local suicide prevention programs. 30 However officers highlighted the Commonwealth's role in long-term

26 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011, pp 54-55.

27 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011, p. 56.

28 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011 , p. 57.

29 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011, pp 58- 59.

30 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011 , p. 59.

44

39

responses, including funding at-risk communities and the collation of research and evidence to ensure more effective responses in the future. 31

Senator Claire Moore Chair

31 Proof Estimates Hansard, 25 February 2011, pp 59-60.

45

46

Appendix 1

Administrative Arrangement Order 14 September 2010 Ch;anged Responsibility

Topic Previously Res ponsible Now Responsible

Australian Sports Anti-Doping Department of Health and PM&C Authority (ASDA) Ageing

Australian Sports Commission Department of Health and PM&C (AS C) Ageing

Australian Sports Foundation Department of Health and PM&C Ageing

Community Compact FaHCSIA PM&C

Disaster Recovery FaHCSIA Attorney-General's

Department

Housing Affordability Fund FaHCSIA SEWPaC

Housing Supply and the FaHCSIA SEWPaC

Housing Supply Council

Indigenous Capital Assistance DEEWR Indigenous Business

Scheme Australia

Indigenous Cultural Remains FaHCSIA PM&C

Program

National Rental Affordability FaHCSIA SEWPaC

Scheme

Philanthropy FaHCSIA PM&C

Volunteering FaHCSIA PM&C

FaHCSIA Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

SEWPaC Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

PM&C Departments of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

DEEWR Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations

47

48

The Senate

Economics

Legislation Committee

Additional estimates 2010-11

March 2011

49

© Commonwealth of Australia 2011

ISBN 978-1-74229-370-7

Printed by the Senate Printing Unit, Parliament House, Canberra.

50

Senate Economics Legislation Committee

Members

Senator Annette Hurley, Chair Senator Alan Eggleston, Deputy Chair Senator David Bushby Senator Doug Cameron

Senator Louise Pratt Senator Nick Xenophon

Secretariat

Mr John Hawkins, Secretary Mr CJ Sautelle, Research Officer Ms Morana Kavgic, Administrative Officer

PO Box 6100 Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Ph: 02 6277 3540 Fax: 02 6277 5719 E-mail: economics.sen@aph.gov.au

South Australia, ALP Western Australia, LP Tasmania, LP New South Wales, ALP Western Australia, ALP

South Australia, IND

Internet: http: //www. a ph. gov .au/ senate/committee/ economics cttelindex.htm

Ill

51

52

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Membership of Committee ................................................................................................ iii

Additional Estimates 2010-11 ............................................................................ 1

Report to the Senate ................................................................................................. 1

Introduction .. ............ .......... .. .. ... ..... .. .................. ... ........... ................... ..... .. ..... .. ... .. 1

Pmtfolio structures and outcomes .................................... .. .... .... .. ...... .... ................ 1

Questions on notice ................................................................................................ 1

General comtnents ... ....... ........ ... .. .... ... ....... ......... ..... ........ ... ......... .............. .. ... ........ 2

Record of proceedings ............................................................................................ 2

Matters raised- Innovation, Industry, Science and Research portfolio ................. 2

Matters raised- Resources, Energy and Tourism portfolio .... ........ ........ .. ............ .4

Matters raised -Treasury portfolio .. .... .... .. .... ............................................ .... .... .... 5

Appendix ! ......................................................................................................... 11

Abbreviations .......................................................................................................... 11

Appendix 2 ......................................................................................................... 13

Index to Proof Hansard transcripts ....................................................................... 13

23 February 2011 ....... ... .. ... ...... .... ..... ............................................ .... .. ........... ....... 13

24 February 2011 ... .. ................ .. ........................... ...... ..................... ........ .. .......... . 13

Appendix 3 ......................................................................................................... 15

Documents tabled ................................................................................................... 15

23 February 2011 .. ...... ............ ... .... .............. ................ .......................... .. ..... ...... .. 15

24 February 2011 ......... .. .............. ........ .......... .......................... .... ......................... 15

Appendix 4 ......................................................................................................... 17

Portfolio structure and outcomes for the Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Portfolio .................................................................................................. 17

53

Appendix 5 ......................................................................................................... 19

Portfolio structure and outcomes for the Resources, Energy and Tourism Portfolio ................................................................................................................... 19

Appendix 6 ......................................................................................................... 21

Portfolio structure and outcomes for the Treasury portfolio ............................. 21

VI

54

Additional Estimates 2010-11

Report to the Senate

Introduction

1.1 On 10 February 2011 the Senate referred to the committee for examination and report the following documents in relation to the Innovation, Industry, Science and Research; Resources, Energy and Tourism; and Treasury portfolios: 1

• particulars of proposed additional expenditure in respect of the year ending on 30 June 2011 [Appropriation Bill (No.3) 2010-11];

• particulars of certain proposed additional expenditure in respect of the year ending on 30 June 2011 [Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2010-11 ];

• the Final Budget Outcome 2010-11; and

• issues from the advances under the annual Appropriation Acts for 2009-10.

Portfolio structures and outcomes

1.2 The committee notes that no changes have been made to the portfolio structures and outcomes of the three portfolios since the 201 0-11 Budget Estimates round.

1.3 The structures and outcomes for each of the portfolios are summarised in the appendices as indicated below:

• Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (Appendix 4);

• Resources, Energy and Tourism (Appendix 5); and

• Treasury (Appendix 6).

Questions on notice

1.4 The committee draws the attention of all departments and agencies to the deadline of Friday, 8 April 2011 for the receipt of answers to questions taken on notice from this round. As the committee is required to report before responses to questions are due, this report has been prepared without reference to any of these responses. The secretariat has prepared indices for questions taken on notice during

and after the hearings and these will be made available on the following website: http: //www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/economics ctte/estimates/index.htm.

1

Journals of th e Senate, 10 February 2011, p. 581

55

Page2

General comments

1.5 The committee received evidence from Senator the Hon Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research; Senator the Hon Nick Sherry, Minister Assisting on Deregulation and Public Sector Superannuation, Minister for Small Business and Minister Assisting the Minister for Tourism; Senator the Hon Penny Wong, Minister for Finance and Deregulation; and officers from the Innovation, Industry, Science and Research; Resources, Energy and Tourism; and Treasury portfolios.

1.6 The committee thanks the ministers and officers who attended the hearings for their assistance.

1. 7 The committee conducted hearings on 23 and 24 February 2011. In total the committee met for 21 hours, excluding breaks.

Record of proceedings

1.8 This report does not attempt to analyse the evidence presented over the two days of hearings. However, it does include a brief list of the main issues that were traversed by the committee for all portfolios.

1.9 Copies of the Hansard transcripts are available on the internet at

http: //www .aph.gov .au/hansard/senate/commttee/committee transcript.asp?MODE= Y EAR&ID=82&YEAR=2011. Copies are also tabled with this report for the information of the Senate.

Matters raised- Innovation, Industry, Science and Research portfolio

1.10 On 23 February 2011, the committee examined the estimates for the:

• Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO);

• Office of the Chief Scientist;

• Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO);

• Australian Research Council (ARC);

• IP Australia; and

• Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research.

1.11 Matters examined included the following:

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) 2

• opening statement from the CSIRO Chief Executive (pp 4-5);

2

Page numbers refer to the Committee Hansard, Wednesday 23 February 2011. Transcript page numbers in the Proof Hansard may differ slightly from the Official Hansard.

56

Page 3

• CSIRO's Ngara wireless technology and the NBN (pp 7-9);

• staffing cuts within the CSIRO's Environment group (pp 9-1 0);

• incursion of the Asian Honey Bee into Australia (pp 10-11 );

• scientific papers on, and issues relating to climate change (pp 11-12); and

• CSIRO contingency funding (pp 12-13).

Office of the Chief Scientist

• Chief Scientist's recent decision to resign from her post (pp 13-14, 15, 17 -18);

• role of the Chief Scientist, and input of the Chief Scientist to senior members of government (pp 14-15, 16)

• Copenhagen Climate Summit (pp 15 -16); and

• role of the scientific community in informing public discussion on climate change (pp 16-1 7) .

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO)

• Comcare report relating to OH&S standards at ANSTO (pp 18-19, 22);

• an ANSTO public telephone survey on nuclear issues (p. 19);

• ANSTO lobbyist on the Victorian Government lobbying register (p. 20);

• participation in the Generation IV International Forum (pp 20-21 );

• status of supplies for nuclear medical isotopes (pp 22-23); and

• definition and purpose of behavioural suspensions (p. 23).

Australian Research Council (ARC)

• procedure for awarding ARC grants (pp 23-25); and

• the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative (pp 25-29)

IP Australia

• IP issues relating to research and development legislation (p. 29).

Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research - outcome 2 - Science and Research

• ERA initiative (pp 30-33);

• use of social media websites by departmental staff (pp 33-36);

• Collaborative Research Networks program (pp 36-37);

• Cooperative Research Centres program (pp 37-41);

• Inspiring Australia program (pp 41-42); and

• Prime Minister's Science, Engineering and Innovation Council (p. 44).

57

Page4

Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research - outcome 1 -Innovation and Industry

• funding and potential staffing cuts across the department (pp 44-46);

• manufacturing industry issues (pp 46-48);

• R&D legislation and related IP issues (pp 48-49);

• car industry programs (pp 49-54, 55);

• departmental spending on media monitoring (pp 54-55);

• Book Industry Strategy Group (pp 55-56);

• Steel and Rail advocates, and the Oakajee port development (pp57-58);

• COAG decision to introduce a six-star rating for mandatory building energy efficiency (pp58-59);

• implications of recent natural disasters for Australian Building Codes (pp 59-60);

• National Construction Code (p. 60);

• meetings between Senator Sherry and union officials (pp 60-66);

• abolition of the Small Business Ministerial Council (p. 66); and

• 'sham contracting' in small business (pp 67-68).

Matters raised- Resources, Energy and Tourism portfolio

1.12 On 23 February 2011, the committee examined the estimates for the:

• Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism;

• Tourism Australia; and

• Geoscience Australia.

1.13 Matters examined included the following:

Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism -outcome 1 -resources and energy

• Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute (pp 71-74, 85-86);

• Low Emission Technology Demonstration Fund (pp 7 4-78);

• exploration permits and regulatory framework for deep sea oil drilling (pp 78-81);

• ongoing activities of PPTEP after Montara oil spill (pp 81-82);

• potential impact of a carbon tax (pp 82-83);

• alternate fuels and the LPG and ethanol industries (pp 83-85);

• impact of the resources boom on the economy and projected labour shortages (p. 85);

58

PageS

• forthcoming Energy White Paper (pp 85-86); and

• energy security issues (pp 87 -88) .

Geoscience Australia

• impact of seismic tesbng on scallop populations (pp 89-90).

Department of R esources, Energy and Tourism - outcome 2 - tourism; and Tourism Australia

• Tourism Australia's most recent statement of expectations and statement of intent (pp 90-91);

• corporate issues concerning Tourism Australia (pp 91-92);

• Tourism Australia campaign and trade events (pp 93 , 96 -97);

• TQUAL grants program (pp 93 , 95);

• Business Events Strategy Implementation Group (pp 93-94);

• international engagements of the Tourism Minister (p . 94);

• Tourism Research Australia (pp 94-95);

• National Long-Term Tourism Strategy (pp 95 -96);

• Aussie Specialist Program (p . 97);

• inbound and outbound tourist numbers to and from Australia (p 97 -98); and

• tourism in Western Australia (pp 98 -99).

Matters raised- Treasury portfolio

1.14 On 23 February 2011, the committee examined the estimates for the:

• Treasury- outcome 1 : Markets Group; and

• Productivity Commission.

1.15 On 24 February 2011, the committee examined the estimates for the :

• Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC);

• Treasury- outcome 1: Revenue Group;

• Australian Taxation Office (ATO);

• Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS);

• Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC);

• Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA);

• Treasury- outcome 1: Macroeconomic Group;

• Treasury - outcome 1: Fiscal Group;

• Australian Office of Financial Management (AOFM); and

59

Page 6

• Commonwealth Grants Commission (CGC).

1.16 Matters examined included the following:

TreasUiy- outcome 1: Markets Group

• Mortgage exit fees and the government's proposed banking reforms (pp 103-113);

• Code of Banking Practice (pp 113-114);

• EFTPOS transactions (pp 114-115);

• threshold for investigation of foreign investments by FIRB (pp 115-118);

• Chinese and US investment in Australia (pp 118-119);

• bilateral trade agreements (pp 119-120);

• Future of Finance Advice reforms (pp 120-123);

• competition in the market for trading in listed shares (pp 123-124);

• recommendations of the Cooper Review into superannuation (pp 124-125);

• Strong Super reforms (pp 125-126);

• National Consumer Credit Protection Act (pp 126-127); and

• OECD National Contact Point for Australia (pp 127-129).

Productivity Commission

• opening statement on developments in relation to the Productivity Commission's work programme (pp 130-131);

• data on funding for private schools used in the Report on Government Services (pp 131-132);

• Productivity Commission staff with qualifications in ecologically sustainable development (pp 132-133);

• progress of forthcoming Productivity Commission reports (pp 133-134);

• Productivity Commission report on executive remuneration (pp 136-137); and

• Productivity Commission report into gambling reform (pp 137 -138).

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) 3

• opening statement covering ASIC's ongoing activities (pp 4-5);

• ASIC action against banks relating to unconscionable fees or unfair contracts (pp 5-6);

• stock market competition and .ASIC's market supervision (pp 6-8, 15, 1 7 -18);

3

Page numbers refer to the Proof Committee Hansard, Thursday 24 February 2011. Transcript page numbers in the Proof Hansard may differ sli ghtly from the Official Hansard.

60

Page 7

• potential merger between the ASX and the SGX (pp 7-8, 15, 18-19);

• Chi-X market licence application (p. 8);

• regulation of advice in the property investment industry (pp 8-9);

• corporate governance issues and the operation ofboards and AGMs (pp 9-11);

• topics arising from ASIC's recent summer school (pp 11-13 );

• mortgage exit fees (pp 13-14);

• funding for legal cases pursued by ASIC (pp 14-15);

• issues relating to secured lending investment companies (pp 15-16);

• structure of ASIC's program areas (p. 19); and

• questions on notice from the previous estimates in October 2010 (pp 19-21 ).

Treaswy- outcome 1: Revenue Group and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) • expressions of thanks to Dr Henry for his service over the past decade as Treasury secretary (p. 21);

• upcoming tax summit (pp 21-22);

• proposed mining tax (pp 22-29, 32-33, 34-36, 45);

• flood reconstruction levy (pp 26 , 29-31 , 44-45);

• effects of 'two-speed' economies and the structure of the Australian economy (pp 33-34);

• ATO change program and staffing (36-41);

• proposed carbon price (pp 41-42);

• superannuation issues and the Cooper Review (pp 42-43, 47-8, 50);

• R&D tax legislation (p. 44);

• housing affordability issues (pp 45-47); and

• legal cases undertaken by the ATO (pp 48-49).

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

• opening statement regarding the upcoming ABS census (pp 50-51);

• ABS quarterly CPI report (p. 51);

• superannuation fund returns data (p. 52);

• estimates of residential property vacancies in the census (pp 52-3);

• increase in ABS activities since 2008-09 (p . 53);

• Northern Territory enumeration strategy for the census (pp 53-54); and

• ABS data on victims of crime (pp 54-55).

61

Page8

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC/

• voluntary administration of the RED group booksellers (p. 55);

• joint marketing of natural gas from the North West shelf in WA (pp 55-56);

• legal action relating to inclusive pricing laws (p. 56);

• Fuel Consultative Committee (p. 56);

• time frames for completing small business investigations (pp 56-57);

• mediators under the Franchising Code of Conduct (p. 57);

• milk pricing and the dairy industry (pp 57-58, 59-61 , 62-64);

• telecommunications scams (p. 58);

• financial sector issues and investigations (pp 58-59, 65-66);

• flood insurance issues (pp 61-62);

• ACCC report into airport car parks (pp 64-65);

• ACCC investigation into breast imaging technology (p. 65);

• applications before the ACCC regarding the A WB (pp 66, 68-69);

• regulation of the credit ratings industry (p. 66); and

• fuel prices (p. 67).

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA)

• opening statement outlining the impact of the recent natural disasters on industries regulated by APRA, and the Basel banking reforms (pp 68-70);

• request for investigation into Sandhurst Trustees (pp 70 -71 );

• prudential issues relating to superannuation funds (pp 72-74);

• definitional issues surrounding natural disaster insurance (pp 74 -75); and

• liquidity coverage ratio agreement with the RBA (pp 75-76).

Treasury- outcome 1: Macroeconomic Group

• opening statement outlining the impact of recent natural disasters on the Australian economy (pp 76-77);

• superannuation guarantee and retirement incomes (pp 77 -82);

• impact of recent natural disasters on sectors of the Australian economy (pp 82-83);

• current interaction between fiscal and monetary policy, and impact of stimulus measures in Australia and overseas (pp 84-87, 90, 92-94);

4 Transcript page numbers refer to the Proof Hansard and may differ slightly from the Official Hansard.

62

Page 9

• reassessment of Australia's structural budget position (p. 87);

• Australia's current terms of trade and their impact on the economy (pp 87-90, 91);

• investment by Chinese and Australian mining companies in Africa (pp 90-91);

• Australia's balance of.trade and current account deficit (pp 91-92);

• Australia's underlying cash balance (p. 94); and

• a report authored by Sen, Fitoussi and Stiglitz about economic measurement tools (p. 95).

TreasUiy - outcome 1: Fiscal Group

• climate change modelling (pp 95-111 );

• COAG reform of health and hospitals funding (pp 111-112);

• purpose of the conservative bias allowance (pp 112-114);

• government financial transactions (p. 115);

• proposal to discuss a mining tax at COAG (pp 116-117); and

• women's workforce participation (pp 117 -118).

Australian Office of Financial Management (AOFM)

• AOFM's current business outlook (pp 118-119);

• total Commonwealth government securities on issue (pp 119-122); and

• government investment in the residential mortgage-backed securities market (pp 122-123).

Commonwealth Grants Commission (CGC)

• Treasurer's terms of reference for the distribution of GST revenue in 2011-12 (pp 123-125);

• impact of gambling revenue and mining royalties on the GST distribution process (pp 125-127); and

• discussions concerning a floor under which a state or territory's return on GST cannot fall (pp 127-128).

Senator Annette Hurley Chair

63

64

ABS

ACCC

ANSTO

AOFM

APRA

ARC

ASIC

ASX

ATO

AWB

COAG

CPI

CSIRO

EFTPOS

ERA

FIRB

GST

IP

LPG

NBN

OECD

OH&S

Appendix 1

Abbreviations

Australian Bureau of Statistics

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation

Australian Office of Financial Management

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority

Australian Research Council

Australian Securities and Investments Commission

Australian Stock Exchange

Australian Taxation Office

Australian Wheat Board

Council of Australian Governments

Consumer Price Index

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

Electronic Funds Transfer at Point of Sale

Excellence in Research for Australia

Foreign Investment Review Board

Goods and Services Tax

Intellectual Property

Liquefied Petroleum Gas

National Broadband Network

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Occupational Health & Safety

65

Page 12

PPTEP

R&D

RBA

SGX

TQUAL

PPT Exploration and Production company

Research and Development

Reserve Bank of Australia

Singapore Exchange Ltd

TQUAL Grants- Tourism Quality Projects

66

Appendix 2

Index to Proof Hansard transcripts 1

23 February 2011

Innovation, Industry, Science and Research portfolio

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) 4

Office of the Chief Scientist 13

Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) 18

Australian Research Council 23

IP Australia 29

Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research 30

Resources, Energy and Tourism portfolio

Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism- resources and energy

Geoscience Australia

71

89

Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism- Tourism; and Tourism Australia 90

Treasury portfolio

Treasury - outcome 1: markets group

Productivity Commission

24 February 2011

Treasury portfolio (continued)

103

130

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) 4

Treasury- outcome 1: Revenue Group and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) 21

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

Transcript page numbers may differ slightly in the Official Hansard.

67

50

55

Page 14

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA)

Treasury - outcome 1: Macroeconomic Group

Treasury - outcome 1: Fiscal Group

Australian Office of Financial Management (AOFM)

Commonwealth Grants Commission (CGC)

68

68

76

95

118

123

23 February 2011

Appendix 3

Documents tabled

• Received from Dr Megan Clark, Chief Executive, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation: CSIRO Organisational Strategy 2011-2015.

• Received from Ms Jane Madden, Head of Tourism Division, Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism: Statement of Intent - Role of Tourism Australia.

• Received from Ms Jane Madden, Head of Tourism Division, Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism: Statement of Expectations for Tourism Australia.

• Received from Ms Jane Madden, Head of Tourism Division, Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism: TQUAL Grants Application Form.

• Received from Ms Jane Madden, Head of Tourism Division, Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism: TQUAL Grants Program Guidelines for 2011-12.

• Received from Ms Jane Madden, Head of Tourism Division, Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism: TQUAL Grants Program Frequently Asked Questions.

• Received from Senator Mathias Cormann: Orders for the Production of Documents - Statutory Agencies or Officeholders.

24 February 2011

• Received from Dr David Gruen, Executive Director, Macroeconomic Group, Treasury: Opening Statement for Macroeconomic Group.

• Received from Mr Robert Nicholl, Chief Executive, Australian Office of Financial Management: Nominal CGS Yields Jul2007-Feb 2011.

69

70

Appendix 4

Portfolio structure and outcomes for the Innovation, Science and Research Portfolio 1

Portfolio Minister

Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Senator the Hon Kim Carr

Minister for Small Business' Senator the Hon Nick Sherry

Department of Innovation, lndustry, Science and Research Portfolio Secretary: Mr Mafl\ I Pa erson AO

O utcom;; : Enhan" ed opportunities fo< bu sin<>ss inno·.ration and growlh through nartion a.lleadership in converting knoWledge and ideas inuo new processes. services. produe!S and marketable devices; fostering business ooopecration ; cil <>livering ad'Vi,e;

assisiLlnc e-: an d. business. an d onfin·e ..

O utcom e 2: T h e gen eration. utilisation and awaren ess of science and research knowledge through inves!men t in research , trainfng and inh"as:t:Iructure, scienc e oom munhcation . skill

devel, pment and co!Jaboraoon with industry, universities and res

Agen cy - I? A ustralia Oire=r G ener al: Mr ? tulip oonan Outcome: Increased innova non. investm-ent and trad'e in Austra.lia. an cl by Au stral ian s overseas. throug th€

administration of !he registrable intel lecrual p[Qperty rig:hts system, promoting pu'bl ic awarene;s and indu si.ry engagement. and govemm <>nt.

Agency - Ausrrallan o · A.b:uiginal and T oires

Strait Islander Swdi€s (AIAT SIS) Principal { CEO}: Mr Russell T aylor Outcom e.: Further un dlerstan d.in.g of Australian Indigen ou s cu ltures, past ancl throu gh

undertaking an d. publi·shing research, and providing ac cess to pri t .3ndl audiovisu al collection s.

Agency - Common wealth S cientific and lnclustnal -RHearch Org.:mi sation {CSl RO }

Chie f Executive Officer: Or Megan CLark Outcome: Innovative scientific .>rtd technology soluti01ns to na.ticnal <>haflenges and opportun11ies to bene ·t indu stiy . the errvironm ent an d the com munity. th roug scientiii

and a d·.1ice.

Agency - A u.stralian Nuclear Sei ell.O'? and Tech n.ology Organisation (A NSTO) Chi;;f Exi?CUiive Offic er: Dr Adi Pa!erson Outcom>2: k_ nowiedge, inno'lf"afi\f-e: capac ity

and healthcare !hrou g.h nuclear-based fa.cili'tlies. research. training. produ.::!.s. se rvi0>2s and advice to Government. industry. the educatior, sector and me Australian pop ulation.

Agency- Au stralian Research Council (ARC ) C bief Executive Officer: ProieoSsor M arga.ret Sheil

Outcome: Growth o f knov.1edge and innov ati<>n through providing poticy advice. measuring r e'Sea rch e xceltene>e and m an aging research funding schem es.

Agency -Australian Institute of Manne Science ( AlMS) Chief Executive Offic er:. Dr Jan Poiner Outcom

and sustainable developmen t of A ustralia's marine r-esource.s through innovative marine a nd1 1echnology.

Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements 2010-11 , Innovation, Industry, Science and Research portfolio, p. 4.

71

72

Appendix 5

Portfolio structure and outcomes for the Resources, Energy and Tourism Portfolio 1

P\JirttoDo Minister ror Resources and Enf3"·!lY

ldrl.tster far Tollrtsm 111eHoo Ferguson AMIVP

Department or RBaou roea, tnergy an d To ur ism Fo.rtt'Qllo secreta:y· Dret'i' aar1r.e

outcome 1: Til!? trprm•Ed streflgth, co:rp€ttiileneE-s and :s t:lL'lla':)lty a: me resources. energy and tour>&.n lm:tl!IS'ir1es

Austra!Ja's prosp:rll:y tnil" OI.)!;,Ii"• lf1lllel'l'Eillt31ion

gOllf3"nme t poll:y ano pregam;.

G&os cle nee Auatralla Of11 ce:­

Cf" ,_., ·ts Agram

_ outcome 1: gcvemll"P-nt ro try

a no ccmnmlt'J' en 111e eccncmc.

3l · en11r _n taJ managemeJ 1 o'

me na110rfs na1Ur.;j esOl.ll!ces ttrl!ough enablng a<:ceGs to geoso B"ltt'ie a:"l(l e.pa1lal • orrr.,uoo.

Nation al otrs h'!:•re $a'teoty

Autn

·:. "'Tier Ms .lane CUtter

outc

T(Hlr'lsm A ustrali a Ma'l.3!1ng arector M" Andrew M:B•oy

outoom a 1 : ncrease tor

d8;tlr t101, strengtt.;,n the 1-­

tra•o'el dll:.tr:t urJJn :sys tem, and = '!Tfl)ute

to tr.e de11elopwent 01 a suetainabl= tO'Jllsm nduetry · •ougn consurrer mank'?11:l>;;l. tra.de· CP-Veiopm:--nt and r ese.arc:h actvmes.

Aual!rallan so.lar lnatltut& Execut!lie r:::uector M!' !v'ialii: l'W

o utcome 1: Encaur39e· nncvat.an cosi effectue In sola;

eteJgy tect.noiogE5 to acce\Er,;,t;, r-­ OC\ll"IT'S'Ciail :through

lmm• leoge oul!dtng and c«

A tral'- ":Strles and eGearch

lnStltlib:m s.

Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements 2010-11, Resources, Energy and Tourism portfolio, p. 5.

73

74

Appendix 6

Portfolio structure and outcomes for the Treasury portfolio 1 Portfolio ljlinister- Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer The on '/J ayne Swan MP Assist an t Tr easurer and Minister for Financ ial Services and Superannuation

The Hon Bill Shorten MP Parliamentary Sec retary t o the Treasurer The Hon David Bradbury MP

I

Department of the Treasury Se<:retar1: Dr Ken Henry AC

ln fom1ed decisions on the development and implementation of policies to impro;•e the welfbeing of the Australian people, including by 3Chieving strong, sustainable economic grov.'ttl, through the provision of a:tvice to oovemment and the efficient administration oi fed eral fin:Jnc tal relations I

Australian Bureau of Statistics Statistician: Mr Brian Pink

lnfom1ed decisions, researc.h and discussion v.ilhin governments 3rtd the community by leading the collec on , anafvsis and provision of hiq h ouafitv. objective and relevan t statistical inform3lion I

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Mr Gmeme Samuel AO

lawfu l competition, cons.umer prore ction, and regulated national infrastrucime ma!'J(et:; and services thmugh regulation, including enforcement, education, price moniioring and detem1ining the terms of access to infra$tructure services

I

Australian Office of Financial Management Chief Executive Officer: Mr Robert Nicholl

To enhance the Commonv.=...alth's c.apacity to manage its net de.bt portfo!Eo, offering the prosi}eci of S(lVings in debt servicing costs and an improvement in the net worth of the Commonwealth over time

I

Australian Pru dential Regulation Authority Chairman: Dr Jotm Laker

Enha nced public confidence rn Australia's financial insiitutions framework of prudential regulation which ba lances safely and efficiencv. oompetiti.on . con testabflitv and competitive neutrality I

Australian Se curities and Investments Commission Chaim1an: Mr Tony D'Aioisio

Outcon e 1: Improved confidence in financial market integrity and protection of investors and consumers through research, policy. ed ue

I

Australian Tax ation Office Commissloner: Mr Michael D'Asc enzo

Confidence in the admirristraiion of aspects of Australia's taxatio n and superannuation systems through helping people underotand their rights and obligations. improving ease of compliance access to beneiit@ . and manaqin

Commonwealth Grants Commission Secretary: Mr John Spasojevi c

Informed Governm ent decis.ions on fiscal equalisation between tire States and Territories truough advice and recommendations on tile distribution of GST revenue and c.are grants

I

Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee Convenor: Ms Joanne Ree5

lnfom1ed decisions !Yt Gove rnment on issues relating to corporations regulation a d financial orod'ucts . sen1ices and martets mrouqh independent and expert advice

Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements 2010-11 , Treasury portfolio, pp 4-5 .

75

Page 22

Inspector -General of Taxation Inspector-General: Mr Ali Noroozi

Improved lax admtnistration through comrmmrty consliltation, rev few and independent advice to Government

I

National Competition Council President: Mr David Cr.a:v.ford

Compeution in markets. thai are dependent on access to na tionally significaflt monopoly infrastructure, through recommendations and deciskms promotino the efficient operation of, use of and investment in infmstructure I

Office of the Auditing and Assurance Standard·s Board Chairman: Ms Merran Kelsa"

The iormulatlon 31ld making of audffing and assurance standards tha.! are used by auditors of Australian entity financial reports or for other auditing and assurance engagements

I

Office of the Australian Accounting Standards Board Chaimmn: Mr Kevin Stevenson

The fom1ufation and making of accounting standards that are ue-ed by Australian entities to prepare fim.mdal reports and enable users of these reports to make lnfom1ed decisions I

Productivity Commission Chair:man: Mr Gary Banks AO

WeH-intom1ed policy decisron -making and pubtic understanding on matters relating to Australia's productivity and living; standards, .based on independe nt and transparent analysis from a communily-'hide perspeciNe

I

Royal Australian Mim Chief Officer: Mr Ross MacD iam1id

The coinage needs of the Australian economy, collectors a111d foreign countnes are met through the manufacture an d sale of circulatino coins, collector coins and other minted like products

76

The Senate_

Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Committee

Additional estimates 2010-11

March 2011

77

© Commonwealth of Australia 2011 ISBN 978-1-74229-358-5

This document was produced by the Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Secretariat and printed by the Senate Printing Unit, Parliament House, Canberra.

78

Senate Standing Committee on Education, Employment & Workplace Relations

LEGISLATION COMMITTEE

Membership of the Committee

Senator Gavin Marshall, Chair Senator Chris Back, Deputy Chair Senator Michaelia Cash Senator Catryna Bilyk Senator Sarah Hanson-Young Senator Dana Wortley

Participating Members

Victoria, ALP

Western Australia, LP Western Australia, LP Tasmania, ALP South Australia, AG

South Australia, ALP

Senators Abetz, Adams, Barnett, Bernardi, Birmingham, Bishop, Boswell, Boyce, Brandis, B. Brown, C. Brown, Bushby, Cameron, Colbeck, Coonan, Cormann, Crossin, Eggleston, Faulkner, Ferguson, Fierravanti-Wells, Fielding, Fifield, Fisher, Forshaw, Furner, Heffernan, Humphries, Hurley, Hutchins, Johnston, Joyce, Kroger, Ludlam, Macdonald, Mason, McEwen, McGauran, Milne, Minchin, Moore, Nash, O'Brien, Parry, Payne, Polley, Pratt, Ronaldson, Ryan, Scullion, Siewert, Stephens,

Sterle, Troeth, Trood, Williams & Xenophon.

Secretariat Mr Tim Watling, Secretary Ms Bonnie Allan, Principal Research Officer Ms Natasha Rusjakovski, Senior Research Officer Ms Tegan Gaha, Research Officer Ms Danielle Oldfield, Administrative Officer

PO Box 6100 Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Ph: 02 6277 3521 Fax: 02 6277 5706 E-mail: eewr.sen@aph.gov.au Internet: http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/eet ctte/index.htm

lll

79

80

Table of Contents

Membership of the Committee ........................................................................ iii

Chapter 1 .......................... : .................................................................................. 1

Overview .................................................................................................................... !

Portfolio coverage ......... ....... ............. .. ............. ..... ... .. .. ... ....... ................ ........... .. ... 1

Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements (PAES) 20 I 0-11 ... ... ............. .. ......... 1

Hearings ............... ........ ............... .. .......................... .. ..... ......................... ...... ..... ..... 2

Public interest immunity claims ....................... ....... ...... ......................... .... ............ 2

Questions on notice .............. .................................................................................. 3

Note on Hansard page referencing .... .......... ... .. ........ .. .. ......... ........ .............. ... ........ 3

Chapter 2 ............................................................................................................. 5

Education, Employment and Workplace Relations portfolio .............................. 5

Comcare ....... .............. .. ........................................................................................... 5

Safe Work Australia .... ...... ... ....... ... ....... ...... .... ........ .. ..... ............................. ........ .... 6

Fair Work Ombudsman ........ .. .... .... ....... .. ... .. ........ ... .. .. ... .. .. ........ .. ...... ...... ... ....... .... 8

Fair Work Australia .................. ..... ...... ..... .. .... ..... .... ......... .... .................... ..... ... ... . 10

Australian Building and Construction Commission ............................................. 11

Cross Portfolio .............................. ............ ...................... ..... .... ..... ....... ..... ............ 13

Outcome 4- Workforce participation and labour market assistance .. ................. 14

Outcome 5- Safer and more productive workplaces ...... ...... .. ........... .................. 15

Outcome 1 -Early Childhood Education .................. .................... ... ......... ........... 16

Outcome 2 - Schools and Youth ... .......... ..... .. .............................................. ........ 17

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority ... ... .......... .......... ... 18

Australian Learning and Teaching Council... ................. ........ ....................... ....... 19

Outcome 3- High Educ ation, VET, International Education ...... ........ ....... ... ...... 19

v

81

Appendix 1 ......................................................................................................... 21

Committee oversight of departments and agencies ............................................. 21

Appendix 2 ......................................................................................................... 23

Index to Hansard transcripts ................................................................................ 23

VI

82

Chapter 1

Overview

1.1 The Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Committee presents its report to the Senate.

1.2 On 10 February 2011 1 the Senate referred the following documents to the committee for examination and report in relation to the Education, Employment and Workplace Relations portfolio:

• Particulars of proposed additional expenditure in respect of the year ending on 30 June 2011 [Appropriation Bill (No.3) 2010-11];

• Particulars of certain proposed additional expenditure in respect of the year ending on 30 June 2011 [Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2010-11];

• Final budget outcome 2009-1 0- Report by the Treasurer (Mr Swan) and the Minister for Finance and Deregulation (Senator Wong), September 2010; and

• Issues from the Advance under the annual Appropriation Acts-Report for 2009-10.

1.3 Standing legislation committees are required to report to the Senate on 22 March 2011.

Portfolio coverage

1.4 The committee has responsibility for examining the expenditure and outcomes of the Education, Employment and Workplace Relations portfolio. Appendix 1 lists the department and agencies under this portfolio.

Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements (PAES) 2010-11

1.5 The Portfolio Budget Statements (PBS) and the Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements (P AES) inform senators of the proposed allocation offunding to government outcomes by agencies within the portfolio. However, unlike the PBS, the P AES summarise only the changes in funding by outcome since the Budget. The P AES provides information on new measures and their impact on the financial and/or

non-financial planned performance of programs supporting those outcomes.

1.6 The PAES 2010-11 details the following measures that the department will deliver as a result of additional estimates:

Journals of the Senate No. 19, 10 February 2011 , p. 581.

83

2

• The establishment of a Trade Apprentice Income Bonus to provide eligible Australian apprentices from 1 January 20 11 with an additional tax exemption bonus as training milestones are achieved.

• A reward system in the form of monetary payments to schools that, upon the analysis of national schools data by an independent authority, generate measurably better results for students.

• The improvement of student performance and outcomes by enabling principals, parents and school communities to have greater input into how local schools are administered; and

• The guarantee that employees that become unemployed as a result of

employer insolvency will have the majority of their entitlements protected as a result of a number of new measures.

1. 7 These measures are offset by a number of savings measures, outlined in the PAES. 2

Hearings

1.8 The committee conducted two days of hearings, examining Employment and Workplace Relations outcomes and agencies on 23 February 2011 and Education outcomes and agencies on 24 February 2011. In total the committee met for 20 hours and 16 minutes, excluding breaks.

1.9

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

1.10

The following outcomes and agencies appeared before the committee:

Outcomes 1 - 5

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA)

Australian Learning and Teaching Council

Com care

Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner

Fair Work Australia

Fair Work Ombudsman

Safe Work Australia

Skills Australia was released from the hearings without examination.

Public interest immunity claims

1.11 On 13 May 2009, the Senate passed an order relating to public interest immunity claims. 3 The order sets out the processes to be followed if a witness

2 Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements (P AES) 20 I 0-11 , pp. 11-12.

84

3

declines to answer a question. The full text of this order has previously been provided to departments and agencies and was incorporated in the Chair's opening statement on each day of the additional estimates hearing.

1.12 The issue of public interest immunity was not explicitly raised during the hearings, although Evans at one point questioned the appropriateness of placing on the public record details of persons interviewed as part of a current investigation by the Fair Work Ombudsman. Had this been pursued, it may have taken the form of a claim of public interest immunity.4

Questions on notice

1.13 The committee has drawn the attention of the department and its agencies to the agreed deadline of Friday 8 April 2011 for the receipt of answers to questions taken on notice from this round, in accordance with Standing Order 26.

1.14 For this round, written questions on notice were received from Senators Abetz, Back, Cash, Fifield, Fisher, Fierravanti-Wells, Hanson-Young, Mason, McDonald, Nash, Ryan, Siewert and Williams.

Note on Hansard page referencing

1.15 Hansard references throughout this report relate to proof Hansard page numbers. Please note page numbering may differ between the proof and final Hansard.

3 Journals of the Senate, No. 68, 13 May 2009, p. 1941. The order was moved by Senator Corm ann.

4 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , pp. 63-64.

85

86

Chapter 2

Education, Employment and Workplace Relations portfolio

2.1 This chapter summarises areas of interest and concern raised during the committee's consideration of additional budget estimates for the 2010-11 financial year. This section of the report follows the order of proceedings and is an indicative, but not exhaustive, list of issues examined.

2.2 The committee heard evidence on 23 February from Senator the Hon. Chris Evans, as the Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, along with officers from areas of the department and agencies responsible for employment and workplace relations, including:

• Comcare

• Safe Work Australia

• Fair Work Ombudsman

• Fair Work Australia

• Australian Building and Construction Commission

2.3 On 24 February the committee heard evidence from Minister and officers from areas of the department and agencies responsible for administering education policy. In addition to departmental officials, officers from the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority and the Australian Learning and Teaching Council were examined by the committee.

2.4 Senators present over the two days of hearings were Senator Marshall (Chair), Senator Back (Deputy Chair), Senators Abetz, Bernardi, Bilyk, Carol Brown, Cameron, Cash, Fifield, Fisher, Heffernan, Mason, Nash, Polley, Ronaldson, Williams, Wortley and Xenophon.

Com care

Health and Safety Representatives

2.5 The committee examined Comcare's guidelines for the training of Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) in the Commonwealth jurisdiction, and heard that Comcare published revised guidelines for the training of HSRs applicable throughout the federal jurisdiction which came into effect on 30 April 2010. 1 Comcare told the

committee that its revised guidelines were developed in close consultation with peak

Comcare, Annual Repm1 2009-2010, p. 27.

87

6

unions, HSRs and HSR trammg providers. 2 Mr Steve Kibble, Deputy Chief of Finance, told the committee that the decision to endorse the guidelines has taken into account the results of Comcare's consultations, the requirement in all Commonwealth jurisdictions for face-to-face training for HSRs and the views put forward about this

particular training requirement. 3 Mr Kibble advised the committee that Com care will continue to work with accredited HSR training providers to ensure that courses are consistent with the guidelines.

Compensation Claims

2.6 Senator Xenophon questioned Comcare about a compensation claim identified in the Commonwealth Ombudsman's report of March 2010 titled Comcare and Department of Finance and Deregulation: discretionmy payments of compensation. Mr Paul O'Connor, Chief Executive Officer, acknowledged that mistakes had been made in relation to the case and that a solution had been identified to partly remedy the financial implications for the client of administrative errors. However, Mr O'Connor observed that the financial remedy identified would not address the full

financial claims of this particular constituent. Mr O'Connor summed up Comcare's view by saying that:

I have, within the constraints of what federal law allows me to do, offered every available opportunity and dollar value of compensation, plus the commitment of our colleagues at the department, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations as well as Finance to set in train a system that will make sure that this situation does not occur again in terms of this gap in the ability for people affected by the

maladministration of ourselves and other determining authorities in the Comcare Scheme. That is an important and sustainable change that needs to be made. We will also be looking to make that new scheme retrospective as well, and we are working with our colleagues in other parts of government to make that happen. 4

2.7 In response to further questioning by Senator Xenophon, Mr O'Connor agreed to arrange a conciliation meeting with the constituent, Comcare, Senator Xenophon and Minister Evans.

Safe\Vork Australia

National Work Health and Safety Laws

2.8 Safe Work Australia's (SW A) model National Work Health and Safety Laws were examined at length by the committee. The model laws reflect a Council of Australia Governments (COAG) commitment to harmonise work health and safety

2 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 7.

3 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p 7.

4 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p 11.

88

7

laws made in July 2008. The Intergovernmental Agreement outlines the commitment of all states and territories of the Commonwealth to work together to develop and implement model work health and safety laws as the most effective way to achieve harmonisation in Australia. 5 Senator Abetz asked SW A if the legislation would introduce one national regulator in place of the existing state and territory based regulators . The Minister told the committee that:

The arrangements for the states is that they maintain the enforcement, but if we can get uniform legislation we will go a long way to ensuring better understandings of occupational health and safety laws, easier business compliance and significant business savings. 6

2.9 Senator Bilyk asked officers of SW A about the agency's operational plan to 'Report on and measure impacts of the intended operation of the model WHS Act and Regulations including improved work health and safety outcomes for workers and the reduction of red tape'. Senator Bilyk also asked about the data that would be used to create the framework and the activities SW A are undertaking to explain the model legislation to major stakeholders. Mr Hoy, Chief Executive Officer of SW A, told the committee that SW A was relying upon data from states and territories and that it

would continue working with these actors and other major constituents to discuss and explain the legislation up to the legislation implementation date. 7

Communications Advisoty Group

2.10 Senator Bilyk asked about the role of the Communications Advisory Group. Mr Drew Wagner, Branch Manager, advised the committee that it had representatives from all of the state and territory jurisdictions, as well as industry and trade union representatives. The group was currently focused on a communication strategy to

ensure that all stakeholders were aware of prospective changes.

Nanotechnology Research Projects

2.11 Senator Wortley asked SW A officials for an update on its nanotechnology research projects. Mr Wayne Creaser, Branch Manager, advised the committee that SWA was awaiting reports from consultants. Senator Wortley asked about the status of the draft codes of practice in relation to safety data sheets and the other in relation to labelling of chemicals. Mr Creaser told the committee that two draft codes of practice were currently being circulated for public comment, which closes on 4 April 2011. The codes of practice are expected to commence on 1 January 2012. 8

5 Safe Work Australia, Model WHS Legislation, http: //www.safeworkaustrali a.gov.au/Legislation/Pages/ModelWHSLegislation.aspx, viewed 15 March 2011.

6 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p 14.

7 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 17.

8 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 18

89

8

Fair Work Ombudsman

Customer Service and Dispute Resolution Mechanisms Disruptions

2.12 The committee heard at length of disruptions to Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) customer service facilities and dispute resolution mechanisms during the period of the 2011 Queensland floods. Officers of the FWO told the committee that the natural disaster resulted in the restructuring of services whereby access to the FWO Live Chat forum was disrupted for 4 weeks and access to the FWO email

service was disrupted for over 2 weeks. Officers of the FWO told the committee that during this time telephone and computer pay-check system enquiries increased substantially indicating a shift in the use of one service from another. 9 Senator Abetz asked officers of the FWO if employers and employees were unable to obtain advice during the period of disruption and are unwittingly in breach would be extended leniency. Mr Wilson, the FWO, told the committee that the officers would use their judgement on these matters but that ultimately if information was not sought and

persons are found to be in breach of the law then the FWO will not show leniency. 10 Mr Alfred Bongi, Group Manager, added that the FWO was now once again operating on a full complement of staff and that the pattern of inquiries made to the FWO demonstrated that people who had failed to obtain information because of the disruption in services were now successfully seeking that information. 1 1

Sham Contracting

2.13 Another matter that FWO was questioned about was sham contracting. Senator Abetz asked officers of the FWO if the enactment of the Independent Contractors Act 2006 had assisted in dealing with the issue of sham contracting. 12 Mr Loizides, Group Manager, advised that the FWO had used its expertise and powers under the legislation to investigate sham contracting breaches with a number of matters across different industry groupings currently before the courts. 13

2.14 This topic was pursued by Senator Cameron, who asked more specific questions about sham contracting cases being addressed by the FWO. Mr Wilson indicated that out of a total of 5,800 matters being investigated as at mid-February 2011, FWO had 26 matters being investigated which concerned potential contraventions of the sham contracting provisions, particularly under section 357 of the Fair Work Act. 14 He also told the committee that the FWO was investigating a

9 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 23.

10 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 23.

11 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, pp 23 & 25.

12 Fair Work Australia, Independent contractors & employees fact sheet, http://www. fai rwork. gov .a u/resourceslfact -sh eets/wor kpl ace-ri ghts/pageslin dependent­ contractors-and-emplyees-fact-sheet.aspx, viewed 15 March 2011.

13 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 27.

14 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 40.

90

9

further 13 7 matters relating to underpayment in connection with an assertion that a person is a contractor and not an employee. Mr Loizides informed the committee that the FWO recognised the need to do more work in this area and that it is undertaking consultations, updating publicly available information on what constitute sham­ contracting and working on producing an auditing program that should commence in

the coming months to enable it to expand its investigations into these matters. 15

Indemnities

2.15 Senator Abetz asked some general questions about how indemnities are applied during the course of FWO investigations. Mr Wilson advised that he was not aware of any formal policies, but that the FWO were happy to consider establishing a policy and would discuss the matter with the Attorney-General's Department. 16

Employees and volunteers

2.16 Senator Xenophon asked the FWO about the protocols it uses to differentiate employees and volunteers under current legislation. This question was put to the officers of FWO with mention of a particular case under investigation into the Church of Scientology. Mr Wilson commented that the protocols would rely upon a legal determination from FWO inspectors and legal advisors. 17

Ultimately, that is a matter of legal determination by a combination of the inspectors and our legal staff. There are principles which need to be applied about the intention to form legal relations and if there is an intention to form legal relations, what the nature is of those relations- whether it is

intended to be an employment exercise or whether it is some other exercise. Clearly, it is a matter of engaging with the particular complainant and the respondent and testing through that circumstance. 18

2.17 Other questions relating to this case focused around matters of:

• contract validity

• statutory limitations affecting the FWO's investigation capacities

• ensuring that FWO officers and investigators were equipped to deal with coercwn

•

15

16

17

18

19

contracts signed by minors. 19

Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, pp 40-4 1.

Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 28.

Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 30.

Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p 30 .

Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 201 1, p 31.

91

10

Complaints

2.18 Senator Bilyk asked questions about complaints lodged to FWO regarding compliance with workplace legislation. Mr Loizides and Mr Wilson told the committee that FWO had received over 11 000 written complaints and 803 520 telephone complaints up to 12 February in the current 2010-2011 financial year. 20 Mr Loizides told the committee that the FWO resolved 11 305 complaints this financial year, with less than one percent requiring legal action to resolve. 21

Fair Work Australia

2.19 Fair Work Australia (FW A) first appeared before the committee at Supplementary Budget Estimates in October 2009. The President of FWA, Justice Giudice, was not in attendance at that hearing. On 28 October 2009, a motion was passed in the Senate requiring the President to attend Additional Estimates in February 2010, and all subsequent estimates hearings of the committee. 22 The President of FW A, Justice Giudice complied with the motion in the Senate and appeared before the committee on 23 February 2011.

Unfair Dismissals

2.20 Senator Abetz questioned officers of FW A about unfair dismissal matters, including the frequency of applications to extensions of time to lodge a claim. 23 On the subject of finalisation of claims, officers informed the committee that the FW A annual report contained information about the length of time from the lodgement of a claim to its finalisation, but that in the 2009-2010 financial year 85 per cent of unfair dismissal matters had been finalised within 87 days and that the overwhelming majority of matters were settled through a process of conciliation and finalised within a period of 25 days from lodgement.

Inquily into allegations against the Health Services Union

2.21 Senator Ronaldson asked questions of FW A regarding a Fair Work inquiry begin undertaken into the member for Dobell, Mr Craig Thomson, in relation to his former role at the Health Services Union. The matter was previously examined at the October 2010 Supplementary Estimates Hearings. Mr Terry Nassios, Director, described to the committee the nature of the investigation he was undertaking and told the committee that the final report is yet to be completed. 24

20 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p 42.

21 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p 43.

22 Journals of the Senate, No 95, 28 October 2009, p. 2661.

23 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 55 .

24 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, pp. 58-63.

92

11

Commission and Commissioner sitting days

2.22 The committee enquired into the number of days FW A comm1sswners sit each year. Justice Giudice commented that he did not think it would be appropriate to provide this because the number of sitting days for commissioners is not an accurate reflection of the work

It depends on the nature of the application, obviously, but more and more there is work being done outside of formal sitting. Cases are more complicated, there is more evidence, appeal cases are more difficult. So as a general proposition there is a poor correlation between workload and sitting days. 25

2.23 Justice Giudice also commented that such a breakdown in figures would be inappropriate and might interfere with the judicial process.

My view about it is relatively simple. From a budget and a management point of view, aggregate infonnation is obviously important about the amount of work that is generally carried out by the tribunal. Once you start to focus on individual members and differentiate between them, you

inevitably raise the prospect that people will make judgments based on that differentiation. Somebody will say, 'This member worked X number of days per year and this member worked Y number of days per year,' and that there is some reason for that difference, which reflects the competence or

otherwise of one or other of the members. That is the essential vice in producing individual information, which will really be quite damaging, no matter how well understood it might be by you, Senator, or by others. 26

Australian Building and Construction Commission

Staffing

2.24 The examination of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) began with the newly appointed Commissioner Mr Leigh Johns presenting an opening statement to the committee. Senator Abetz then questioned Mr Johns on changes to the organisational structure of ABCC, and the committee heard that two positions, the Director Operations Northern and The Legal Manager Northern had been abolished and replaced by the Executive Director Public Affairs position. Mr Johns agreed to take on notice the financial costs associated with the changes to both the employees and to the ABCC. 27

25 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 72.

26 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 69.

27 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 84.

93

12

Building and Infrastructure

2.25 Another matter raised in the examination of the ABCC was the opening of a new office in Canberra on 23 February 2011. Mr Johns justified the new office on the basis that 70 per cent of Australian government directly funded work occurred in the ACT and that the office would enable the ABCC to better oversee that caseload. 28 Mr Johns also told the committee that for the same reason the ABCC was looking to open offices in both Darwin and the Pilbara region. 29

Sham Contracting

2.26 Senator Cameron again raised sham contracting, asking Mr Johns about the difference in the current commissioner's view that sham contracting was endemic and the former commissioner's view that it was less of a problem. Mr Johns told the committee that he could not comment on the difference of opinion between the former Commissioner and himself but said that his position on this issue was based on the statistics that are before him. Mr Johns said that:

We have 14 investigations on foot. We have, through our legal department, 19 matters where there are breaches. That is 33 matters which are currently sitting with us. That is a quarter of our work. I characterise that as significant, and that is why I characterise it the way I do . I said on 10 February that I thought it was rife in some parts of the industry. There is a lot of legitimate contracting that goes on in the building and construction industry but my principal concern from a regulatory perspective is in relation to the finishing trades- painting, plastering, formwork and those types of trades-where it does appear to me that sham contracting is not

. 30

umque.

2.27 Mr Johns told the committee that on 19 November 2010 he announced the tenns of reference for the ABCC's Inquiry and Roundtable into sham contracting in the building and construction industry. 3 1 During questioning from Senator Cameron, Mr Johns told the committee that he based the process and the architecture inquiry on the Royal Commission that was conducted into the bushfires in Victoria. For this reason Mr Johns believed that the process put in place has great integrity. 32 Mr Johns agreed to take on notice a number of matters in light of criticisms from Independent Contractors Australia raised by Senator Cameron in relation to the inquiry. 33

28 Committee Hansard, 23 February 2011, p 86 .

29 Committee Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p 86.

30 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011. p. 102.

31 Australian Building and Construction Commission, National Statement - ABCC commences Sham Contracting Inquily : Call for submissions, 22 December 2010, http: //www.abcc.gov.au/Mediaandnewscentre/Latestnewsandmedia/Pages/ABCCcommencesS h amCo ntractinglnguirv.aspx , viewed 15 March 2011.

32 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011. p. 103 .

33 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011. p. 108.

94

13

2.28 Other matters raised in the examination of ABCC included:

• Trave'l and hospitality allowances

• Organisational memberships

• Industrial strikes

• Dispute resolutions

• The appointment of a deputy commissioner

• Section 52(1)(e) of the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005 (BCII Act).

Cross Portfolio

Building and infrastructure

2.29 The committee questioned DEEWR about building and infrastructure concerns with the DEEWR headquarters at the comer of Rudd Street and Marcus Clarke Street in Canberra. Senator Mason asked officers of DEEWR about the claim that a Zumba exercise class was responsible for structural damage to the building at Marcus Clarke Street. Mr Soren told the committee that DEEWR brought in a range

of experts to assess the situation and outlined to the committee the process undertaken by DEEWR to discover the extent of the impact upon the building. Mr Soren told the committee that the conclusions from DEEWR's investigations were that the Zumba class caused harmonic vibrations that impacted upon the movement in the building. The classes have now been cancelled. 34

2.30 Senator Mason enquired further into building and infrastructure concerns with the DEEWR headquarters. Ms Paul, Secretary, told the committee that during the initial construction a section of scaffolding collapsed. Ms Paul told the committee that the incident did not result in any injuries and was investigated by ACT WorkSafe. 35 Ms Paul went on to say that the two building and infrastructure concerns raised were

entirely unrelated and that she personally endorsed the building. 36

Staffing and redundancies

2.31 The committee heard evidence about voluntary redundancies in DEEWR in the 2010 calendar year. Mr Wyers told the committee that the department went through a process of examining its business requirements to identify potential areas of staff reduction. DEEWR commented that it had received applications numbering in the hundreds and agreed to provide the exact number on notice. Mr Wyers explained that the department had an amount of money that it was willing to spend on

34 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011 , p. 7.

35 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011 , p. 5.

36 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011 , p. 7.

95

14

redundancies to position it for the coming financial year, and 138 came within that target range. 37 Ultimately, DEEWR only accepted a portion of those people who expressed an interest in being made redundant. 38 The committee heard that officers of DEEWR were offered a standard voluntary redundancy package of two weeks for every year of service, up to a maximum of 24 years. 39

Outcome 4- Workforce participation and labour market assistance

Employment Services Providers

2.32 The examination of Outcome 4 centred on employment services providers. Senator Marshall asked DEEWR to provide a description of how funding for income support and employment services is allocated to support ethnic groups. Ms Sandra Parker, Deputy Secretary, told the Committee that funding for job seekers is not issued on the basis of ethnicity but that each individual is assessed based upon a range of other characteristics according to their needs. 40 Senator Marshall described the case of a number of persons experiencing difficulty obtaining work for which they are qualified using the Job Services Network. The Job Services Network is a national network of private and community organisations dedicated to finding jobs for unemployed people, particularly the long-term unemployed. 41 In relation to the case described by Senator Marshall, the Senator asked DEEWR what its approach was to ensure that people are being treated fairly and equitably through the Job Services Network providers. Ms Parker told the committee that job service providers are required to talk to individual job seekers, take into account what qualifications they have and develop an employment pathway plan with them. 42

2.33 Senator Back asked officers of DEEWR to report on the outcomes of the implementation of the new service provider, Job Services Australia. Job Services Australia began on 1 July 2009 and is the Australian Government's national employment services system. 43 Ms Parker told the committee that Job Services Australia is performing well under the new arrangements. Ms Parker said that :

Our analysis is that JSA is comparing favourably to Job Network if we compare like periods. In the first 18 months of Job Network, for example, we had 557,600 job placements. If you compare that to a similar group of

37 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, p. 8.

38 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011 , p. 8.

39 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, pp 7-8.

40 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 88.

41 Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, Employment Services Procurement, http://www.deewr.gov.au/Employment/EmplovmentServicesProcurement/rft estc2006 1/Page s/home.as@_, viewed 15 March 2011.

42 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 89.

4 3 http://www. deewr .gov.au/Empl oyment/ JSA/Pages/ default.aspx

96

jobseekers in JSA, we had 615,500, so around a 10 per cent increase. That is taking into account that there are more jobseekers as the population increases. In general terms we would say the system is working well. 44

2.34 Other matters raised in the examination of Outcome 4 were:

• Family centred empl9yment projects.

• Job seeker relocation pilot program

• Contracts for local employment coordinators, and;

• National Green Jobs Corps.

Outcome 5- Safer and more productive workplaces

Appointment of ABCC Deputy Commissioner

15

2.35 Senator Abetz enquired to DEEWR about the process of appointing a deputy commissioner for the ABCC. Mr John Kovacic, Deputy Secretary, told the committee that the selection panel had concluded its consideration and prepared a short list to be provided to the minister for his consideration. 45 Minister Evans told the committee that he had not yet seen the list and Senator Abetz noted his intention to pursue the

matter further in the next estimates hearings in May 2011.

Industry Superannuation Funds

2.36 Senator Abetz asked how default superannuation funds ought to be handled in the modern award system and about the appropriateness of the default superannuation fund specified in awards. Mr Kovacic responded that recommendations included in the Cooper review of superannuation went to this particular issue. 46 Mr Kovacic told

the committee that questions about the nature of the recommendations and any government response were probably more appropriately referred to the Treasury portfolio. 47 Senator Abetz asked DEEWR to consider the protection of workers in circumstances where super funds mandated by awards are supported due to a vested

interest by unions and industries, despite poor performance in terms of workers interests. DEEWR agreed to analyse the matter within their jurisdiction and to provide comment on any related recommendations of the Cooper review. 48

44 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011, pp 90-91.

45 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 122.

46 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 123.

47 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 123 .

48 Proof Estimates Hansard, 23 February 2011 , p. 124.

97

16

Outcome 1 -Early Childhood Education

National Early Childhood Education and Child Care Workforce Census

2.37 The committee heard evidence on the National Early Childhood Education and Child Care Workforce Census undertaken by DEEWR. Officers of DEEWR told the committee that the census had been concluded but that analysis of its findings had yet to be completed. Ms Ngaire Hosking, Group Manager, told the committee that this was expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2011. Ms Hosking told the committee that the census went to all child care centres and preschools and that the return rate of the voluntary census was 79.3 per cent. 49 Senator Nash asked DEEWR to comment on the use of incentives to induce compliance with the census. Ms Hosking confirmed that DEEWR offered as an incentive a prize draw of sixteen $750 educational packs. Ms Hosking advised the committee that it was fairly common practice to offer up an incentive to increase participation in a survey as an effective means of facilitating a response rate. 50 Ms Paul added that DEEWR incentives for participation are important because:

.. .if, you get too low a response rate, then you have actually wasted a whole lot of money getting a 35 per cent response rate that you cannot use because it is not statistically significant. 51

Skills Shortages in the Childcare Sector

2.38 Senator Nash asked officers of DEEWR what was being done to address the skills shortage in the childcare sector. Mr Manthorpe, Deputy Secretary, told the committee that:

[I]n the context of rolling out aspects of the government's reform agenda in early childhood development, there are certainly challenges associated with ensuring we have enough staff, and enough qualified staff, in the sector. 52

2.39 Mr Manthorpe noted significant increases in staff in recent years and that there was no reason to believe that this would not continue as the sector grows. 53 Mr Manthorpe described DEEWR's national quality agenda to ensure that all staff within the sector obtain the minimum requirement of a Certificate III level qualification, as well as a number of other matters relating to the department's rollout of measures to encourage participation within the industry. Minister Evans added that DEEWR is looking to address the low level of remuneration characteristic of the industry that has traditionally had a significant effect on staffing in the industry. Minister Evans described various avenues for addressing the remuneration issue being looked at by

49 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, p. 11.

50 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February2011, p. 12.

51 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, p. 12.

52 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, p. 16.

53 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, p. 16.

98

17

the department including addressing the modem award process and the push for qualifications .in the industry already described. In relation to this point Ms Paul added that a key strategy was also retention and up-skilling of the existing workforce. 54

Indigenous early childhood education centres

2.40 Senator Mason addressed the matter of Indigenous early childhood education centres raised in previous rounds of estimates, and asked for an update on site selection. Ms Hosking told the committee that 25 locations had been selected and agreed to. 55 Ms Hosking agreed to provide the exact location selected on notice to the committee. DEEWR advised that three construction projects had commenced and a

fourth was in the initial stages of commencement. Ms Hosking told the committee that the deadline of having 12 centres open by 30 June 2011 was currently being met through the provision of services at interim premises in 1 0 locations. 56 Officers of DEEWR explained this point further by saying that instead of waiting for construction to be completed the provision of services in interim facilities had already begun and children now had access to that service. 57 Ms Hosking told the committee that DEEWR was looking to have the construction and completion of 21 centres

completed by the end of June 2012, a further 13 by June 2013 and the final two by the end of June 2014. 58

Outcome 2 - Schools and Youth

National School Chaplaincy Program

2.41 The National School Chaplaincy Program (NSCP) was a major area of interest in the examination of Outcome 2. The matter of proselytising was discussed at length. Ms Catherine Wall, Group Manager, succinctly stated that:

There is a difference between having a conversation and any individual, including a chaplain, trying to promote a religion and trying to influence the student accordingly. 59

2.42 Officers of DEEWR argued that whether a discussion constituted proselytising was a matter that is heavily dependent on context. Ms Paul went on to say that that NSCP guidelines were developed by DEEWR in consultation with peak bodies including the Scripture Union and others involved in the program. Ms Paul

commented that she was confident that the distinction between proselytising and not was well understood in the program. Senator Mason commented that while this

54 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, pp 16-17.

55 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011 , p. 27 .

56 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011 , pp. 27-28

57 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011 , p. 28.

58 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, p. 29 .

59 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, p. 35.

99

18

distinction was conceptually sound, the distinction in practice was far more difficult to draw. Ms Paul told the committee that DEEWR monitors the program closely and that the matter had not been raised as an issue.

2.43 Senator Marshall questioned officers about the legal liability of the Commonwealth in relation to the National School Chaplaincy Program. Ms Wall responded by saying the Commonwealth is not the employer of chaplains, but that it has funding agreements with employers who provide of chaplaincy services. Ms Wall told the committee that the responsibility of chaplains across schools varies because their roles are articulated by their employer and the school principal. Ms Wall also told the committee that the principal generally has the role of ensuring that chaplains are practising within their scope but that DEEWR also requires reports from the parent body and wider school community. 60 Ms Wall explained to the committee that different schools and jurisdictions had different ways in which parents could make decisions about whether their children partake in the NSCP. Ms Wall told the committee that matter was addressed during the consultation phase and that DEEWR was seeking further feedback on the issue.

Building Education Revolution

2.44 As in previous estimates hearings Building the Education Revolution was an area of focus in the examination of Outcome 2. Multiple matters relating to the building and infrastructure program were covered at length by the committee. The progress of the program was one such issue that was examined in detail. Senator Mason who asked for an update on the total spent by the commonwealth for the project. Mr Manthorpe told the committee that the figure was $14 810 806 518. 61

2.45 Other matters examined in Outcome 2 were:

• Trade training centres in schools

• Indigenous boarding schools

• National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools Program

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority

2.46 ACARA presented the committee with evidence regarding the NAPLAN results of the Dallas Brooks Community Primary School in Victoria. Senator Mason asked ACARA to comment on why the school's performance appeared to change dramatically over the course of one year. Officers of ACARA told the committee that the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) have the responsibility for the Administration of NAPLAN tests in Victoria. Dr Hill told the committee that the VCAA instigated a thorough investigation into the matter but found no evidence

60 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011 , p. 40.

61 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011 , p. 99 .

100

19

of anything untoward. 62 Mr Adams also relayed to the committee that the Principal of the school has indicated that she undertook a significant program focusing on literacy and numeracy and attributes the increase in performance to this program. When asked to comment on the case, Dr Hill explained to the committee that:

One thing we do know is that a function of all gain is that the lower you start the bigger your gains . If you start very high, particularly in literacy and numeracy, the amount of gain is likely to be quite small. 63

Australian Learning and Teaching Council

2.47 The examination ofthe ALTC focused on the transfer of some of its functions and programs to DEEWR scheduled to take place by the end of 2011. Dr Nicholls began by describing to the committee the primary functions of the council and how it achieved them. Senator Mason asked officer of the ALTC and DEEWR whether there had been a performance review conducted of the ALTC in the last 12 months, and the

committee heard that the last evaluation had been undertaken in 2009. Minister Evans commented on this line of questioning by saying that the decision to restructure the ALTC was not the result of a poor performance review, nor did it reflect on Dr Nicholl or the ALTC, but was part of wider government restructuring and cost saving measures. 64

Outcome 3- High Education, VET, International Education

Regional and Remote University Campuses

2.48 The committee examined a number of matters relating to regional and remote tertiary education. In particular the committee heard questions from Senator Back relating to the case of the Curtin University's School of Mines at Kalgoorlie. Senator Back explained to the committee that the regional campus in Kalgoorlie is gradually reducing its presence, opting to relocate elements of the program to its Perth campus. Mr Hazlehurst, Group Manager, told the committee that the issue with the Kalgoorlie

campus was that it was struggling to attract sufficient enrolments to keep the campus viable. Senator Evans informed the committee of the advice of the Curtin University that student demand at Kalgoorlie was very low level compared to the demand at the Bentley campus in Perth. Minister Evans stated that:

My latest advice is they do all the years there, but they have 60-odd students for first year in Bentley in Perth, and 10 or so in Kalgoorlie. Students are effectively voting to do the course in the city. 65

62 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, p. 79.

63 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011 , p. 79 .

64 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011 , p. 114.

65 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011, p. 126.

101

20

2.49 Senator Back told the committee that the community in Kalgoorlie strongly rejected the view that students would prefer to study in a metropolitan area rather than a regional one and credited the failure to attract sufficient enrolments in regional areas with a failure by Curtin University to actively promote its regional campuses. Minister Evans told the committee that he would be had an upcoming engagement at Curtin University and agreed to raise these matters with the university's Vice-Chancellor.

Youth Allowance

2.50 Senator Nash examined the matter of youth allowance at length during Outcome 3, and in particular the review scheduled for completion in July 2011. Senator Nash asked DEEWR to explain proposed changes to the classifications of inner and outer regional areas. Minister Evans said that the proposal was to end the existing classifications and find a more financially sustainable way of financing youth allowance. The Minister however emphasised that the decision had not yet been made as the review had not yet been completed. Ms Paul noted that there were a variety of tools that could be used to classify a geographic area as 'regional'. The Minister commented that if it were viable he would like to see all students receive access to full youth allowance. 66 However his view was that youth allowance must be rationed in terms the broad objectives to be achieved and what the Australian taxpayer could afford.

2.51 Senator Nash went on to ask DEEWR for a breakdown of the number of additional students receiving the maximum rate of youth allowance since the changes to the legislation. Ms Milliken reported that 66 630 are either getting the maximum rate or a higher rate of dependent youth allowance for the first time and 27 150 are receiving the maximum rate.

2.52 Other matters that discussed included:

• The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA)

• HELP and HELP liabilities

• The abolition of the Capital Development Pool (CDP)

• The Education Investment Fund (ElF)

Senator Gavin Marshall

Chair

66 Proof Estimates Hansard, 24 February 2011 , p. 134.

102

Appendix 1

Committee oversight of departments and agencies

Education, Employment and Workplace Relations portfolio

• Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations;

• Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority

• Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership Ltd;

• Australian Learning and Teaching Council;

• ComCare;

• The Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission;

• The Seafarers' Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Authority

(Seacare Authority);

• Fair Work Australia;

• The Fair Work Ombudsman;

• Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner; and

• Safe Work Australia.

103

104

Appendix 2

Index to Hansard transcripts Education, EmplQyment and Workplace Relations portfolio

Wednesday, 23 Februwy 2011 Page no

Co1ncare... ... ... ...... .. . ... ... .. . ...... ... ......... . .. ... ... ... ...... . ..... ... ......... 5

Safe Work Australia..... ....... ..... . . .................. ........ ... ........... . ...... 13

Fair Work Ombudsman...... ... . .. .......... .......... . ................... .......... 21

Fair Work Australia... ... .. .. ... .... .. ... .. .... .... . .... .... . .. . ... .............. .... 53

Australian Building and Construction Commission.............................. 83, 99

Outcome 4- Workforce participation and labour market assistance..... . .... 87

Outcome 5- Safer and more productive workplaces........... . .................. 121

Thursday, 24 Februwy 2011

Cross Portfolio ......................... .... ... . ..... . ..... . ...... .. .................. .

Outcome 1- Early childhood education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

Outcome 2- Schools and youth. .. ............................ ... ................. 30, 89

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Rep01ting Authority (ACARA)... .. 78

Australian Teaching and Learning Council . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111

Outcome 3- Higher education, VET, international education...... .. ...... . .. . 133

105

106

The Senate

Environment and Communications Legislation Committee

Additional estimates 2010-11

March 2011

107

© Commonwealth of Australia 2011

ISBN 978-1-74229-371-4

This document was printed by the Senate Printing Unit, Parliament House, Canberra

108

Membership of the Committee

Members:

Senator Doug Cameron (ALP, NSW) (Chair) Senator Mary Jo Fisher (LP, SA) (Deputy Chair) Senator Scott Ludlam (AG, W A) Senator Anne McEwen (ALP, SA)

Senator the Hon Judith Troeth (LP, VIC) Senator Dana Wortley (ALP, SA)

Committee Secretariat

Mr Stephen Palethorpe, Secretary Ms Jacquie Hawkins, Research Officer

Committee Address

Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications PO Box 6100 Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600

Tel: 02 6277 3526

Fax : 02 6277 5818

Email: ec. sen@aph.gov.au

Internet: www.aph.gov. au/senate/committee/ec _ ctte/index.htm

ll1

109

iv

110

Contents

Membership of the Committee

Report to the Senate

Introduction

Hearings

Questions on notice- date for response

Portfolio specific issues

Climate Change and Energy Efficiency

Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

Acknowledgements

Appendix 1 -Public hearings agenda

Appendix 2- Documents tabled

v

111

111

1

1

1

2

2

4

8

11

13

19

112

Additional Estimates 2010-11

Introduction

1.1 On 10 February 2011 the Senate referred the following documents to standing committees for examination imd report:

• Particulars of proposed additional expenditure in respect of the year ending on 30 June 2011 [Appropriation Bill (No.3) 201 0-11],

• Particulars of certain proposed additional expenditure in respect of the year ending on 30 June 2011 [Appropriation Bill (No.4) 201 0-11], and

• Final Budget Outcome 2009-10 and the Issues from the advances under the annual Appropriation Acts for 2009-10. 1

1.2 Standing committees were required to report to the Senate on

23 March 2011 .2

Hearings

1.3 The committee conducted public hearings with the Climate Change and Energy Efficiency portfolio on 21 February 2011, the Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities portfolio on 21 and 22 February 2011 and the Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy portfolio on 22 February 2011.

1.4 Written answers and information provided to the committee in response to questions on notice arising from the hearings are tabled in the Senate and posted on the Committee' s web page.

1.5 Links to the transcripts of these public hearings and to answers and additional information are available on the Internet at:

www .aph. gov .au/Senate/ committee/ ec _ ctte/estimates/ add _1 0 11 /index.htm.

Questions on notice - date for response

1.6 In accordance with Standing Order 26(9)(a), the committee agreed that the date for the return of written answers or additional infonnation in response to questions placed on notice be Friday, 8 April 2011 .

1.7 As in previous estimates reports, the committee again expresses its concern about the time taken to receive answers to questions taken on notice.

Journals of th e Senate, No. 19, 10 February 2011 , p. 581.

2 Journals of the Senate, No. 14, 26 November 2010, pp 408-409.

113

2

1.8 The committee notes that it had set Friday, 3 December 2010 as the date for the return of answers to questions taken on notice during the Supplementary Budget Estimates held in October 2010. However, at that date there was a total of 290 answers outstanding to 505 questions on notice across the three portfolios, as follows:

• Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy portfolio, 117 of 181;

• Climate Change and Energy Efficiency portfolio, 34 of 185; and

• Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities portfolio, 139 of 139.

1.9 Most of these late answers were submitted during the days prior to the Additional Estimates hearings and several senators expressed their concerns about their late arrival. 3

1.10 The committee reiterates its expectation that answers to questions on notice will be provided to the committee by the due date.

Portfolio specific issues

1.11 On the first day of its examination of the 201 0-11 Additional Estimates, the committee called and examined officers from the Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (CCEE) and the Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (SEWPaC) portfolios.

1.12 The committee welcomed Senator the Ron Penny Wong, Minister for Finance and Deregulation, representing the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, the Ron Greg Combet MP.

1.13 During its examination, the committee raised a range of matters which are noted below. The page references beside each matter refer to the proof transcript for Monday, 21 February 2011.

Climate Change and Energy Efficiency portfolio

1.14 General questions were asked of the department about:

• international negotiations on land use, land use change and forestry (pp 3--4)

• impact on departmental staff levels of the deferral of the carbon pollution reduction scheme (p. 5)

• Cyclone Yasi and relationship to climate change (pp 5-1 0)

3 See Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011, Senator Fisher, p. 57; Senator Macdonald, p. 58 ; and Senator Abetz, p. 80.

114

3

• rising sea levels (pp 11-12).

1.15 At the conclusion of general questions, the committee called agencies and departmental officers in relation to Outcome 1, Reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. Matters raised included:

• increase in transport emissions (pp 12-14)

• definition of emissions-intensive trade-exposed industries, compared with the European scheme (pp 14- 16)

• impact on electricity prices of the proposed carbon pnce and the renewable energy target (pp 16-18)

• greenhouse benefits of gas relative to coal (pp 20-21)

• travel behaviour change programs (pp 21 - 22)

• establishment of the Climate Commission (pp 22-37)

• reporting of facility-by-facility based greenhouse gas em1ss1ons (pp 38-39)

• introduction ofthe Carbon Farming Initiative (pp 39-41)

• revised projections compared with the previously proposed CPRS (pp 41 - 47)

• newspaper reports on an Australian Industry Group study impacts of a carbon price (pp 45, 46,50-51,55, 56)

• global pricing and carbon (pp 4 7- 50)

• Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) created under the Renewable Energy Target scheme (pp 51-53)

1.16 Officers from the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator were called and examined in relation to the increased number of RECs being declared invalid (pp 53-54) and the number of SRECs expected to be created in the current year (pp 54-55).

1.17 Officers were called and examined in relation to Outcome 2, Improving Australia's Energy Efficiency. Matters raised included:

• Home Insulation Program (HIP) (pp 57-63)

• Home Insulation Safety Program (HISP) (pp 63-73)

• instances of fraud (p. 68) and claims for compensation (pp 71-72) under HIP

• making building more energy effic ient (pp 72 , 73 , 74-76)

• Green Loans and Green Start schemes (pp 76-78)

• solar rebate scheme payments (p. 78)

• Cleaner Car Rebate scheme (p. 79).

115

4

1.18 Officers were called and examined in relation to Outcome 3, Adapting to Climate Change. Matters raised included:

• departmental advice relating to the proposed citizens assembly (pp 79-80).

1.19 Officers were called and examined in relation to Outcome 4, Helping to shape a global climate change solution. Matters raised included:

• international strategies to achieve emission reduction targets (pp 80-81)

• Australian participation in international working groups (p. 81 ).

Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (SEWPaC) portfolio

1.20 At the conclusion of its examination of the Climate Change and Energy Efficiency portfolio, the committee called and examined officers from the Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities portfolio.

1.21 The committee welcomed Senator the Hon Don Farrell, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, representing the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, the Hon Tony BurkeMP.

1.22 General questions were asked of the department about SEWPaC's involvement in the new Climate Commission (pp 85-86).

1.23 The committee called agencies and departmental officers in relation to Outcome 1, The conservation and protection of Australia's terrestrial and marine biodiversity and ecosystems through supporting research, developing information, supporting natural resource management, regulating matters of national environmental significance and managing Commonwealth protected areas.

Office of Supervising Scientist

Matters raised included:

• installation of monitoring points at uranium mining operations sites in Kakadu (pp 87, 90, 91 and 92)

• impact of above average rainfalls at the Ranger mine site (pp 87-88)

• maximum operating level of the tailings storage facility (p. 88)

• status of the proposed heat leach and release of the heat leach EIS (pp 88-89)

• seepage from the Range facility (pp 89-90)

116

5

Director of National Parks

Matters raised included:

• impact of reduced funding for Caring for our Country on the National Reserve System (NRS) program (p. 93)

• recommendatio'ns for purchases to add to the NRS (pp 93-94)

• status of the review of the Caring for our Country program (p. 94)

• implementation of recommendations of the expert working group report on Christmas Island (pp 95-96)

Bureau of Meteorology

Matters raised included:

• Cyclone Yasi's damage on Willis Island (pp 97-98)

• visits to the BoM website during December/January (p. 98)

• staffing levels at regional stations (p . 1 00)

• Director's response to matters raised in Cardinal Pell's letter relating to climate science, tabled during the Supplement Budget Estimates hearing in October 2010 (pp 100-105)4

• instruments and devices used around Australia to measure weather events (pp 105-1 08)

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority)

Matters raised included:

• impacts of Cyclone Anthony and Cyclone Y asi on the reef (pp 1 09-11 0)

• role of GBRMPA in the talisman Sabre exercises (pp 110-1 1 1)

• access by super yacht operators to tourist sites (pp 111-112)

Sydney Harbour Federation Trust

Matters raised included:

• appoint ofboard members (pp 112-113)

4 See Committee Hansard, 18 October 20 I 0, pp 143- 145 at http://www .a ph. gov .au/hansard/senate/commttee/S 13298.pdf.

117

6

1.24 Officers were called and examined in relation to Program 1.1, Sustainable Management of Natural Resources. Matters raised included:

• Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Structural Adjustment Package (pp 113-114)

• baiting on Macquarie Island (pp 114-116).

1.25 The chair welcomed Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, representing the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, the Hon Tony Burke MP. Questioning continued.

1.26 Officers were called and examined in relation to Program 1.2, Environment Regulation, Information and Research. Matters raised included:

•

•

•

•

status of the die back threat abatement plan (p. 116)

draft plans for the bioregional marine parks, funding for developing and finalising and the consultation process (pp 116-119)

removal ofbunds at Narrung in the Lower Lakes (p. 119) 5

status of the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre (pp 120-121 ) .

1.27 Officers were called and examined in relation to Program 2.1, Reduction in management of waste, hazardous substances, pollutants, ozone depleting substances and synthetic greenhouse gasses. Matters raised included:

• update on the national stewardship scheme (p. 121)

• proposed recycling rates target amounts (p. 121)

1.28 Officers were called and examined in relation to Outcome 3, Program 3.1, Antarctic science, policy and presence. Matters raised included:

• additional funding for international legal action (pp 121-122)

• current research projects (p. 122).

1.29 Officers were called and examined in relation to Outcome 6, Program 6.1 , Affordable Housing. Matters raised included:

• status of the National Rental Affordability Scheme (pp 122-124)

• status ofthe National Housing Supply Council (pp 122-124)

• numbers and sites of vacant dwellings and residential vacancies m Australian capital cities (p. 123)

5 See correspondence between the SA Department of Environment and Natural Resources and DSEWPaC, dated 14 February 2011 , re Update regarding Lake Albe11 management - Bund removal, tabled 22 February 2011 , at Appendix 2.

118

7

• housing aspects of the Building Better Regional Cities program (pp 124-125).

1.30 Due to time constraints, Outcomes 5 and 7, relating to the conservation and protection of Australia's Heritage were not called. The Chair indicated that questions about these outcomes put on notice.

1.31 On the second day of hearings, the committee continued its examination of the Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities portfolio, commencing with agencies and departmental officers in relation to Outcome 4, Adaptation to climate change, wise water use, secure water supplies and improved

health of rivers, waterways and freshwater ecosystems by supporting research, and reforming the management and use of water resources.

1.32 The page references beside each matter below refer to the proof transcript for Tuesday, 22 February 2011.

1.33 The committee welcomed Senator the Ron Don Farrell, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, representing the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, the Ron Tony Burke MP, and officers.

Murray -Darling Basin Authority

Matters raised included:

• changes to the membership of the authority and proposed new

committees (pp 4-8)

• timing of the Basin Plan process, release of the draft Basin Plan

(pp 8-14)

• requirements for adopting the proposed final basin plan (p. 14)

• release of the guide to the Basin plan (pp 15-18)

• issue of stranded assets, Productivity Commission working paper Stranded Irrigation Assets (pp 19-21)

• criteria for determining water requirements (pp 21-24)

• legal advice provided to the Authority (pp 24-29)

• impact of flood events in Queensland and Victoria on the Basin plan (p. 31)

• issue of early adopters of water saving measures undertaken without the benefit of the infrastructure fund and the water plan (p . 32)

• extra funding to assist with Basin planning activities (p . 34).

1.34 Officers were called and examined in relation to Program 4.1, Water Reform. Matters raised included:

119

8

• future role of the National Water Commission which terminates on 30 June 2012 (p. 34)

• review of the National Water Initiative (pp 34-35)

• reallocation of funds from the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Program (pp 35-36)

• progress of the water purchase program (pp 3 7-4 7)

National Water Commission

Matters raised included:

• outline of the public consultation process as part of the 2011 biennial assessment of the National Water Initiative (p. 49)

• state of the Moonie River system in Queensland and the Gwydir system (pp 49-50).

Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy portfolio

1.35 At the conclusion of its examination of the Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities portfolio, the committee called and examined officers from the Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy portfolio.

1.36 The committee welcomed Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

1.37 During its examination, the committee raised a range of matters which are noted below. The page references beside each matter refer to the proof transcript for Tuesday, 22 February 2011.

1.38 General questions were asked of the department. Matters raised included:

• additional funding for legal fees (pp 53 - 54)

• contractors used to assist with the appointment of the NBN board and an NBN chair (pp 54-55)

• consultancies awarded to McKinsey (pp 55-56)

• process for determining board appointment and remuneration (pp 56-57)

• late return of answers to questions on notice from the Supplementary Budget estimates round in October 20 I 0 (pp 57-8)

• safety and security in the online environment (p. 60).

1.39 Questioning commenced in relation to Outcome 1, Development of a vibrant, sustainable and internationally competitive broadband, broadcasting and communications sector, through policy development, advice and program delivery, which promotes the digital economy for all Australians.

120

9

Australia Post

Matters raised included:

• security checks undertaken prior to employing staff or engaging licensees, franchisees or community agents (p. 63)

• assistance provided to flood affected licensed post offices and mail contractors (pp 63-64)

• fees paid to AQIS for quarantine checks (p. 65)

• post office closures, for example Milton Post Office in Brisbane and Glebe Post Office, Sydney, and workforce issues (pp 66-70)

• mail delivery services required under the community service obligation (p. 71)

• criteria for selecting women for the 2011 living legends stamp senes (pp 72-76)

• e-services provided by Australia Post (p. 76)

• status of the facility nominated doctors program (p. 77)

• Indigenous employment levels in Australia Post (pp 78-79)

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)

Matters raised included:

• delay in providing answers to questions on notice (p. 80)

• selection of audience members for Q & A (pp 80-81)

• examples of anti-Israel bias (pp 81-83)

• use of Twitter accounts (pp 83-84)

• amount of local content on the new 7.30 program (pp 87-88)

• update on the audio description trial (p. 88)

• percentage of ABC 1 on-air time dedicated to first-run Indigenous content (p. 89)

• departmental savings identified as distribution and transmission efficiencies jointly with SBS (pp 90-91)

• amount of Australian content shown on ABC 3 (p. 91)

• progress of ABC Open (pp 91-92)

Special Broadcasting Service (SBS)

The Director made a brief opening statement. SBS was then released without q11estioning.

121

10

Australian Communications and Media Authority

Matters raised included:

• review of Al-Manar programming (pp 93-95)

• impact of convergence on the regulation of the communications sector (p. 95)

1.40 Officers from the department were called and examined in relation to Program 1.2, Telecommunications, Online and Postal Services. Matters raised included:

• internet filtering (pp 95-98)

1.41 Officers from the department were called and examined in relation to Program 1.3, Broadcasting and Digital Television. Matters raised included:

• VAST satellite platform (pp 98-100, 101-1 02))

• progress on the anti-siphoning list (pp 100-101)

1.42 NBN Co was then called. After Mr Quigley, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Chairman, made a statement about progress of the NBN project (pp 102-1 05), questioning commenced. Matters raised included:

• broadband versus wireless (pp 1 05-1 07, 118-119)

• establishment of a joint parliamentary committee on the National Broadband Network (pp 108-110, 114)

• NBN construction costs, including wages and conditions (pp 110-114)

• provision ofNBN services in Tasmania (pp 114-117)

• take-up rate in Townsville (p. 117)

• access to Telstra infrastructure (pp 121-122,)

• infrastructure in fringe developments and greenfields estates (pp 122-123)

• state of discussions around the universal service obligation, and the establishment ofthe proposed USO Co (pp 123-124, 136)

• effects of power failures on the network and use of battery backup (pp 123-126)

• take up rate in Brunswick, Victoria (pp 126-129)

• operation ofthe Telstra copper network (pp 130-132, 137)

• provision of services to remote communities (p. 137)

• discussions between NBN Co and energy utilities concerning potential access to their facilities and providing services to them(p. 138)

• negotiations with Telstra (pp 139-141 ).

122

11

Acknowledgements

1.43 The committee thanks Senator the Hon Penny Wong, Minister for Finance and Deregulation; Senator the Hon Don Farrell, Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water, and Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, along with officers from the three portfolio departments 'and agencies, for their assistance during this additional estimates process.

Senator Doug Cameron Chair

123

12

124

13

Appendix 1

The Senate BUSINESS OF COMMITTEES This document is issued as a guide to Senators Business listed is subject to change

It should be noted that times allocated for the consideration of outcomes, items and agencies within portfolios are indicative only.

Senators, staff and departments should liaise with secretariats on the progress of portfolios during the estimates process.

SENATE STANDING COMMITTEE ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND COMMUNICATIONS Legislation Committee

Public Hearings: Additional Estimates for 2010-11

Monday, 21 and Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Committee Room 2S3 Parliament House Canberra ACT

To be televised on Channe/11 and broadcast on Radio 91 .1 and http://webcast.aph. gov.au

AGENDA

MONDAY 21 FEBRUARY 2011

Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (DCCEE) 9.00 am General questions of the Department

Outcome 1: Reduction of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions, adaptation to the impacts of climate change, and negotiation of an effective global solution, through the development and implementation of a national response to climate change; and bilateral, regional and multilateral engagement internationally Program 1.1: Reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions

Program 1.2: Improving Australia's Energy Efficiency

Program 1.3: Adapting to Climate Change

Program 1.4: Helping to shape a global climate change solution

125

14

Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator Outcome 1: Administer and regulate the national Renewable Energy Target scheme to encourage increased renewable electricity generation Program 1.1: Renewable Energy Certificate Management

Program 1.2: Managing Compliance with Legislation

7.00 pm Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and approx Communities Portfolio

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC) General questions of the Department

Outcome 1: The conservation and protection of Australia's terrestrial and marine biodiversity and ecosystems through supporting research, developing information, supporting natural resource management, regulating matters of national environmental significance and managing Commonwealth protected areas

Office of Supervising Scientist

Director of National Parks Outcome 1: Conservation and appreciation of Commonwealth reserves through the provision of safe visitor access, the control of invasive species and working with stakeholders and neighbours

Program: Parks and Reserves

Bureau of Meteorology Outcome 1: Informed safety, security, and economic decisions by Gove rnments, industry, and the community through the provision of information, forecasts, services and research relating to weather, climate and water

Program 1.1 : Bureau of Meteorology Program 1. 2: Modernisation and Extension of Hydrological Monitoring Systems

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Outcome 1: The long-term protection, ecologically sustainable use, understanding and enjoyment of the Great Barrier Reef for all Australians and the international community, through the care and development ofthe Marine Park

Program 1.1: Improving the outlook f or the Great Barrier Reef

Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Outcome 1: Enhanced appreciation and understanding of the natural and cultural values of Sydney for all visitors, through the remediation, conservation and adaptive re-use of, and access to, Trust lands on Sydney Harbour

Program 1.1: Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Business

Program 1.1: Sustainable Management of Natural Resources

Program 1.2: Environmental Regulation, Information and Research

126

15

Outcome 2: Improved capacity of Australian communities and industry to protect the environment by promoting waste reduction and regulating hazardous substances, wastes, pollutants, ozone depleting substances and synthetic greenhouse gases

Program 2.1: Reduction and management of wastes, hazardous substances, pollutants, ozone depleting substances and synthetic greenhouse gases

Outcome 3: Advancement of Australia's strategic, scientific, environmental and economic interests in the Antarctic by protecting, administering and researching the region

Program 3.1: Antarctic Science, Policy and Presence

Outcome 6: Advance the sustainability of Australia's population, communities and environment through coordination and development of sustainable population and communities policies and supporting affordable housing6

Program 6.1: Affordable Housing

Outcome 5: Participation in, and access to, Australia's culture and heritage through developing and supporting cultural expression, and protecting and conserving Australia's heritage7

Outcome 7: Increase protection, awareness and appreciation of Australia's heritage through the identification, conservation and celebration of natural, indigenous and historic places of national and World Heritage significance

Program 5.2: Conservation and Protection of Australia's Heritage Program 7.1: Conservation and Protection of Australia's Heritage

TUESDAY= 22 FEBRUARY 2011

In continuation Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities Portfolio (SEWPaC) 9.00 am Outcome 4: Adaptation to climate change, wise water use, secure water

supplies and improved health of rivers, waterways and freshwater ecosystems by supporting research, and reforming the management and use of water

6

The SEWPaC Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements, at p. 39 , states "Outcome 6 is a new Outcome resulting from the Machinery of Government Change, with Housing moving from the Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs and Population from the Department of the Treasury" . 7

The SEWPaC Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements, at pp 38-39, states "the Arts and Cultw·e Program 5.1 in Outcome 5 has been transferred to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet as a result of the Machinery of Government Changes. Due to the timing of the Machinery of Government Changes and the reporting requirements, all funding appropriated in the 2010-11 Portfolio Budget Statements remains in Outcome 5 for this Additional Estimates process and is

reported in these statements. Additions or changes to Program 5.2 appropriations since the 2010-11 Budget, and estimates for the forward years, are reported in these statements as new Outcome 7: Conservation and Protection of Australia's Heritage".

127

16

resources

Murray-Darling Basin Authority Outcome 1: Equitable and sustainable use of the Murray-Darling Basin by governments and the community including through development and implementation of a Basin Plan, operation ofthe River Murray system, shared natural resource management programs, research, information and advice

Program 1.1 : Equitable and sustainable use of the Murray -Darling Basin

Program 4.1: Water Reform

National Water Commission Outcome 1: Informed decisions by governments on national water issues, and improved management of Australia's water resources, through advocacy, facilitation and independent advice

Program 1.1: Water Reform

2.00 pm Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy approx Portfolio Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE)

General questions of the department

Outcome 1-Develop a vibrant, sustainable and internationally competitive broadband, broadcasting and communications sector, through policy development, advice and program delivery, which promotes the digital economy for all Australians

Australia Post

Australian Broadcasting Corporation Outcome I: Informed, educated and entertained audiences-throughout Australia and overseas-through innovative and comprehensive media and related services

Program]. ]: ABC Radio Program 1.2: ABC Television Program 1.3: Online Outcome 2: Audience access to ABC satellite and analog terrestrial radio and television transmission services is, at a minimum, maintained year-on-year through the management of Transmission Service Agreements

Program 2.1 : ABC Analog Transmission Outcome3: Audience access to ABC digital television services is provided, in accordance with Government approved implementation policy, through the roll-out and maintenance of the associated distribution and transmission infrastructure

Program 3.1 : Access to Digital Television Services Outcome 4: Audience access to ABC digital radio services is provided, in accordance with Government approved implementation policy, through the rollout and maintenance of the associated distribution and transmission infrastructure

Program 4.1: Access to Digital Radio Services

Special Broadcasting Service Outcome 1: Provide multilingual and multicultural services that inform, educate and entertain all Australians and in so doin2 reflect Australia's

128

17

multicultural society Program 1.1: Television Program 1.2: Radio Program 1.3: Analogue Transmission and Distribution

Program 1.4: Digital Television Transmission and Distribution Program 1.5: Digital Radio Transmission and Distribution

Australian Communications and Media Authority Outcome 1: A communications and media environment that balances the needs of the industry and the Australian community through regulation, education and advice

Program 1.1: Communications regulation, planning and licensing Program 1.2: Consumer safeguards, education and information

Program 1.2: Telecommunications, Online and Postal Services

Program 1.3: Broadcasting and Digital Television

NBNCo

Program 1.1: Broadband and Communications infrastructure

11.00 pm Adjournment

BREAKS Morning tea 10.45 am approx

Lunch 1.00 pm 2.00pm

Afternoon tea 3.45 pm approx

Dinner 6.00 pm 7.00pm

Tea break 9.00 pm approx

129

18

130

19

Appendix 2

documents

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Climate Change and Energy Efficiency portfolio

Response to Senator Birmingham from Mr Comley, Acting Secretary, DCCEE, dated 22 February 2011, re the administered expenditure for the Home Insulation Program for 2010-11.

Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities portfolio

Copy of correspondence between the SA Department of Environment and Natural Resources and DSEWPaC, dated 14 February 2011 , re Update regarding Lake Albert management- Bund removal

131

20

132

Mr Stephen Palethorpe Committee Secretariat

Australian Government Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency

Environment and Communications Committee Parli am ent House CAKBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Mr PalethOIJIC

Mr Blair Comley Acting Secretary

At yesterday's Additional Estimates Hearing for the Climate Change and Energy Efficiency portfolio, Senator Birminghan1 asked several questions of the Department relating to expenditure on the Home Insulation Program. Home Insulation Safety Program and Foil Insulation Program.

The ti l!owing response should be provided to Senator Bim1ingham:

'In accordance with 1 he Department 's 2010-11 Portfolio Additional Estimates the adm in istered expenditure for the Home Insulation Program is projected to be S438. .:tm for the 2010-11 financial year. Note that this encapsulates expenditure for the Home lnsularion Program, Home In sulation Safety Program and Foil Jnsul aiion Safety Program ·.

Yours sincerely

t5la!r t.....o m1 ey 22 February 2011

think change (,!'(J '""''' Ca:Jto .. :n.J AI..' I 1;;! n,: I•O 'J

133

134

Ref: LU11/0095

14 February 2011

Barbara J s

Assis Secretary Environment Assessment Branch

Government of South Australia

Department of Environment and Natural Resou rces

Coorong. Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth Program

Ground Floor Chesser Street ADELAIDE SA 5000

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, and Communities GPO BOX 787

GPO Sox 1047

ADELAIDE SA 5001

CANBERRA ACT 2601 Ph: (08) 8204 91J69 Fax: (08) 8226 6140

www.environment.sa .gov .au

Attention: Mr Con Voutas I Ms Katrina Daniels

/ -

Dear e) L'· ,.- <'" Cl

1

Update regarding Lake Albert Management- Bund removal -Non-referral letter

In September 2010, the South Australian Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)

forwarded correspondence regarding proposals for Lake Albert management in 2010/2011 to the former

Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. It discussed breaching of the Narrung Bund,

establishment of the Meningie Lakefront Habitat Restoration Project and limestone dosing. Receipt of the

corresoondence was acknowledged on 10 September 2010. Establishment of the Meningie lakefront

Habitat Restoration Project is proceeding. Limestone dosing has not been required in Lake Albert for

acidification treatment during the 20 10/11 year to date. Water quality monitoring is continuing and limestone

treatment plans remain in place to respond to any risks of acidification as may be required.

The Narrung Bund was engineered as a temporary structure to avert acidification in Lake Albert by

maintaining water levels above critical levels during a time of low River Murray inflows. II originally

comprised around 43,000m 3

of homogenous sand fill sourced from local sites and was around 280m in

length and 180m in width. In mid-September 2010, with rapidly improved water availability and higher water

levels being experienced in Lake Alexandrina, the Bund was breached by excavating a section of

approximately 100m in length of variable depth from the structure to allow improved water levels and salinity

reductions in Lake Albert.

With the Murray-Darling Basin having now experienced its wettest year on record and the latest MDBA

predictions indicating that water levels in the Lake Alexandrina will remain above O.Om until at least the next

water year, the SA Government is now planning to fully remove the Narrung Bund (in addition to the other

2010/2011 management actions outlined in previous correspondence).

After consideration of a range of methods for removal, it is intended that the Bund will be fully removed

through the removal of the sand materials used to construct the Bund and placement of th e mudwaves

arising from the Bund back into the dredged void.

135

The process for removal of the Bund will involve the following stages:

1. Removal of the sheet piles in the Bund This stage should take around 2 weeks to complete.

2. Excavate imported materials

This stage should take around 6-8 weeks to complete. Excavated sand will be tested and treated in

accordance with South Australian Environment Protection Authority fill requirements and deposited

at a local land holder's station (by agreement). The disposal site is a salt scalded area on a pastoral

station that does not give rise to native vegetation concerns.

3. Dredging in channel

Dredging would take place once excavation has been completed and sediments remaining

underwater have settled. Follow up bathymetric surveys of the Narrung Narrows will determine the

extent of any future · dredging work required to return the site to pre-construction conditions in a

timely manner.

Subject to funding and approvals, removal of the sheet piles could commence as soon as late

February 201 1.

A self-assessment by the SA Government, outlined in Attachment A. has found that the removal of the

Narrung Bund is unlikely to result in any significant negative impacts upon matters of NES.

Yours sincerely

Clare Kiesewetter

DIRECTOR

COORONG, LOWER LAKES AND MURRAY MOUTH PROGRAM

DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES

136

2

w .._,

SALINITY

Attachment A

Self-assessment of impacts upon Matters of National Environmental Significance (using primary determinants of ecolog ica l character in the Ramsaf" site)

Prior to drought conditions, salinity was, on average, less than 700 EC in Lake Alexandrine {at Milang) and less than 1 600 EC in Lake Albert

(at Meningie). Salinity in Lake Alexandrinn has now decreased to pre-drought conditions. with the measurements on 3 February 2011 ranging

between 300-600 EC. By late summer 2009, salinity in Lake Albert approached 20 000 EC. Since the breach, salinity has reduced but

remains variable around 6 000-7000 EC . with Meningie recording nearly 7 600 EC on 3 February. (NB seawater has a salinity in the order of

60000EC.)

Figure 1 below provides a map of the locations mentioned here.

Removal of the bund will more fully reconnect Lake Albert to Lake Alexandrlna via the Narrung Narrows and thus provide for improved salinity

exchange relative to the breached bund remaining In place. The removal of the remaining bund will maximise water quality improvement

within the pre-existing constraints on water exchange naturally imposed by constrictions in the Narrung Narrows. It is expected that it will still

take some time for salinity levels to fully reduce to historical levels. Given the scale of Lake Alexandrine relative to Lake Albert, salinity

entering from Lake Albert can be expected to have very little impact on Lake Alexandrine. High flows currently passing through the lakes will

dilute salinity, aid in the discharge of the salt from Lako Albert using managed variable lake levels, and support the release of salinity from

both lakes through barrage releases.

w (X)

TURBIDITY AND

! SEDIMENTATION

KEYSTONE AQUA TIC

PLANT SPECIES

WATER LEVELS

HABITAT

CONNECTIVITY

WATER REGIME,

PARTICULARLY FLOW

PATTERNS

4

Lake Albert historically experiences higher sedimentation rates and turbidity than other areas of the Lower Lakes. Temporary and localised

increases in tu rb idity and sedimentation may be experienced during the removal process; however these are not expected to be significant

and will also be managed in accordance with South Australian EPA requirements.

No significant lmeact is expec!!£1_,___··-·--·- --·

Keystone aquatic plant species in the Narrung Narrows and fringing areas of the lake, particularly reedbeds of Typha domingensis and I I

Phragmites australis, may be temporarily impacted by potential lemporary increased turbidity and sedimentation, although Lake Albert

sedimentation rates in the lake are historically higher than in other areas of the Ramsar site. However, overall , these species will benefit from

decreased salinity levels below 5 000 EC.

A positive impact is

Water levels between Lake Alexandrine and Lake Albert equalised in October 2010 following the breach of the Narrung Bund. Full removal of

the bund will retain equal levels.

No Impact Is expected.

Full removal will further improve hydrological connectivity between Lakes Alexandrina and Albert, supporting fish movements and seed

dispersal.

A positive impact

Removal of the bund will fully reconnect Lakes Alexandrine and Albert and as such will reinstate the historical flow regime. Full reconneclion

of both waterbodies will improve flows between the lakes, including the effects of wind seiche - an Important driver of ecological character.

A positive impact is expected.

"'

.

l. >

.

'

'',

'II

I

0 .t.mticrrl 64\u m t_.4HOI

-Rf!OUil!Ot

Ratdl '..._:i .\} 51o () nl

....::..·1 to..IJ..5m

m

:

}·!5 to•3m

Figure 1: Location Map with ambient water quality monitoring sites

Ambient Water Qua lity Monitoring

• "'t, .:, W.-· . ''·" '''"

""""'It

•· •

•.. ,,, ,., ..

0:.( -i· l i "tll.>'.s!'.-! t)

''"' '"'.

• NIJIINnftJ •

1111 • .v' '· "-"'<

. , , •. ,. s,'u"\

,.,.,. ,,. ""' '

•,,• tH ·â€¢â€¢: ..

·-·"' •• :1!

!>, "f·· •

;." ,;

• 4J ,I.k;lll 1iJ"' N A

140

The Senate

Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee

Additional estimates 2010-11

March 2011

141

©Commonwealth of Australia 2011

ISBN 978-1-74229-386-8

The Senate PO Box 6100 Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Ph: 02 6277 3530 Fax: 02 6277 5809

E-mail: fpa.sen@aph.gov.au Internet: www.aph. gov.au/senate fpa

Printed by the Senate Printing Unit, Parliament House, Canberra.

142

Membership of the Committee

Senator Helen Polley (Chair)

Senator Mitch Fifield (Deputy Chair)

Senator the Hon John Faulkner

Senator the Hon Ursula Stephens

Senator Helen Kroger

Senator Rachel Siewert

Participating members

ALP, TAS

LP, VIC

ALP,NSW

ALP,NSW

LP, VIC

AG,WA

Senators Abetz, Adams, Back, Barnett, Bernardi, Bilyk, Birmingham, Bishop, Boswell, Boyce, Brandis, Bob Brown, Carol Brown, Bushby, Cameron, Cash, Colbeck, Coonan, Cormann, Crossin, Eggleston, Ferguson, Fierravanti-Wells, Fielding, Fifield, Fisher, Forshaw, Furner, Hanson-Young, Heffernan, Humphries, Hurley, Hutchins, Johnston, Joyce, Ludlam, Macdonald, McEwen, McGauran, Marshall, Mason, Milne, Minchin, Moore, Nash, O'Brien, Parry, Payne, Pratt,

Ronaldson, Ryan, Scullion, Sterle, Troeth, Trood, Williams, Wortley and Xenophon.

Secretariat

Ms Christine McDonald

Ms Kyriaki Mechanicos

Ms Victoria Robinson-Conlon

Mr Hugh Griffin

Committee Secretary

Senior Research Officer

Research Officer

Administrative Officer

iii

143

IV

144

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Membership of the Committee ........................................................................ iii

Additional Estimates 20 10-11 ............................................................................ 1

Portfolio coverage .................................................................................................. 1

Variation of portfolios ...................................................... ...................................... 1

Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements ................... ............. ... .. ... ........ ...... .. .. ... 2

Hearings ............. .. .. ........... ..... .. .... .................................................. ..... ... .... ............. 3

Procedural Matters ................. .... .... .. ............ ... ... .. ............... .. ........... ... ...... .... .......... 4

Portfolio Issues .......................................................................................................... 7

Department of the Senate ....................................................................................... 7

Department of Parliamentary Services ....... ................................... ......... .. .............. 8

Prime Minister and Cabinet Portfolio .................................. .......... ... .......... ...... .. ... 9

Finance and Deregulation Portfolio ...................................................................... 13

Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government ....... ...... ..... .. ... ..... ... ...... .. ..... ... .. ... .... .................. ..... ...... .................. ... 16

Appendix 1 ......................................................................................................... 19

Departments and agencies under the Committee's oversight ............................ 19

Parliament ............................................................................................................. 19

Prime Minister and Cabinet Portfolio .................................................................. 19

Finance and Deregulation Portfolio .......................................................... .... ........ 20

Appendix 2 ......................................................................................................... 21

Index to Hansard Transcripts ............................................................................... 21

v

145

146

Additional Estimates 2010-11 1.1 On 10 February 2011, the Senate referred to the Finance and Public

Administration Legislation Committee (the Committee), the following documents for examination and report:

• particulars of proposed additional expenditure in respect of the year ending on 30 June 2010 [Appropriation Bill (No.3) 2010-11];

• particulars of certain proposed additional expenditure in respect of the year ending on 30 June 2010 [Appropriation Bill (No . 4) 2010-11]; and

• final budget outcome 2009-10 and the Issues from the advances under the annual Appropriation Acts for 2009-10.

Portfolio coverage

1.2 The Committee has responsibility for exammmg the expenditure and outcomes of the following:

•

•

•

Parliament 1;

Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio, including the Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government; and

Finance and Deregulation portfolio .

Appendix 1 lists the departments, agencies, authorities and compames under the portfolios mentioned above.

Variation of portfolios

1.3 As described in the Committee's second report on annual reports for 2010, there have been two recent major changes to the Committee's portfolio oversight. Following the release of the Administrative Arrangement Orders in September 2010, the areas of arts and sport were transferred to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. At the same time, the Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government was established within the Prime Minister and

Cabinet portfolio.

1.4 In addition, the Committee previously examined the Human Services portfolio, however on 29 September 2010, the Senate allocated the portfolio to the Community Affairs Committee for oversight. 2

As a matter of comity between the Houses, neither House inquires into the operations of the other House. For this reason, neither the annual report of, nor the proposed expenditure for, the Department of the House of Representatives is referred to a Senate committee for review.

2 See paragraph 1.5 of the committee's previous report: Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee, Annual reports (No . 2 of 2010), November 2010, p. 2.

147

2

Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements

Prime Minister and Cabinet

1.5 There were a number of significant changes to the outcomes and programs for the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio following the 2010 federal election.

1.6 Further to the information above, responsibility for cultural affairs-including moveable cultural heritage and support for the arts-has been transferred to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) as well as the responsibility for sport and recreation. These areas have become outcomes two and three respectively of the department. The Committee had the opportunity to question the arts and sports outcomes and agencies for the first time at Supplementary Budget Estimates in October last year.

1.7 Other changes to the PM&C portfolio following the Administrative Arrangement Orders of 14 September 20 10 were the establishment of the Office of the Non-Profit Sector and a cyber security unit to provide a single point of coordination and advice for the Government. In addition, the Remuneration Tribunal has been transferred from the Education, Employment and Workplace Relations portfolio to the Australian Public Service Commissioner (within the PM&C portfolio coverage). 3

1.8 On 1 November 2010, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) was established. The Office was created following commitments by the Government to improve freedom of information regulation and privacy protections. OAIC incorporates the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. 4

Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government

1.9 The Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government (DRARDLG) was established last year to 'improve the social, economic and environmental outcomes for Australia's regions'. It also delivers on the Commitmen t to Regional Australia agreement signed between the Australian Labor Party and Mr Rob Oakshott MP and Mr Tony Windsor MP, following the 2010 federal election. 5

1.10 The regional development and local government functions of the new department were transferred from the former Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government. DRARDLG also has responsibilities

3 Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio, Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements 2010-11, Explanations of Additional Estimates 2010-11, p. 6.

4 Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio, Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements 2010-11, Explanations of Additional Estimates 2010-11, p. 7.

5 Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements 2010-11, Explanations of Additional Estimates 2010-11, p. 3.

148

3

for Australia's territorial functions including the National Capital Authority which previously were within the Attorney-General's portfolio. 6

Department of Finance and Deregulation

1.11 There have been no significant changes to the Finance and Deregulation portfolio since the Committee last reported on Estimates. Following the Administrative Arrangement Orders of September last year, the functions associated with the Prime Minister's Official Establishments were transferred from PM&C to the Department of Finance and Deregulation.

Hearings

1.12 The Committee held public hearings on Monday, 21 and Tuesday, 22 February 2011. Over the course of the two days' hearings-totalling over 21 hours-the Committee took evidence from the President of the Senate, Senator the Hon John Hogg; Senator the Hon Chris Evans, Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations, representing the Prime Minister; Senator the Hon Mark Arbib, Minister for Sport7 ; Senator the Hon Penny Wong, Minister for Finance and Deregulation; and Senator the Hon Nick Sherry, Minister for Small Business,

representing the Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, together with officers of the departments and agencies concerned. The Committee expresses its appreciation for the assistance of the President, Ministers, Departmental Secretaries and the officers who appeared before it.

1.13 The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman was the only agency to be released from the hearings without examination.

1.14 The following agencies were dismissed prior to the hearings: Australian Institute of Family Studies, Australian Public Service Commission, National Archives of Australia, National Australia Day Council, Australian Sports Commission, Australian Sports Foundation Ltd, Australian National Maritime Museum, Australian Film, Television and Radio School, Bundanon Trust, Australia Council, Australia Business Arts Foundation, Albury-W odonga Development Corporation, Australian Industry Development Corporation, Australian Reward Investment Alliance,

Australian River Co Ltd and ASC Pty Ltd.

1.15 Copies of the Hansard transcripts are available on the internet at the following address: http://www.aph.gov.au/hansardlindex.htm

6 Infrastructure and Transport portfolio, Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements 2010-11, Explanations of Additional Estimates 2010-11, p. 3, Attorney-General's portfolio, Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements 2010-11, Explanations of Additional Estimates 2010-11, p. 3.

7 Senator the Hon Mark Arbib replaced Senator the Hon Chris Evans, representing the Prime Minister as Minister at the table after the dinner break on Monday 21 February, Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp 95-115.

149

4

1.16 In accordance with Standing Order 26, the Committee is required to set a date for the lodgement of written answers and additional information. The Committee resolved that written answers and additional information be submitted by Friday, 15 April2011.

1.1 7 Further written information from departments and agencies will be tabled, as received, in the Senate. This information is available on the Committee's website: http://www .aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/fapa ctte/estimates/index.htm

Programming

1.18 As noted in the Committee's previous report on Budget Estimates, 8 the Committee's program included approximate timings for each departments' outcomes and for agencies. The Committee continues to find this approach helpful as it enables senators to focus their questioning on matters within the program and contributes to the smooth running of the hearing.

Procedural Matters

Claims for public interest immunity

1.19 During the estimates hearings the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) claimed public interest immunity when requested to provide advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions relating to an AEC investigation. Mr Paul Pirani, Chief Legal Officer, AEC, stated that the reason for not releasing the advice was that it was 'normal Commonwealth practice in all Commonwealth agencies ... that public interest immunity is claimed on all of those legal advisings from DPP'. The Minister informed the Committee that a full and detailed explanation would be provided as to why the DPP advice could not be publicly released. 9

1.20 The Minister was questioned further on whether it was possible to claim public interest immunity without providing 'the committee with a statement of the grounds for her conclusion and specifying the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the document'. 10 The Minister, quoting from the Senate Procedure Committee's third report of2009, stated that:

8 Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee, Budget estimates 2010-11 , June 2010, p. 2.

9 Senator the Hon Penny Wong, Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Committee Hansard. 22 February 2011, p. F&PA 72.

10 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011, p. F&PA 74.

150

It is also open to a Senate minister who is responsible for the matters under consideration to defer, and further consider, a decision on whether to make a public interest immunity claim. 11

5

1.21 The Committee received advice from the Clerk of the Senate in relation to this matter. The Clerk noted

.. .it would ... not be unreasonable for the minister to seek to provide the rationale on notice. The significant point for the committee is that it should be provided with a considered and well-founded explanation for the claim. Conceding that the Minister may need to take advice and to consider the matter is not at all inconsistent with the practices of the Senate. 12

The full response provided by the Clerk was read into the Hansard record and tabled by the Committee. A copy is also available on the Committee's website.

1.22 The sections of the report that follow list various issues considered by the Committee and discuss some of these in detail. The order is not based on hierarchy but rather on the order in which the portfolio issues arose during the hearings.

11 Senate Standing Committee on Procedure, Third report of 2009: Committee proceedings and public interest immunity claims: order of the Senate of 13 May 2009, Senators caring for an infant: standing order 175, 20 August 2009, pp 1-2. 12 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , p. F&PA 80.

151

152

Portfolio Issues

2.1 The following discussion highlights some of the major 1ssues canvassed during the estimates hearings.

Department of the Senate

2.2 The Committee questioned the Department of the Senate on the status of the orders of the Senate relating to the production of documents, and what weight freedom of information requests have in relation to orders of the Senate. The Clerk responded that 'the power of the houses exists over and above the FOI Act' and if there was an agency or Minister refusing to provide documents to the Senate, a majority of the

Senate could impose a penalty. 1

2.3 The Committee discussed the response of the Australian Information Commissioner to the provision within the orders for the production of documents on the mining tax and new health reform funding model that the Information Commissioner examine the grounds advanced by the government for nondisclosure of the documents and to provide a report to the Senate. In response to questions on the matter, the Clerk responded:

I am quite surprised that the Information Commissioner has taken the line that he has, which is one of very strict statutory interpretation. His statute does not encompass this specific function; therefore, he claims that he is not empowered to produce the document. My argument is that the power to

require the production of the document is an overarching and underlying power that in some senses makes the statute irrelevant.

2.4 The Clerk also commented that perhaps this matter could be referred to the Senate Privileges Committee to look at what could 'be done to raise the knowledge of senior officials about the practices of the parliament'. 2

2.5 The issue of the presentation of petitions to the Senate was canvassed, particularly in light of media comments which reflected a possible misunderstanding of the conventions in relation to the presentation of petitions. The Clerk explained the conventions which apply when senators present petitions:

There is no notion that by doing that the senator is in any way signing up to the content of the petition. What the senator is doing in presenting that opinion, which is out there in the community- it may be held by as few as one person-is acting as a conduit between the community and the Senate. A petition with one signature on it is as valid as a petition with 100,000, provided it conforms with those basic rules in the standing order. 3

Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp F&PA 3-4.

2 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp F&PA 4-5.

3 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. F&PA 5.

153

8

2.6 Other issues raised by the Committee related to the number of references referred to Senate committees and how the department manages staffing levels. The Committee also acknowledged the high quality of the publication, Annotated Standing Orders of the Australian Senate, and recognised the long service provided to the

Senate by the retiring Acting Deputy Clerk, Mr Cleaver Elliot. 4

Department of Parliamentary Services

2.7 The Committee questioned the Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) in relation to the current joint parliamentary inquiry into the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) and the role the proposed PBO could play in the Parliament. Concerns were raised about the provision of adequate accommodation space for a PBO . However, these concerns were dispelled by DPS which explained that there were several unused spaces within the building that could be converted to office space. 5

2.8 Issues raised at the supplementary estimates hearing were again pursued with the Parliamentary Library including the increase in requests for research from members of parliament and the pressure this places on Library staff. The Library noted that it was working towards having more resources available online and that an external staffing review, commencing in the near future, would look at the best way to deliver services electronically. 6

2.9 DPS also answered questions in relation to the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits (DFRDB) Bills Digest published by the Library. The Parliamentary Librarian commented that 'there were some areas where we could have been more fulsome in terms of the content' in the Bills Digest and went on to state that this incident had shown the Library where it could improve its processes but did not 'go to the nature of the Digest itself being biased'. 7

2.10 The costs and progress of reviews of the Library were discussed with the Committee. One review is to set a strategic direction for the Library and the other is an external review of staffing levels. 8 Progress on the recruitment process for the position of director of the Law and Bills Digest Section was also raised. 9

2.11 The Building and Occupants Services section of DPS was questioned extensively and matters covered included the Parliament House 'Briefing Room' and security services at Parliament House. The Committee examined the funding arrangements and general responsibilities of the various government departments

4 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp F&PA 7-8.

5 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp F&PA 8-11.

6 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011; p. F&PA 13.

7 Committee Hansard, 21 Februa1y 2011, pp F&PA 14-16, p. F&PA 16.

8 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. F&PA 17.

9 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. F&PA 20, 19-20.

154

9

involved in the running of the Briefing Room. In relation to security matters, the issue of 'swipe' access to certain areas of the building was again raised. 10

2.12 Other issues covered by the Committee included security exemptions at official ceremonies of Parliament, billiard tables in Parliament House, the catering contract with InterContinent<;tl Hotel Group (IHG), the solar panel trial for the building and policies in relation to the hanging of portraits in the building. 11

2.13 Parking pressures at Parliament House, due to the recently enforced three hour limit in the public car park, were raised by the Committee. DPS stated that it is looking for a solution to the situation, particularly as there is no plan for new car parks within easy access of Parliament House in the near future. 12

2.14 The Committee raised concerns in relation to the state of the Parliament House computer network and proposal for DPS to take over responsibility for all electorate office computing services from the Department of Finance and Deregulation. Senators suggested the inclusion of internet access at Parliament House

for private devices, and further questioning on IT covered Blackberrys, iPads and staffing levels. 13

2.15 In relation to broadcasting and Hansard, the Committee canvassed the use of Committee Room 1R1 for estimates committee hearings as permanent cameras are not installed in this room. In relation to Hansard, the Committee questioned the department on outsourcing arrangements for committee hearings, particularly in­

camera proceedings. The Committee also looked at matters relating to the publication of Hansard and the video-conferencing product TelePresence. 14 Finally, works being carried out around Parliament House-in particular the reactivated water features­ were discussed by the Committee. 15

Prime Minister and Cabinet Portfolio

Office of the Official Secretmy to the Governor-General

2.16 The Committee opened questioning of the Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General on two important invitations recently received by the Governor­ General: the 60 1h anniversary of the Queen's accession on 12 February 2012; and the wedding of Prince William and Miss Kate Middleton. The Office also provided

additional information in relation to an afternoon tea at Government House which had

10 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp F&PA 22-23.

11 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp F&PA 24-26, p. 26, pp F&PA 31-34.

12 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. F&PA 28.

13 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp F&PA 34-44.

14 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp F&PA 44-49.

15 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp F&PA 49-50.

155

10

been the subject of media comment in January 2011 and the arrangements for the episode of MasterChejfilmed at the residence. 16

2.17 More detailed questioning was focused on invitations to D Company of the 6RAR for the commemoration of the Battle of Long Tan. The Committee examined why the event had not taken place in Canberra and the involvement of the Department of Defence in the arrangements. 17

2.18 The Committee also canvassed the Governor-General's recent and upcoming travel. The planned trip to Kuwait on the 22nd February 2011 to commemorate the first Gulf War was discussed and the Committee raised concerns for the Governor­ General's safety due to the recent unrest in the Middle East. The Committee also discussed the Governor-General's response to the natural disasters that have occurred around the country and the choice of the Governor-General to lead the Australian Delegation at the World Cup bid in Zurich.

18

2.19 The Council for the Order of Australia was discussed by the Committee and the membership of the Council was provided. The Committee examined the process of nominations for the Order of Australia and the role of the Official Secretary as secretary of the Council for the Order of Australia.

19

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

2.20 Due to the addition of arts and sport to the department's outcomes, there were several agencies appearing before the Committee for the first time. Therefore, questioning by the Committee covered a wide range of topics and issues. The Committee also followed up questions from previous estimates in relation to the PM&C enterprise agreement, the drafting of the post-election agreement between the Government and the Australian Greens, and the Parliament House Briefing Room.

2.21 There was extensive questioning of the COAG support unit within PM&C in relation to the COAG goals for the coming year, particularly the agenda of the COAG meeting on 14 February 2011. Other topics discussed with the department regarding COAG were the seamless national economy initiatives, the Business Regulation and Competition Working Group and the various COAG councils. 20

2.22 The revised health agreement between the Federal Government and the State and Territory Governments was discussed with PM&C. The Committee sought information on changes to the National Health and Hospitals Network to which the department responded:

16 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp F&PA 50-52.

17 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 : pp F&PA 52-55.

18 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp F&PA 55-58, pp F&PA 64-65.

19 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp F&PA 58-63.

20 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp F&PA 80-86, pp F&PA 93-95.

156

... one jurisdiction had refused to sign the National Health and Hospitals Network Agreement and there was a view that it would be desirable to have all jurisdictions signed up to a national health reform. 21

11

2.23 The Commonwealth's response to the recent natural disasters across Australia was canvassed. The Committee questioned PM&C on what constituted a natural disaster affected town, how the Commonwealth disaster relief fund would be used to fund reconstruction of public assets and the role of the social inclusion board in the

recovery effort. PM&C also provided an explanation of its role in the recovery effort and its interaction with the Attorney-General's Department which manages the National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA). 22

2.24 Other matters raised with PM&C included the Prime Minister's forthcoming trip to the United States, the progress of the appointment of the National Security Legislation Monitor, the whole-of-government taskforce investigating WikiLeaks and the resignation of the housekeeper at the Lodge. 23

2.25 In the arts and culture area, PM&C responded to questions on the progress of the national cultural policy, the resale royalty scheme and the future of the Australia Council. 24 A number of arts agencies appeared before the Committee. Many agencies were questioned on the effect of the efficiency dividend on their programs and staffing

levels. The following specific issues were raised with individual agencies:

• Screen Australia answered questions on the 2010 Review of the Australian Independent Screen Production Sector;

• the Government's new cultural policy and the opportumtles that could be created by the NBN were discussed with the Australia Council;

• the Committee questioned the National Film and Sound Archive on their limited storage capacity and the possible effects of the Screen Australia (Transfer of Assets) Bil12010;

• the Committee discussed the National Museum of Australia's display of frontier conflicts and upcoming 1oth anniversary;

• the popular new exhibition on street art currently being shown at the National Gallery of Australia was covered by the Committee; and

• the Committee questioned the National Library of Australia on the progress of appointing a new Director-General, limits to physical space available at the Library and the size of the task of digitising its resources. 25

21 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp F&PA 87-91.

22 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp F&PA 91-99.

23 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp F&PA 99-105.

24 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp F&PA 115-119.

25 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. F&PA 119-127.

157

12

2.26 The Committee opened questioning of outcome two of PM&C, sport and recreation, on the Football Federation of Australia (FF A) bid for the World Cup. The issues covered included the cost of the bid, information on the consultants that put together the bid and why there was not closer departmental involvement during the process. 26

2.27 Further questions in relation to the World Cup focused on the cost of the campaign presentation and discussion in relation to the receipt of only one vote for Australia. In relation to the latter, the department stated:

What the bid process was able to do was to highlight the very real potential of Australia to host an event like this; significant support that came from all governments, both sides of politics, and a range of football codes in support of football in Australia. 27

2.28 The Committee briefly questioned the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority on its process for testing high profile athletes and the role of their user-pays program. 28

Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security

2.29 The appearance of the Inspector-General was limited due to time restrictions on the day. However, the Office answered questions in relation to the progress of the inquiry into the actions of relevant Australian agencies in the arrest and detention overseas of Mr Mamdouh Habib, an incomplete inquiry into ASIO and complaints received during the year regarding intelligence and security agencies. 29

Office of National Assessments

2.30 The Office of National Assessments appeared briefly before the Committee and answered questions relating to its new building and the increase in legal costs over the last financial year. 30

Office ofthe Australian Information Commissioner

2.31 The Committee questioned the newly established Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) for the first time at additional estimates. In response to information provided by the Clerk of the Senate, the Committee questioned the Commissioner in relation to the provisions of the Senate's order for the

26 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp F &P A 66-77.

27 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. F&PA 127-129.

28 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. F&PA 129-130.

29 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp F&PA 105-108.

30 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp F&PA 108-109.

158

13

production of documents in relation to his office and powers of the Commonwealth Parliament. 31 The Australian Information Commissioner responded:

My view is that one cannot look at it solely from the perspective of the powers that the parliament may assert or exercise to require production of documents or information. It is necessary in our constitutional and legal context to take account of the legislation establishing an office such as mine

to see, firstly, whether I do have the function to respond and, secondly, whether it would cause any inconsistency with the legislation establishing my office .. .I can only comply with the order of the Senate if it otherwise falls within my statutory function to prepare a report .. .I have no legal power to obtain access to the documents that the minister has declined to give to the Senate. 32

2.32 Other issues discussed included the role of the Australian Information Commissioner in the Government's agreement with the Independent Members to promote open and accountable government, and which Commonwealth agencies and companies are subject to the Freedom oflnformation Act.

Australian National Audit Office

2.33 The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) answered questions from the Committee in relation to recent requests for audits of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO. Further discussions with the ANAO covered the audit report on the Murray-Darling Basin and the issues surrounding the purchase of

. 1 33 permanent water entlt ements.

Finance and Deregulation Portfolio

Medibank Private Ltd

2.34 In his opening statement, Mr George Savvides, Managing Director, Medibank Private, explained the changing nature of the services provided by the organisation including new health services and services targeting customers with chronic disease.

2.35 The Committee returned to questions from previous estimates in relation to dividends to be paid to the Government. Other issues raised included the possible privatisation of Medibank, the current market value of the company and the impacts of the Government's recently announced health reforms.

2.36 Medibank also provided an explanation of the impact of the recent natural disasters on its staff and facilities, and its involvement in the recovery effort. 34

31 See paragraphs 2.2-2.3 above.

32 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. F&PA 110.

33 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp F&PA 113-115.

34 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011, pp F&PA 3-10.

159

14

Department of Finance and Deregulation

2.37 The Committee opened questioning of the Department of Finance and Deregulation (Finance) on the Independent Communications Committee (ICC). Following on from questions at previous estimates, the Committee examined the campaigns examined by the ICC and payments made to ICC members. 35 Furthermore, there was discussion on the involvement of the ICC in the release of the health reform advertisements. 36

2.38 Other issues examined by the Committee included the legal costs of the department's Sydney Airport Corporation Ltd case, the funding review of the Australian War Memorial and the costing of election commitments. 37

2.39 The Committee spent time discussing the Government's contingency reserve and its purpose in relation to the flood recovery package and the NBN. 38

2.40 The Committee also examined the funding of the Natural Disaster Relief Fund, sought clarification on matters in relation to the $5.6 billion flood package and guidelines for exemptions to paying the flood levy. The role and cost of the Australian Government Reconstruction Inspectorate was also discussed. 39

2.41 The Government's new health reform was covered by the Committee, with questions focused on the changes made to the policy and the structure of the new funding arrangements. The department also provided an overview of how the Treasury and departments of Finance and Deregulation, Health and Ageing, and the Prime Minister and Cabinet will interact to deliver the new health package. 40

2.42 Finance provided information to the Committee in relation to their role in carrying out castings of two private senators' bills currently before the Senate. 41 The Minister explained why the castings had been carried out by the department:

The reason I put these castings into the public arena is that, as Minister for Finance and Deregulation, I thought it was important that senators of all parties understand what they are voting on and that they understand the fiscal impact...My intention ... would be that we do need transparency around

the fiscal impact of the legislation that non-government senators wish to put

35 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , pp F&PA 22-23 .

36 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , pp F&PA 10-13 , pp F&PA 17-19, p. F&PA 22 .

37 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , pp F&PA 13-17, p. F&PA 19.

38 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , pp F&PA 19-22.

39 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011, pp 25-33.

40 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , pp F&PA 33-42.

41 Social Secmity Amendment (Income Support for Regional Students) Bill 2010 and the Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Amendment (Fair Indexation) Bill 2010.

160

up. If they wish to support it, I think they should be accountable for how they say they will fund that. 42

15

2.43 The Committee also examined what briefings had been provided by the department to the Australian Greens and independent members of parliament since the 2010 federal election. 43

2.44 Other issues raised by the Committee included the effect the increase in FOI requests has had on advice provided to government, total liabilities for the year and the Australian Government Monthly Financial Statements. Commonwealth property management, the Caucus Committee Support and Training Unit and staff employed in

the Prime Minister's office were also discussed with the Committee. 44

2.45 In relation to parliamentary entitlements, Finance provided information on Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 employee entitlements, statistics on travel of parliamentarians, information on video link-up meetings and the monthly management reports of senators and members. Further information was provided in relation to the

transfer of responsibility for electorate office computing services to DPS. 45

ComSuper

2.46 The Committee questioned ComSuper on a particular matter in relation to a former employee of a company providing contract services to ComSuper. The Minister suggested that a private meeting with ComSuper and the member who raised the matter would be more appropriate and the Committee accepted the proposal. 46

Australian Electoral Commission

2.47 The Committee questioned the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) on a variety of matters, particularly those relating to current investigations being carried out by the agency. The AEC claimed public interest immunity during questioning on these matters and this is discussed further at paragraphs 1.19-1.21 of this report.

2.48 The 'how should I vote' website of the organisation GetUp! and the investigation being carried out by the AEC into whether GetUp! is an associated entity of the Australian Labor party were discussed with the Committee.

2.49 The Committee followed up previous questions in relation to two cases currently being investigated. In addition, the issue of fake how-to-vote-cards was

42 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011, p. F&PA 44.

43 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , pp F&PA 44-47.

44 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011, pp F&PA 48-60.

45 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , pp F&PA 60-66.

46 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , pp F&PA 23-24.

161

16

addressed as well as matters concerning electorate boundaries, the process for establishing those boundaries and the naming of political parties. 47

Future Fund

2.50 The Committee examined information provided by the Future Fund at the supplementary estimates on its sell-down of Telstra shares and plans for these shares in the future .

2.51 Other matters covered the differences between the Future Fund and the three nation building funds , what recent changes have been made to the Future Fund's portfolio and the progress of appointing a General Manager for the Fund. 48

Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government

2.52 The Secretary of the Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government (DRARDLG), Ms Glenys Beauchamp, opened the department's evidence with an overview of the progress within the new department since last estimates.

2.53 The Committee questioned the department on their involvement in the flood recovery process, particularly the announcement that $77 million of local government Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) would be provided to flood-affected councils. 49

2.54 There was some confusion during the hearing around where questions on the flood relief package should be directed. The department explained that 'the administration of the NDRRA program is through the Attorney-General's Department, and those guidelines and the application of NDRRA funds are ... publicly available on the website'. 5° Further questions were asked in relation to the package, most notably how the $2 billion to be provided this financial year will be spent and the interaction between the Federal Government, State Governments and local councils to ensure this money is provided effectively. 51

2.55 In addition, the Committee raised matters in relation to the Local Government Reform Fund, the department's role as the contract manager under the National Partnership Agreement and the Australian Centre for Excellence in Local Government. The department also provided information on the Regional Development

47 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , pp F&PA 68-80.

48 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011, pp F&PA 99-105.

49 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , pp F&PA 84-86.

50 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011, p. F&PA 86.

51 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , pp F&PA 95-96, p. F&PA 110.

162

17

Australia (RDA) Committees, their membership , regional development plans and the RDA chairs' meeting in Canberra this year. 52

2.56 The Committee also found there was still confusion around which programs and projects are delivered by DRARDLG and which are delivered by the Department of Infrastructure and Transport. 53 The Committee encourages DRARDLG to continue to provide a program overview in its opening statement at estimates to help clarify this

situation.

2.57 The Committee spent some time questioning the department about what constituted a regional project. The department provided the Committee with a detailed definition of the term 'regional' and commented that ultimately the department's projects are focused on areas outside the major cities. 54

2.58 The branch ofDRARDLG which coordinates the Office of Northern Australia provided evidence to the Committee in relation to the Northern Australian Sustainable Futures program, the Cairns Plan, staffing levels of the Office and funding for the East Kimberley Project. 55

National Capital Authority

2.59 The National Capital Authority provided information to the Committee on the projects it is currently undertaking and its key output areas. Other issues examined by the Committee included the increased demand for parking in the parliamentary zone and Barton, the long-term plans for Constitution Avenue and the long-term plan for

the National Capital. 56

Senator Helen Polley

Chair

52 Co mmittee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , pp F&PA 86-91, 105- 109 .

53 For example, Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , pp F&PA 91-92.

54 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , p. F&PA 109.

55 Co mmittee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , pp F&PA 123-126.

56 Co mmittee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , pp F&PA 122-126.

163

164

Appendix 1

Departments and agencies under the Committee's oversight

Parliament

• Department of the Senate

• Department of Parliamentary Services

Prime Minister and Cabinet Portfolio

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Australia Business Arts Foundation

Australia Council

Australian Film, Television and Radio School

Australian Institute of Family Studies

Australian National Audit Office

Australian National Maritime Museum

Australian Public Service Commission

Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority

Australian Sports Commission (AIS)

Australian Sports Foundation Ltd

Bundanon Trust

National Archives of Australia

National Australia Day Council

National Capital Authority

National Film and Sound Archive

National Gallery of Australia

National Library of Australia

National Museum of Australia

Office of National Assessments

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman

Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security

165

20

• Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General

• Old Parliament House

• Screen Australia

Finance and Deregulation Portfolio

• Department of Finance and Deregulation

• Albury-W odonga Development Corporation

• Australian Electoral Commission

• Australian Industry Development Corporation

• Australian Reward Investment Alliance

• Australian River Co Ltd

• Australian Technology Group Ltd

• ComSuper

• Future Fund Management Agency

• Medibank Private Ltd

166

Appendix 2

Index to Hansard Transcripts 1 Page no.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Parliament

Department of the Senate ........................................................................................ 3

Department of Parliamentary Services .. ... .......... ..... .... .... .... ........... .. ................. ..... 8

Prime Minister and Cabinet Porffolio

Office of the Official Secretary to the Governor-General.. .. ...... ... .. ..... ... ..... ........ 50

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.. .................................. 66, 115, 127

Office of the Inspector-General oflntelligence and Security ............................. 105

Office ofNational Assessments .......................................................................... 108

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner. ......................................... 109

Australian National Audit Office ... ............ ............ .... ........ ............................. .. .. 113

Screen Australia .. ......... ......... .................... ........ ........ .............................. ... .... ..... 119

Australia Council ..... .... .... .. .... .. ... .. ................. ... ..... ..... ............ ............ ...... ...... .... 121

National Film and Sound Archive ...................................................................... 122

National Museum of Australia .................. .......................................................... 123

National Gallery of Australia .. .... .............. .... ....... ... ... .... ......... ... ....................... .. 124

National Library of Australia ........................... .............. .. ......... ......... .... ... .. ..... .. . 126

Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority ........... ....... ........... ................... .......... 129

Hansard page numbers referred to in this appendix are based on proofHansards. Page numbers may vary slightly in the final Official Hansard transcripts.

167

22

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Finance and Deregulation Portfolio

Medibank Private ................................................................ .................................... 3

Department of Finance and Deregulation .... ................................................... lO, 25

Com Super ............................................................................................................. 23

Australian Electoral Commission ......................................................................... 67

Future Fund Management Agency ....................................................................... 99

Prime Minister and Cabinet Porifolio

Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government ...... ... ......................... ...... ..... .... ... ............. .............. .. .... .... ..... .. 81

National Capital Authority ........................................................ .......................... 122

168

The Senate

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee

Additional estimates 2010-11

169

March 2011

@ Commonwealth of Australia

ISBN 978- 1-74229- 388- 2

This document is produced by the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Secretariat, and printed by the Senate Printing Unit, Parliament House, Canberra.

170

Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee

Membership

Senator Mark Bishop. ALP, W A (Chair) Senator Russell Trood, LP, Qld (Deputy Chair) Senator Michael Forshaw, ALP, NSW Senator Steve Hutchins, ALP, NSW Senator Helen Kroger, LP, Vic Senator Scott Ludlam, GRN, WA

Other senators who participated

Senator Hon Eric Abetz, LP, Tas Senator Guy Barnett, LP, Tas Senator Hon Ron Boswell, NP, Qld Senator Hon George Brandis, LP, Qld Senator David Bushby, LP, Tas Senator Richard Colbeck, LP, Tas Senator Steve Fielding, FFP, Vic

Senator Hon David Johnston, LP, W A Senator Hon Ian Macdonald, LP, Qld Senator Anne McEwen, ALP, SA Senator Kerry O'Brien, ALP, Tas Senator Stephen Parry, LP, Tas Senator Michael Ronaldson, LP, Vic Senator Glenn Sterle, ALP, WA Senator Russell Trood, LP, Qld

lll

171

Committee secretariat Dr Kathleen Detmody, Secretary Ms Pamela Corrigan, Research Officer Ms Jane Thomson, Principal Research Officer Ms Christina Raymond, Senior Research Officer

Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600 Phone: (02) 6277 3535, fax: (02) 6277 5818

e-mail: fadt.sen@aph.gov.au; Internet: http: //www.aph.gov.au/senate fadt

172

Table of contents

Page

Membership .. ........ ............ ........... ... ...... ...... .. ..... ............................... ... ............ ............. ..... iii

Report to the Senate

Introduction ............... ..... .... ... .. .... .... ..... ........ .... ... .... ... ....... .... ........ ....... ............................. 7

Questions on notice ....... ........ ....... .... .... ............. ........... ..... .. ... ... ......................... ..... ..... ..... 7

Late return of answers to questions on notice .......... .... .. .............. ...... ............................... 7

Defence porifolio ..... ........................ .......... ............ .... ...... ........ ... .. ................. .. .. ................ 8

Department of Defence ... ..................................................... ................................. .. ....... 8

Defence Materiel Organisation .. ..... .. ........................ ........ ..................................... ...... 11

Department of Veterans' Affairs ..... .. ............................. ..... ...................... .. .... ............. 11

Australian War Memorial .... ........................................................................................ l2

Foreign Affairs and Trade porifolio .. ........... ....... ...... ............. ......... .. ....... .... ........... .. ... .. 12

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade ............... ... ........ ...... .................... .. ... ......... . 12

A us trade ......... ..... ......... ......... .. .. ......................... .......... ............ ..... ................... .. .......... 15

AusAID .. ........................................ ........ .. .. ...... ................. .......... ............. ...... ..... ..... .... l5

Acknowledgements ........ ......... ........................................... ... ... ...... ........ .. .... ........ ........... 16

Index to proof transcripts Defence porifolio ............. ............ .. ...... .......... .. .... .......... .. ..... ........... ..... .. .... .. ... .... .. .. ........ 25

Department of Defence .................. ...... .......... .. .......................... .. ..... .. ..... ... .. ............... 25

Defence Materiel Organisation .......................... ... ........... .. .......... .... ....... ... .. ................ 25

Department of Veterans' Affairs ................ .. ... .... .. ........ .. .. ..... .... .................... .. .... .. ...... 25

Australian War Memorial ...................... .... ...... ............ ...................... ... .... ................... 25

Foreign Affairs and Trade porifolio ........ .......... .................. .... ................ ... .. ....... ........ ... 26

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade ........ ........................................................... 26

Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) ..................................... 26

Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) ............................................... ...... .. ............ 27

v

173

174

Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee

Report to the Senate

Introduction

1.1 On 1 0 February 20 11, the Senate referred the following documents to the committee fo r examination and report:

• Particulars of certain proposed additional expenditure in respect of the year ending 30 June 2011 relating to the Defence portfolio and the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio, and

• Particulars of proposed additional expenditure in respect of the year ending 30 June 2011.

1.2 The committee has considered the proposed additional expenditure for the year ending 30 June 2011 . It has received evidence from the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, and the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, representing the following ministers: the Minister for Defence, the Minister

for Veterans' Affairs; the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Trade and officers of the departments and agencies concerned.

1.3 The committee met in public session on 23 and 24 February 2011. Further written explanations provided by departments and agencies will be presented separately in volumes of additional information. This information will also be placed on the committee' s internet site (www.aph.gov.au/senate fadt).

Questions on notice

1.4 The committee resolved, under Standing Order 26 , that written answers and additional information should be submitted to the committee by close of business on Thursday, 21 April2011.

Late return of answers to questions on notice

1.5 The committee notes that the Department of Defence's answers to questions on notice from the budget supplementary round were not received by the due date of 10 December 2010 .

1.6 The committee received the last of the budget supplementary estimates answers from the department in two batches, five and two days before the commencement of the additional estimates hearings.

1.7 At the commencement of Defence estimates on 23 February 2011, the Secretary of Defence, Dr Ian Watt AO, briefed the committee about the late answers Dr Watt's address to the committee is set out below.

1.8 It should be noted that at the conclusion of the estimates hearings, the committee allows approximately seven weeks for departments and agencies to return

175

8 Report on Additional estimates 20 I 0- 20 II

their answers. This time frame is intended to provide sufficient time for departments to prepare and lodge their answers and for committee members to then consider these responses in time for the following round of estimates hearings. Committee members are unable to give answers due consideration if they are received just before the commencement of the next round.

1.9 The committee understands the work that goes into preparing the answers to questions on notice and is particularly appreciative of the departments and agencies that endeavour to meet the date set for the return of answers.

Defence portfolio

Department of Defence

1.10 The committee acknowledged the attendance of Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston AC, AFC, Chief of the Defence Force (CDF), Dr Ian Watt AO, Secretary of the Department of Defence, and officers of the Defence organisation. 1

Secretmy's opening statement

1.11 Dr Watt made a statement to the committee, which focused on a number of topical issues, commencing with the Strategic Reform Program (SRP). 2 He stated that the SRP is on track and building on the foundations established in 2009-2010:

Defence successfully delivered larger savings than the $797 million in the cost reductions program for 2009-2010 without adverse impacts on capability or safety. This has been reinvested to help deliver Force 2030.

To remain on track we need to deliver $1 billion in cost reductions in the 2011 financial year. Defence groups are operating within lower budgets by combining reduced discretionary expenditure, greater cost consciousness, the flowthrough of previous years' savings initiatives and the rollout of SRP reform initiatives. 3

1.12 In other areas of business, Dr Watt stated that the reforms have resulted in a reduction of personnel from all groups and services, but predominantly from Defence support, Army and Air Force:

This has been achieved largely by way of standardisation, reducing low­ value tasks and removing duplication. Again, a new contract combining removals and relocation contracts is providing efficiency gains and is saving approximately $4 million per atmum.

Transcript page numbers for the Defence portfolio refer to proof Committee Hansard, 23 February 2011. (See the transcript index at the back of this report .)

2 Proof Committee Hansard, 23 February 2011, pp. 5-7. 3 Proof Committee Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 5.

176

Report on Additional estimates 20 I 0- 2011

There is however, no underestimation of what lies ahead for Defence. The reforms and the savings targets will become more demanding. This means that Defence will have to make increasingly more difficult decisions. We will need to work hard to adhere to the schedule for achieving the cost

reductions program in future years. Risk management, especially in relation to interdependencies across the reform streams, will also be imperative. 4

9

1.13 In conclusion, the Secretary addressed the matter of late answers to questions on notice from the budget supplementary round in October 2010. He noted that many of the 54 questions had multiple parts, amounting to 237 questions:

Some of the questions involved sensitive and complex issues that required extensive consultation, research and verification. In some instances, follow­ up advice and more detailed explanations were required and sought. Despite the best efforts of Defence, we were unable to complete the task within the appropriate time frames .

... The delay is genuinely regretted. There is no getting around the fact that we need to do better coming out of this estimates hearing. 5

Chief of th e Defence Force's opening statement

1.14 Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston addressed the committee, beginning with a summary of Australia's assistance to New Zealand after the earthquake in

Christchurch and the ongoing assistance required: 6

The ADF will remain responsive to any tasking in receives from the Australian government in response to requests from the government of New Zealand .... We have a longstanding direct link between our two operational headquarters. That was activated almost immediately after the earthquake,

and there has been frequent contact as the New Zealanders get on top of the scope and scale of the disaster that they are dealing with.

Over the past two months the ADF has supported a number of response and recovery operations in Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Timor-Leste, following a series of natural disasters. This was the largest ADF response to civil emergencies to date. All told, we

were able to deploy the equivalent of an entire joint brigade group of about 3,500 people in the two major operations, as well as the other defence assistance, the civil community tasks, at short notice and during a period when our people are normally stood down for the Christmas and New Year period to spend time with their families.

7

4 Proof Committee Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 6.

5 Proof Committee Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 7.

6 Proof Committee Hansard, 23 February 2011, pp. 7-10.

7 Proof Committee Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 7.

177

10 Report on Additional estimates 20 I 0-2011

1.15 Air Chief Marshal Houston gave the committee an update on the situation in Afghanistan, after having attended the NATO Military Committee Chiefs of Defence meeting in Brussels in late January:

I would characterise the mood amongst military leaders as cautiously optimistic. Progress in counter insurgency is always gradual, but 2010 was clearly a positive year for the coalition .. .ISAF [International Security Assistance Force] has a fully integrated counterinsurgency strategy, which has now been in place for over one year. Progress made in 2010 has shown our strategy is sound. ISAF's long-term commitment is solid, and with our Afghan partners we will succeed. Over the past year we have made some promising gains, with ISAF's focus on conducting shape, clear, hold and build operations in Helmand and Kandahar provinces paying dividends. The challenge now is to consolidate the gains we have made, maintain our momentum and make these gains irreversible. A major operation will begin this year, named Operatio!} Omid 1390, to build on these successes. Australia will contribute to this operation through our ongoing involvement in Oruzgan province and also in northern Kandahar. 8

1.16 CDF concluded his summary of Afghanistan, by offering his sincere

condolences to the families of Corporal Richard Atkinson and Sapper Jamie Larcombe. 9

1.17 A copy of both statements and accompanying documentation were provided to the committee at the hearing.

1.18 Other topics examined during the hearing included:

• Seaworthiness of the HMAS Manoora and HMAS Kanimbla. (pp. 10-25, 28-31, 39-40, 61).

• Use of watercraft on Manoora and Kanimbla (pp. 25-26).

• Project of concern: Joint Air-to-Surface stand-off Missile (JASSM) project (pp. 26-28, 61).

• AUSMIN and the bilateral Force Posture Review Working Group (pp. 31-34, 39).

• Reform of amphibious and afloat support ship repair and management practices (pp. 34-40, 61).

• Australian Defence Forces assistance in the floods in Queensland (p. 40).

• HMAS Success inquiry and the cultural attitudes on HMAS Success in particular and in the ADF in general (pp. 40-44).

• The Black review into accountability on bases in the field (pp. 44-46, 61 ).

8 Proof Committee Hansard, 23 February 2011, p. 8. 9 Proof Committee Hansard, 23 February 2011, pp. 8-9.

178

Report on Additional estimates 20 l 0-20 II Il

Portfolio overview and budget summmy

• 44th anniversary of the battle of Long Tan (pp. 46-51).

• Posthumous awarding of the Victoria Cross (pp. 51-54).

• Obesity in the Australian Defence Force (pp. 54-56).

• Post traumatic stress disorder (pp. 56-57).

• ADF assistance during the floods in Victoria and ongoing defence support (pp. 57-58).

• ADF assistance during the cyclone in Queensland. Funding relief operations. Cyclone damage to Defence facilities (pp. 58-60).

• LHD in Townsville (p. 88).

• RAAF Scherger base in Queensland (pp. 88-89).

• Visits by the minister to cadet bases (pp. 89, 80).

• Fort Direction in southern Tasmania (pp. 89-90).

• Security checks on people enlisting in the ADF (pp. 90-91).

Defence Materiel Organisation

• Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) contracts and operations (pp. 62-63).

• Sustainment of Collins Class submarines (pp. 63-75).

• HMAS Success in Singapore (pp. 75-79).

• Projects of concern (pp. 79-88).

Department of Veterans' Affairs

1.19 The committee acknowledged the attendance of Mr Ian Campbell PSM, Secretary, and officers of the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA).

1.20 Matters raised by the committee during the hearing included:

Portfolio overview/Corporate and general matters

• Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Arrangements (MRCA) review (pp. 92-96).

• Post traumatic stress disorder (pp. 96-97).

• James and the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission (MRCC) (pp. 97-98).

• Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) and the co-location of offices (pp. 98-1 02).

• Appointment of the director of the Australian War Memorial (A WM) (pp. 102-105).

179

12 Report on Additional estimates 2010- 2011

• A WM funding issues (pp. 105-113 ).

• The centenary ofGallipoli (pp. 113-114, 119-122).

• Building Excellence in Support and Training (BEST) grants and means testing assessment (pp . 114-115).

• DV A staffing issues and claims processing (pp . 116).

• Provision by DV A of information about ex-service organisations (pp. 116-118).

• Services and ongoing support to young war widows (pp. 118-119).

Australian War Memorial

1.21 The committee acknowledged the attendance of Major General Steve Gower (Retd), Director, and officers of the Australian War Memorial (A WM). Matters raised by the committee included:

• A WM budgetary arrangements (pp. 122-124 ).

• Final volume of the official history of the Vietnam War (p. 124).

• Volume three of the official history of the Vietnam War and a further study into Agent Orange (p. 124).

• Hall of Valour and the Lancaster display (p. 125).

Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

1.22 The committee acknowledged the attendance at the hearings of Mr Dennis Richardson, Secretary, and officers of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 10

1.23 The committee questioned the Secretary about budget cuts of $45.5 million across the portfolio, with the focus on where the savings will come from. Mr Richardson explained:

... we are still working through that for the good reason that those savings commence from I July this year and we will still not make final decisions about where the savings will come from until we get further into this year's budget process, because we need to consider that as a whole rather than piecemeal. Of the $45.5 million over three years, around $31 million or $32 million of that will be frorn the department. We do not propose to reduce or to cut our global network to meet these savings. 11

10 Transcript page numbers for the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio refer to proof Committee Hansard, 24 February 2011. (See the transcript index at the back of this report.) 11 Proof Committee Hansard, 24 February 2011 , p. 5.

180

Report on Additional estimates 2010-2011 13

1.24 The committee pressed for specific information about where the savings would come from, citing Mr Richardson's remarks from the department 2009-2010 annual report, where he made the observation that resource constraints continue to be a challenge to the department. Mr Richardson responded:

I suppose different parts of the department would put up their hand to say that they have the greatest resource constraints. From where I sit, it is a general resource constraint in terms of the demands on the department both in Canberra and overseas. It particularly comes into sharp relief when we have crises.

We were responding initially to a situation in Tunisia, then in Egypt, now in Libya, Bahrain and the like and, of course, Christchurch. We manage them and we manage them well, but we manage them very much by robbing Peter to pay Paul and the like. We do that simply by sharp prioritisation. 12

1.25 The committee questioned the Secretary about the restructuring of the deputy secretary arrangements in the context of budget savings. Mr Richardson responded that, historically, there have been no more than four:

A fifth deputy secretary was added a few years back. .. in the context of APEC. When I came to the job there was a vacancy and there was a general view that continuing with a fifth would be worthwhile. In the year that I have been in the job, I have come to a view that five deputies are too

many .. .! think that money is probably better spent elsewhere in the department.. .If our budget was increased by 10 per cent tomorrow there would not be a reinstatement of the fifth deputy. 13

1.26 Other matters raised by the committee during the hearings included:

Portfolio overview

• Timeliness of answers to questions on notice from the previous round (p. 5).

• Staff in Mr Rudd's office (pp. 7-9, 15).

• Earthquake crisis in New Zealand and staffing issues (pp. 9-12).

• Investigations of acts of fraud in Australian embassies (pp. 12-13 ).

• Conduct and Ethics Unit (pp. 13-15).

• Consular matters: The Middle East and DF AT's response to the crisis in Egypt; crisis in Libya (pp. 15-20; 20-21, 26-29).

• Mr Rudd and his visits overseas (pp. 22 -26).

12 Proof Committee Hansard, 24 February 2011 , p. 5.

13 Proof Committee Hansard, 24 February 2011 , pp. 5-6.

181

14 Report on Additional estimates 2010-2011

• Contracts with Hawker Britton and expenditure on conferences (p. 26).

• WikiLeaks material and a briefing from the United States; Mr Assange (pp. 29-48).

• Status of Australia's ambassadors in Japan and China (pp . 48-49).

Outcome I

North Asia

• Australia-China consular consultations: Mr Stem Hu; Mr Sun Xiaodi; Mr Matthew Ng; Ms Rebiya Kadeer (pp. 49-53).

• Australia's involvement in World Expo in Shanghai (pp. 53-54).

• Prisoner transfer treaty with China (pp. 54-55).

• Australia's case on whaling against Japan in the International Court of Justice (pp. 55-56).

• Australian human rights dialogue with China (pp. 62-65).

South East Asia

• Regional processing centre in East Timor (pp. 56-62).

• Post election situation in Burma (pp. 65-67).

• Incident in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam (pp. 67-68).

Afhca

• Cost to Australia to hire Qantas flights out of Cairo, sea transport out of Tripoli (pp. 70-71).

Europe

• ActofSettlement 1701 (pp. 71-72).

• Australian diplomatic posts in Europe (pp. 72-73).

South and West Asia, th e Middle East

• Commonwealth Games in India and outstanding debts to contractors (pp. 73-74).

• Local boycotts on goods and services from Israel (pp. 74-75).

• Nomination of Sri Lankan ambassador to Australia (pp. 75-76).

• Afghanistan and Mr Said Musa (pp. 76-77).

International organisations, legal and environment

• Australian rationale for proceedings in the international court of justice in relation to Japanese whaling (pp. 77-78).

182

Report on Additional estimates 2010-2011 15

• Trade and treaty implications on the introduction of plain packaging of tobacco products (pp. 79-80).

• Environmental and child labour law issues relating to the use of rainforest timber for imported paper products (pp. 89-91).

Bilateral, regional and multi-lateral trade negotiations, and Trade development/policy coordination

• Trade in rock lobster between Australia and China (pp. 80-82).

• Update on the progress on free trade agreements with China, Japan and South Korea (pp . 82-84, 87).

• World Trade Organisation (pp . 84-85 , 86, 87-88).

• Anti-dumping arrangements (pp. 85-86).

• Conclusion to the Doha Round (pp. 86-87).

• Export Finance Insurance Corporation (EFIC) (pp. 91-97).

Austrade

1.27 The committee acknowledged the attendance of Mr Peter Grey, Chief Executive Officer, and officers representing Austrade.

1.28 Matter raised by the committee at the hearing:

• Austrade's relationship with Securency and Australian Federal Police investigations (pp . 88-89).

AusAID

1.29 The committee acknowledged the attendance of Mr Peter Baxter, Director General, and officers representing AusAID. The matters of most significance raised by the committee during the hearing included:

• Role of AusAID in the establishment of UN Women (pp . 97-98).

• Australian assistance to encourage women's representations (pp. 98-99).

• Australia's participation in the International Alliance for Reproductive, Maternal, and Newborn Health (pp. 99-100).

• World Wildlife Fund Australia (p. 101 ).

• AusAID funding of abortion services and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (pp. 101-102).

• Joint Adviser Review report (pp . 102-104).

• AusAID funding of the website GunPolicy.org (pp . 105 , 112-113, 114).

183

16 Report on Additional estimates 20 I 0-20 II

• Technical adviser positions contracted by AusAID (pp. 105-106).

• Safety and security of aid workers in Papua New Guinea (pp. 106-1 07).

• Management of aid funding in PNG (pp. I 07-1 08).

• Australian funding of education programs in Indonesia (pp. 1 08-112).

• Contract to distribute text books in Papua New Guinea (p. 113).

• RAMSI Women in Government program (pp. 113-114).

Acknowledgements

1.30 For their assistance during its hearings, the committee thanks Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy and Senator the Hon David Feeney. The committee also

acknowledges the attendance and cooperation of the many departmental and agency officers and the services of various parliamentary staff involved in the estimates process.

Senator Mark Bishop

Chair

184

Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee

Index to proof transcripts

Additional estimates 2010-2011

Defence portfolio

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio

Thursday, 24 February 2011

185

186

Department of Defence

DEFENCE PORTFOLIO

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Page no

In attendance ..... .. ................... .. ... .. ................ .... ........ ....... .. ...... ... ... ... ...... .......... .......... ....... .. ... .. 1

Opening statements and matters arising .......... ..... ...... ... ....... ......... .. .. ...... ..... ....... 5-l 0, 10-46

Portfolio overview and budget summary ....... ... ........ ........ ... ................. ......... ....... .. .. .... . .46-91

Defence Materiel Organisation

DMO Outcome 1: Contributing to the preparedness of the Australian Defence Force Organisation through acquisition and through-life support of military equipment and supplies.

DMO program 1.1: Management of capability acquisition ....... ....... ... .. ..... ........ ......... ... ......... . 62 -88

DMO program 1.2: Management of capability sustainment ... ......... .... ... ..... .. .. ... ...... .... ..... ... ... 62-88

DMO program 1.3: Provision of policy advice and management services ..... ........ ... ... ... ... .. ..... 62-88

Department of Veterans' Affairs

Page no

In attendance .. ..... .. .. .. ... .... ..... .. .......... ... ... ...... .... ........ ...... .... ..... ... ..... .. ...... ... ... .... ....... ........... ..... . 2

Portfolio overview and general matters ...... .. .. ... ...... ... .. .. .. .. .... .... .. .... .. ...... ........ ... .... .. .... 92-122

Australian War Memorial

Page no

In attendance ......................... .. ... .. ........ .. .................. ..... ......................... ....... ..................... ... ..... 2

Outcome 1: Australians remembering, interpreting and understanding the Australian experience of war and its enduring impact through maintaining and developing the national memorial, its collection exhibition of historical material, commemorative ceremonies and research.

Program 1.2: National memorial and grounds ... ..... .. .. .. ... ...... .. ..... .. ........ .... ..... ..... .... ... .. ....... ... .. 122-125

Program 1.3: National collection .... .... .... ...... ... .... ..... .. .. ........... .. ........ ..... ............... .. ........ ....... ... 122-125

Program 1.4: Exhibitions .... ... ....... ... .. ................. .................. ... .... ...... .... .. ...... .... .... .. ... .... .. ..... .... 122-125

Program 1.7: Research and inform ation dissemination .................. .. ... ....................................... 122-125

19

187

FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE PORTFOLIO

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Page no

In attendance .... ..... .. .. ..... ..... ..... ... ... .. .... .... ..... ......... ........... ......... ............. ... ... .. .. ..................... .... 1

Portfolio overview ................. .................... ............................. .. .. .. ...... .... ... ............................. ....... .. . 5-49

Outcome 1: The advancement of Australia's international strategic, security and economic interests including through bilateral, regional and multilateral engagement on Australian Government foreign and trade policies priorities. Program 1.1: Other departmental

North Asia .. ... .. ....... .............. ..... ... ............. .. .. .. ... ... ......................... ... ....... ... .... ............ .. ..... .. ... ......... 49-68

South- East Asia ........... ............... ..... ...... ............................................................ ........ ...... ......... .... ... 56-68

Africa ............... ... .......................... ................................................ ...... ......... ........ ............................ 70-71

Europe .. .... .................................................................. ...... ....... ..... ....... ....... .. ..... .. ............................. 71-73

South and West Asia, Middle East and Africa .............. ............... .................. ..... ............................. 73-77

International organisations and legal issues ..................................................................................... 77-91

Bilateral , regional and multilateral trade negotiations ......................................................... ............ 80-97

Trade development/policy coordination & Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation ........................... 80-97

Australian Agency for International Development (A usA/D)

In attendance .............. .. .. ... ........................ ... ... ................................................ ........................... 3

Outcome 1: To assist developing countries to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development, in line with Australia's national interest.

Program 1.1: Official development assistance-PNG and Pacific .................... ............ .. ........... 97- 114

Program 1.2: Official development assistance-East Asia ............... ............. .. ...... .. ................. 97-114

Program 1.3: Official development assistance-Afi·ica, South and Central Asia, Middle East and other .................................................... .. ...................... .. ................................................ 97-114

Program 1.4: Official development assistance- Emergency, humanitarian and refugee programs97-114

Program 1.5: Official development assistance-Multilateral replenishments ...... ....................... 97 -1 14

Program 1.6: Official development assistance-liN, Commonwealth and other international organisations ............................................ .... ........................................................................ 97-114

Program 1.7: Official development assistance--NGO , volunteer and community programs ....... 97-114

20

188

Outcome 2: Australia' s national interest advanced by implementing a partnership between Australia and Indonesia for reconstruction and development.

Program 2.1: East Asia .. ...... ...... .. .............. ... ............... ... ..... ... .. ..... .. ... ... ..... ....... ................... 97-114

Australian Trade Commission (Austrade)

In attendance .. ... .......................................... ..... ... ... ..... .............. ... ... ..... ... .. ........ ..... ............... .... 4

Outcome 1: Advance Australia's trade and investment interests through information, advice and services to businesses, industry and governments.

Program 1.1: Trade and investment development.. ......... ..... ..... ........................... .......... ... .. .... .. 58-76

Program 1.2: Trade development schemes (Export Market Development Grants) ....................... 58-76

Outcome 2: The protection and welfare of Australians abroad through timely and responsive consular and passport services in specific locations overseas. Program 2.1: Consular, passport services ...................... ... ....... ..... ............................... .... ... .... . 58-76

21

189

190

The Senate -

Legal and Constitutional Affairs

Legislation Committee

Additional estimates 201 0-11

March 2011

191

Commonwealth of Australia ISBN 978-1-74229-412-4

This document was prepared by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee and printed by the Senate Printing Unit, Parliament House, Canberra.

192

Mentbership of the Committee

Members Senator Patricia Crossin, Chair, ALP, NT Senator Guy Barnett, Deputy Chair, LP, TAS Senator Mark Furner, ALP, QLD Senator Scott Ludlam, AG, W A Senator Stephen Parry, LP, VIC Senator Louise Pratt, ALP, W A

Senators in attendance Senator Patricia Crossin, (Chair), Senator Guy Barnett (Deputy Chair), Senator Mark Furner, Senator Scott Ludlam, Senator Stephen Parry, Senator Louise Pratt, Senator the Hon Eric Abetz, Senator Chris Back, Senator Cory Bernardi, Senator Catryna Bilyk, Senator Mark Bishop, Senator the Hon Ron Boswell, Senator Sue Boyce,

Senator the Hon George Brandis, Senator Michaelia Cash, Senator Helen Coonan, Senator Steve Fielding, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Senator Bill Heffernan, Senator Gary Humphries, Senator Gavin Marshall, Senator Russell Trood, Senator Nick Xenophon

Secretariat Ms Julie Dennett Ms Margaret Cahill Ms Kate Middleton Ms Ruimin Gao

Suite S1.61 Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600

Committee Secretary Research Officer Administrative Officer Graduate

Telephone: (02) 6277 3560 Fax: (02) 6277 5794

Email: legcon.sen@aph.gov.au

lll

193

194

Table of Contents

Membership of the Committee ........................................................................ iii

PREFACE .......................................................................................................... vii

Reference of documents ......... ........ .. .. .. .... .. .... ...... ........... .. ................................ .. . vii

Estimates hearings ........ .. ........... .. ... ... .................................................................. . vii

Ministers and parliamentary secretaries ...................... .. ... .... ............... .. ........... ... viii

Q

. . ...

uesttons on notice ········ oo oooo .... . oo ...... ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo .. oooooo·oooooooooooooooooooooooooovin

CHAPTER 1 ........................................................................................................ 1

IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP PORTFOLIO ........................................ 1

Introduction .......... 0 0. 0 •• 0 •• 0. 00 0 00.0. 00 0 0 00 00 0 0 0 0 0 000 0 0 0 •••• 00 •• 0 0 . 0 0. 0. 0 0 000 00 0 0 0 00 00 0 00 0 0 ••• 0 ••• 0 •• 0 •• 0 oo• 0 •• 0 0 0 0 0 1

Migration Review Tribunal- Refugee Review Tribunal (MRT-RRT) oooooo .oo oo ... ool

Department of Immigration and Citizenship 00.00 00 0000 00 00 •••• • • •• •• • oo .. 00 00 0000 00 oo .. .. 00 •• 00 •• oo .. 2

CHAPTER 2 ........................................................................................................ 9

ATTORNEY-GENERAL'S PORTFOLI0 ............................................................ 9

Federal Court of Australia oo··oo··oo·oo···â€¢ooo oo•··â€¢oooooooooooooooo.oo···oo···oo•oooooooooo··oooooooooooooo.ooo 9

Attorney-General's Departmentoooooooo .... ooooo .... ... oooooooooooooooooooooooo ..... .. oo.o oo ·····o· o···oo oo10

Attorney-General's Department and Australian Federal Police oooo···â€¢oooooooooo ..... oo .. 13

APPENDIX 1 ..................................................................................................... 17

DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES FOR WHICH THE COMMITTEE HAS OVERSIGHT .......................................................................................................... 17

Attorney-General's Portfolio oooooooooooooooooooooooo.oo .. .... . oo··············ooooooooooo .. .. oo oooooooooooo. 17

Immigration and Citizenship Portfolio 000000000000 ·00 · •••• oooo.oooo .......... oo.oo oooooo.oooo•oo•oo• ooo 17

APPENDIX 2 ..................................................................................................... 19

INDEX OF PROOF HANSARD FOR THE IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP PORTFOLIO ............................................................................... 19

TABLED DOCUMENTS ....................................................................................... 19

APPENDIX 3 ..................................................................................................... 21

INDEX OF PROOF HANSARD FOR THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL'S PORTFOLIO .......................................................................................................... 21

TABLED DOCUMENTS ....................................................................................... 21

195

196

PREFACE

On 10 February 2011, the Senate referred to the committee for examination the estimates of proposed additional expenditure for the financial year 2010-11. The committee is responsible for -the examination of the Attorney-General's Portfolio and the Immigration and Citizenship Portfolio. The portfolio additional estimates

statements 2010-11 were tabled on 10 February 2011.

Reference of documents

The Senate referred to the committee, for examination and report, the following documents:

• Particulars of proposed additional expenditure in respect of the year ending on 30 June 2011 [Appropriation Bill (No.3) 2010-2011];

• Particulars of certain proposed additional expenditure in respect of the year ending on 30 June 2011 [Appropriation Bill (No.4) 2010-2011];

• Final budget outcome 2009-1 0; and

• Issues from the advances under the annual Appropriation Acts for 2009-10.

The committee was required to report on its consideration of the additional estimates on or before 22 March 2011.

Estimates hearings

The committee met in public session on 21 and 22 February 2011.

Over the course of the two days' hearings, totalling over 21 hours, the committee took evidence from the following departments and agencies:

• Administrative Appeals Tribunal;

• Attorney-General's Department;

• Australian Customs and Border Protection Service;

• Australian Federal Police;

• Australian Human Rights Commission;

• Australian Law Reform Commission;

• Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre;

• Classification Board;

• Classification Review Board;

• Department of Immigration and Citizenship;

• Family Court of Australia;

VII

197

viii

• Federal Court of Australia;

• Federal Magistrates Court of Australia;

• Migration Review Tribunal; and

• Refugee Review Tribunal.

Copies of Hansard are available on the internet at the following address: http://www .aph. gov .au/hansard/index.htm.

An index of the Hansard for each portfolio appears at Appendix 2 and Appendix 3.

Ministers and parliamentary secretaries

On 21 February 2011, the committee heard evidence from Senator the Hon Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry,_ Science and Research, and Senator the Hon Kate Lundy, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, representing the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship.

On 22 February 2011, the committee heard evidence from Senator the Hon Joseph Ludwig, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Minister Assisting the Attorney-General on Queensland Floods Recovery, and Senator the Hon Jacinta Collins, Parliamentary Secretary for School Education and Workplace Relations, representing the Attorney-General and Minister for Home Affairs.

Officers from both departments and associated agencies also appeared. The committee thanks the ministers, parliamentary secretaries and officers for their assistance.

Questions on notice

Further written explanations, and answers to questions on notice, will be tabled as soon as possible after they are received. That information is also available on the committee's internet page at the following address:

http://www .aph.gov .au/Senate/committee/legcon ctte/estimates/index.

The committee has resolved that the due date for submitting responses to questions on notice from the additional estimates round is 8 April 2011.

VIII

198

CHAPTER I

IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP PORTFOLIO

Introduction

1.1 This chapter summarises some of the matters raised during the committee's consideration of the additional estimates for the Immigration and Citizenship Portfolio for the 201 0-11 financial year.

Migration Review Tribunal- Refugee Review Tribunal (MRT -RRT)

1.2 The committee questioned officers on the tribunals' case load and its

management. Mr Denis O'Brien, the Principal Member of the MRT and the RRT advised the committee that lodgements for both the MRT and the RRT have increased significantly. However, MRT decisions have decreased in comparison to the previous year. 1 Mr O'Brien explained:

The decrease in MR T decision output, despite the increase in lodgements, is principally due to the substantial increase in our RRT work, to which we must give priority. Our resource difficulties have been exacerbated by the recent lo ss of a number of experienced RRT team members to the

department's Independent Protection Assessment, fotmerly known as independent merits review, for inegular maritime arrivals. Leave of absence has been taken by eight tribunal members to undertake assessments for Independent Protection Assessment. 2

1.3 In particular, the committee was informed that student refusal lodgements were up by 129 per cent, that is, approximately 1,000 more applications were lodged this financial year compared with the same period last year. 3 The committee asked about the reasons for this increase:

Senator BARNETT - And what you put it down to are the government changes la st year?

Mr O'Brien-There have been changes to the student visa program and I think that, as a result of some of those changes, we are seeing greater refusals at the primary level, which, of course, come on to us.

Senator BARNETT-Is that the main reason for the 129 per cent jump?

Mr O'Brien- That is our belief.

Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 3.

2 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 4.

3 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 4.

199

Page2

Senator BARNETT-... When did you see the numbers starting to increase markedly?

Mr O'Brien-! think it was starting during the last financial year, but it has been a continuation of that increase.

Senator BARNETT-But it aligns with the change in the government's legislation?

Mr O'Brien-! believe so. 4

1.4 The committee heard that, in addition to adopting a number of strategies to deal with the increasing workload, the MRT and the RRT hope to recruit approximately 20 new members by the middle of the year. 5 The committee will look forward to updates on case load management for the tribunals at future estimates hearings.

1.5 The committee also questioned the MRT and the RRT on a range of other matters, including resources, tribunal membership and recruitment, set-aside rates, and interaction with the newly established Independent Protection Assessment.

Department of Immigration and Citizenship

Processing of 457 visas for workers involved in flood recovery

1.6 The committee continued its ongoing interest in the temporary business (long stay) subclass 457 visa program, where employers can apply to sponsor approved skilled workers to work in Australia on a temporary visa. On this occasion, one aspect of the program in relation to which Senators sought information was the government's recent initiative to fast-track processing of 457 visa applications for reconstruction jobs in flood-affected areas in Queensland, where local labour supply is insufficient to

meet the needs of employers. The department advised that the process is also open to flood-affected areas in New South Wales and Victoria, but to date state governments in those states have not approached the department for assistance. 6

1. 7 Mr Kruno Kukoc provided an overview of the initiative for the committee:

In communication and consultation with, for example, the Queensland Department of Employment and Economic Development, when a flood­ affected business has been identified and the labour skills needs identified and that business lodges a 457 application, and provided all that information is provided at that time, we have agreed to finalisation within five days ... [T]hat is world leading practice. So far we have worked well with the Queensland state government authorities in identifying these needs. The process has just started and the latest infmmation I have from

4 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 10.

5 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp 4-6.

6 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. 26.

200

our client service processing area is that just last week we saw four visa applications lodged for some skilled occupations which we turned around in only 48 hours. 7

Page]

1.8 In response to concerns raised about an appropriate monitoring system for this initiative, it was explained that there is a standard monitoring system in place for the 457 visa program, and participants would come under the current requirements and controls. The Secretary of the department, Mr Andrew Metcalfe, explained:

We do not have any reason whatsoever to believe that, where a company goes to the trouble of identifying that it is seeking to respond in this particular way, it would seek to gain an advantage of 11 or 12 processing days by pretending that it had workers coming to work on the floods when

it did not. We accept that in good faith, and the vast majority of Australian employers are entirely honest with us in relation to these things. I would not see it as necessary for us to set up a large monitoring program to see why someone had gained an 11 day advantage in relation to the very large costs

of bringing someone to Australia. 8

1.9 However, the committee was further advised by Mr Kukoc:

If we consider that a risky situation is evolving quite rapidly for all sorts of intelligence reasons as we can gather, we may apply a specific monitoring system on this aspect of the program. But, normally, that would come under the standard monitoring practices. 9

SIEV 221 tragedy off Christmas Island

1.1 0 The department was questioned about the SIEV 221 tragedy off the coast of Christmas Island on 15 December 2010. The Secretary made some opening remarks in relation to the tragedy:

On 15 December 2010 Australians were horrified by the shocking scenes of the foundering of the vessel Janga, known as SIEV 221, at Rocky Point off the coast of Christmas Island. This tragic event saw the loss of many lives, including children and infants, as well as the rescue of 42 people from the sea. On behalf of the department I would like to formally place on the record my sympathy for the people involved in the tragedy and particularly to extend my and the department's sincere condolences to the families of those who drowned. I pay tribute to the heroism of the Customs and naval personnel who were involved in the dramatic rescue in such violent seas

and to the very brave contributions of the Christmas Island community who so selflessly responded to the sinking vessel.

7 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 26.

8 Co mmittee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 31.

9 Co mmittee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 30.

201

Page 4

I also take this opportunity to recognise that my own staff who faced some very difficult and harrowing situations in response to this tragedy have done so with great professionalism and dignity. 10

1.11 Senators questioned officers on the processes followed by the department after the SIEV 221 tragedy and requested an update on the status of the investigations into the incident. The committee was advised that there are several investigations in place, including a Western Australian coronia! inquest. An inquiry has also been undertaken by the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service in relation to the rescue operation (the findings of which are publicly available). 11

1.12 The department was questioned about the processes undertaken by the department for the funeral arrangements and burials of deceased persons from the SIEV 221 tragedy. It was to the committee that the arrangements for the funerals were primarily a matter for the Australian Federal Police as the people who died had not come into the department's care. However, the department did have some

involvement because the funeral arrangements involved family members in detention. 12

1.13 The committee also sought details on the number of family members attending the funerals ; the costs associated with the funerals, including travel costs for family members travelling from Christmas Island and Perth to Sydney; security arrangements; and management of the media. 13

APEC Business Card Travel Scheme

1.14 The committee also raised with the department the APEC Business Travel Card Scheme, a pre-approved visa facility for countries in the APEC region. 14 In addition to seeking an update on statistics for the issue of the card, Senators asked about recent changes to the criteria for its issue.

1.15 The committee heard approximately 30 per cent of the card complement was Australian, and that the criteria threshold for card issue was changed in June 201 0 following a meeting of the APEC business mobility group. 15

The department further

advised that the threshold criteria was increased and will result in a significantly lower card issue rate in Australia. The department advised that the Australian card issue was disproportionately high and that '(t)here was a view in some quarters that the

10 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 21.

11 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 71.

12 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. 71.

13 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp 73-79.

14 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 37.

15 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp 37-39.

202

PageS

Australian threshold was not as high as was appropriate, given the way some of the other countries were dealing with it'. 16

1.16 The changes were described as ' ... reasonably significant in terms of the level in the company that the applicant has to be at and the sort of volume that the business does'. 17

1.17 In response to concerns expressed about the apparent lack of consultation within the Australian business community, the department confirmed that there was no consultation prior to the change and was not able to explain why but undertook to provide advice to the committee on notice. 18 Mr Garry Fleming conceded:

Ideally, yes it would be good to be able to have these consultations ahead of making changes. It was complicated in this case by the fact that it is not Australia's decision alone [and] the APEC Business Travel Card requires decisions and participation by a number of countries. 19

1.18 The committee was further advised by the department that it was about to move into a consultation process. The Secretary explained:

... the card is not the sole gift of Australia; it is a sort of board comprising all of the APEC economies .... there clearly was sensitivity that Australia was dominating the use of the card. Having said that, of course the whole idea of the card is to promote travel within the APEC economies and to assist

business, so our starting point-and in fact it was an Australian idea to establish the card-is to ensure that business people are able to travel simply and to use fast lanes at airports and that sort of thing.

The review that is now underway does provide an opportunity, albeit after the fact, to see whether we can go back with substantive information to the other economies. I am interested to hear that there is a lot of disquiet in the business community. I do not recall having received a single phone call or representation about this matter myself, and people are usually very ready to get in touch with me if they have an issue with something. I certainly know the heads of the major lobby groups and business groups. Having said that, I accept that there is concern, and clearly the tightening up of the criteria has impacted on people who previously would have had access to the card. 20

16 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp 37-38.

17 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. 39.

18 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 39.

19 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 39.

20 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. 40.

203

Page 6

Memorandum of understanding with the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

1.19 The department was questioned about the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Australian Government, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on migration and humanitarian cooperation.

1.20 In particular, questions focussed on clause 9 of the MOU which states:

The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, noting that voluntary return is always preferable, will readmit nationals who are in Australia, as well as foreigners who are immediate family members of such nationals, who:

a) elect, on the basis of their freely expressed wish, to return to

Afghanistan; or -

b) are found not to be in need of international protection and not entitled to remain in Australia.

1.21 Senators sought confirmation that the Australian Government's position on this section of the MOU does allow for the forced or involuntary return of unsuccessful Afghani asylum seekers. The Secretary advised the committee:

It quite clearly allows for the return to Afghanistan of Afghans and immediate family members not to be owed protection by Australia. It talks about people wishing to do so and it talks about people who do not wish to do so. 21

1.22 Senators referred to recent media reports suggesting that the Australian and Afghani governments were not in agreement over whether or not the MOU covered forced returns. The Secretary assured the committee that both governments were in agreement over the meaning of this section of the MOU:

The agreement does a lot of things, but both governments agree in relation to that aspect. That was confirmed in meetings subsequent to that media report. 22

1.23 The Secretary further confirmed that there has been no consideration by any of the parties to the MOU to amend the wording of clause 9. 23

1.24 Other areas of interest concerning the MOU included the consultation processes leading up to the signing of the agreement and the process for determining that it is safe to return failed asylum seekers to Afghanistan. 24

21 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 49.

22 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. 50.

23 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 51.

24 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp 51-53.

204

Page 7

Oceanic Viking asylum seekers held in the Romanian Transit Centre

1.25 The committee sought an update on the 17 asylum seekers from the Oceanic Viking who were transited through the Emergency Transit Centre in Romania and who had been refused settlement in the United States and Canada.

1.26 The department advised that seven of these asylum seekers had met all visa requirements and had been resettled in Australia. The remaining 10 did not meet visa requirements and remain in the transit centre while the UNHCR pursues other possible settlement options. The committee was assured that the seven who had been resettled in Australia had been issued non-prejudicial security assessments by the Australian

Security Intelligence Organisation. 25

1.27 Evidence to the committee at the previous estimates hearings indicated that there was an expectation that this group would leave the transit centre by the end of 2010.26 The Secretary advised the committee that the Romanian Government is satisfied with the 10 asylum seekers remaining in the transit centre while resettlement efforts continue and there is no deadline on the resolution of this issue at present. 27

1.28 The committee also questioned officers about the future of the 10 asylum seekers in the event that they are not resettled in another country:

Mr Metcalfe- In terms of the range of options, were there to be no other country that would take them, there is a view-and this has been confirmed- that they are in fact in need of protection by the international community and Australia would give effect to it consistent with our own

national interest associated with their security assessment.

Senator CASH-You said that these I 0 have received an adverse security assessment.

Mr Metcalfe-That is correct. That is why they have not come to Australia at this stage.

Senator CASH- For my own benefit, in the event that the Christmas Island option does become the option because we cannot find them resettlement in a third country and they have received an adverse security assessment, what then does their status become if they are brought to Christmas Island? Is it indefinite detention?

Mr Metcalfe- Yes, it would be detention.

Mr Fleming-.. .I should clarify that with the 10 cases in Romania there are eight adults with adverse security assessments and that also affects two children. 28

25 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 54.

26 Committee Hansard, 19 October 2010, p. 72.

27 Co mmittee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 55.

28 Committee Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 56.

205

206

CHAPTER2

ATTORNEY-GENERAL'S PORTFOLIO

2.1 This chapter summarises some of the matters raised during the committee's consideration of the additional estimates for the Attorney-General's Portfolio for the 2010-11 financial year.

Federal Court of Australia

2.2 The committee questioned the Federal Court of Australia about proposals for the restructure of the federal judiciary, particularly in relation to military justice. The Registrar and Chief Executive of the court confirmed that there had been consultation with the Attorney-General's Department concerning the administration and governance structure under the new arrangements. 1

2.3 The Registrar confirmed the court's view as to its role in a restructured federal judiciary:

Mr Soden- .. .I do not know whether our view has ever been expressed publicly, but I think I can summarise it by saying it is a similar view to the one we expressed about how we would be involved with the Federal Magistrates Court. Typically, I think we have said that a militmy court

should be a chapter III court. It should be a self-administering court, but the Federal Court is happy to administer it.

Senator BRANDIS- So it is the Federal Court's view that when there is a new military court it should be a standalone court and not a division of the Federal Court?

Mr Soden- Yes, that has been our view. 2

2.4 Other areas of interest to Senators in relation to the Federal Court included: the workload involving long-running commercial litigation cases; initiatives by the court following amendments to the Native Title Act 1993 which came into effect in 2009 and gave the court the central role in managing native title claims; and the access and fairness survey. 3

Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , p. 60.

2 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , p. 60.

3 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , pp 61-62.

207

Page 10

Attorney-General's Department

Provisio11 of legal aid for perso11s bei11g prosecuted for people smuggli11g

2.5 Senators sought details on the allocation of $17.6 million in the additional estimates for legal aid to support those who are involved in criminal prosecution, including in relation to drugs, terrorism and people smuggling. The committee was informed that the additional estimates for further expenditure was arrived at through consultation with legal aid commissions in relation to the Commonwealth criminal law matters they are dealing with throughout that year, and goes into the Expensive Commonwealth Criminal Cases Fund. 4

2.6 The committee was advised on how the fund operates:

Ms Jones- ... When the legal aid commissions have incurred the costs associated with expensive Commonwealth criminal matters, they can apply to the department for reimbursement. It is a matter of once the applications come in, we assess them against the guidelines for the fund and then reimburse the commissions for those costs. The fund was initially established to ensure that legal aid commissions did not have a significant impact on their budget for other Commonwealth law matters because of these expensive Commonwealth criminal cases. 5

BRAND IS-And there is no ceiling to the amount by which you reimburse them?

Ms Jones- There is no specific ceiling but in relation to the guidelines for the Expensive Commonwealth Criminal Cases Fund there are obligations on the legal aid commissions to take all steps they can to contain costs and manage them as effectively and efficiently as possible.6

2.7 In particular, the committee sought further information on the allocation of legal aid funding for those being prosecuted for people smuggling offences. The Secretary advised that there are 280 crew currently being prosecuted for people­ smuggling offences. 7

4 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011, p. 74.

5 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011, p. 74.

6 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011, p. 76.

7 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , p. 76.

208

Page 11

Recent natural disasters and the Commonwealth's role in response and recove1y operations

Role of Emergency Management Australia

2.8 There was considerable interest from Senators in relation to the

Commonwealth's role in responding to recent natural disasters across Australia. The Director-General of Emergency Management Australia (EMA), Mr Campbell Darby, DSC AM, was scheduled to attend the hearing but was urgently called away on the day of the hearing to deal with the earthquake crisis in Christchurch, New Zealand.

2.9 The minister began this part of the program by making a statement in relation to emergency management and the role of the Australian Government in recent natural disasters. 8 The minister praised the efforts of all government agencies involved in the response and recovery operations, and noted the efforts of officers of the Attorney­

General's Department, particularly the Public Affairs Branch and the EMA:

EMA has led and coordinated the response of the Australian government to natural disasters and a range of other threats through its Crisis Coordination Centre, which operated 24 hours a day.

The staff of EMA have provided the point of contact for the states and territories to access Commonwealth assistance, coordinated inter­ jurisdictional and international offers of assistance, deployed numerous liaison officers to state disaster coordination centres, supported the

Australian government and helped key decision makers be fully informed about the unfolding disaster events and actions required. Importantly, they have also worked tirelessly to enact arrangements that allow the delivery of financial assistance via a suite of measures like the Australian government disaster recovery payment and the natural disaster relief and recovery arrangements to ensure that those in need can quickly access financial support. 9

2.10 During subsequent questioning of the department, Senators sought further clarification on EMA's role in the floods crisis. When it was suggested by one Senator that 'EMA was not actually managing the crisis so much as coordinating assistance at the Commonwealth level to agencies at the state level which were actually managing the crisis', the Secretary, Mr Roger Wilkins AO, responded by confirming that this

was 'a fair characterisation'. 10

2.11 While a departmental review of EMA's role in the Queensland floods crisis has not yet taken place, the Secretary advised the committee that the feedback from the leading state agencies and offices, such as the Queensland Commissioner of Police, the relevant Queensland Minister and the head of Emergency Management

8 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , pp 79-80.

9 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , p. 80.

10 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , p. 86.

209

Page 12

Queensland, was positive, and indicated that the command and control coordination systems had worked well. 11 He further advised that the role that the EMA played with respect to the floods crisis may potentially be examined by the commission of inquiry into the flood disaster which has been established by the Queensland Govemment. 12

Activation of the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP)

2.12 The committee sought details on the decision processes involved in the activation of the AGDRP for residents in the Gascoyne region in Western Australia (W A) which was subject to major flooding in early December. The Prime Minister and the Attorney-General announced on 11 February 2011 that AGDRP payments would be made to people affected by both the W A bushfires and the Carnarvon floods, which includes people in the Upper Gascoyne region. 13

2.13 Concern was expressed by some Senators about what appeared to be a delay in the decision to grant assistance to people impacted by the flooding in the Gascoyne region, when, it was suggested, the Prime Minister had earlier indicated support for this payment. 14 A comparison was drawn by some Senators with the apparent speed of activating the AGDRP in two instances in Queensland following the floods and Cyclone Yasi. 15

2.14 The minister explained that the goveminent had clarified the activation and eligibility criteria for the AGDRP to encourage greater consistency and rigour in how the payment is made:

.. . the government decided activation of the AGDRP would be more closely aligned with the NDRRA [Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements) category C activations, as category C activations have tended to be an accurate indicator of the severity of an event. To put it in context, the states and territories are the first responders to deal with natural disasters. They advise the Commonwealth of their requests. With this , you then saw it being activated.

There has been a change where, in order to clarify it, it has followed the activation of category C. A state would normally declare an area a natural disaster. That would activate A and B- that is the way that it would generally work. It does not necessarily mean that the AGDPR will follow. Usually what happens is that the state would seek the activation of C, which is a higher level. That indicates that there is significant damage or the

11 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , p. 86 .

12 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011, p. 86

13 See Prime Minister of Australia, media release, 'Further Commonwealth assistance for victims ofWA bushfires', 11 February 2011.

14 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011, p. 82.

15 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , p. 84.

210

flooding event has created individual concerns and distress. In this instance-and correct me if I am wrong-the Western Australian government did not ask for an activation of category C. 16

2.15 He further clarified:

Some of the criteria that they would use would be whether category C was activated or not, but it is not the sole determinant; it would also depend on the information flow from the Western Australian government. 17

Page 13

2.16 The minister undertook to provide on notice to the committee whether 'category C' under the NDRRA was activated in this instance, and also the information that the Attorney-General had received that led to the activation of the AGDRP. 18

Attorney-General's Department and Australian Federal Police

Mr Julian Assange and WikiLeaks

2.17 The committee questioned the department about its involvement in an investigative unit established by the Prime Minister in relation to the conduct of Mr Julian Assange and the posting of classified material on the WikiLeaks website. The department indicated that it was not aware of its officers being involved in an investigative unit or in providing advice to the government with respect to the legality of the conduct ofMr Assange. 19

2.18 Following the hearing, the committee received additional information from the Secretary of the department regarding the evidence given at the hearing in relation to this matter. The Secretary advised:

In an exchange about whether the Department had given any advice to government about the legality or othetwise of the conduct of Mr Assange or Wikileaks, I answered that I did not know of any such advice being given to anyone on legality and said that I was happy to make further inquiries of my officers ...

Having undertaken those further inquiries , I can confmn that the Department has not provided advice on whether an offence had been committed. As we stated during the hearing ... advice on that issue is quite properly a matter for the Australian Federal Police. As part of the Department's normal role in administering secrecy provisions, however, we

have provided general briefings on the nature of these laws and on the range of potential offences. 20

16 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , p. 83.

17 Committee Han sard, 22 February 2011, p. 88.

18 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , pp 83-84.

19 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , pp 103-104.

20 Letter from the Secretary of the Attorney-General's Department to the committee dated 9 March 2011.

211

Page 14

2.19 The committee also took evidence at the hearing from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) regarding its work in assessing material on the WikiLeaks website. Officers advised that an assessment was commenced following a referral from the department to identify any breaches of Australian law. Commissioner Tony Negus APM clarified the referral procedure in his response:

We do receive referrals from a range of agencies. We sometimes would initiate them ourselves but more often than not the AFP would respond to a referral from another department or another agency. 21

2.20 The committee heard that the AFP provided advice to the department on 17 December 201 0. A media release was issued in relation to the AFP's findings, which were summarised by Deputy Commissioner Peter Drennan APM at the hearing:

Our findings were that we did not identify any criminal offence where Australia would have jurisdiction. 22

Mr David Hicks's autobiography and proceeds of crime

2.21 The committee sought details of the department's involvement in the consideration of whether an application under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 should be brought against Mr David Hicks in relation to his book, Guantanamo: My Journ ey.

2.22 The Department advised that, following the publication of Mr Hicks's book, it partook in an initial discussion with officers of the AFP and the Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. 23 The committee directed further questions on the matter to the AFP, and was provided with background information by Commissioner Negus:

Perhaps I should go back just a few months before that meeting took place. On 24 September there were a range of media articles which articulated the fact that Mr Hicks would be releasing a book. The AFP became aware of those and again was interested in the context of the legislation and what might be applied at a future date. On 27 September the AFP actually generated an internal referral to start an investigation to see whether that would be appropriate and whether Mr Hicks's autobiography would actually fall within the Proceeds of Crime Act and literary proceeds laws. The meeting you talk about was on 13 October, I am advised. It was attended by the AFP, by the Commonwealth DPP and the Attorney-General's Department at the request of the AFP, to discuss the legislation and how it might be applied. 24

21 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011, p. 129 .

22 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011, p. 130.

23 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , pp 105-106.

24 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , p. 125.

212

Page 15

2.23 Commissioner Negus confirmed that the investigation by the AFP into the matter is still under way. 25

Departmental program structure

2.24 As a final point, the- committee notes that the department's outcome and program structure presented some difficulties for Senators in determining the appropriate place to direct questions during the hearing.

2.25 The current program structure is divided into departmental and administered programs to reflect the type of appropriation they are funded under. Programs 1.1 and 1.2 are departmental programs and Programs 1.3-1.6 are administered programs. This means that a subject area for examination can potentially fall under multiple programs, depending on the specific area of interest and the nature of the questions.

2.26 The committee appreciates the assistance provided by officers of the department in providing guidance during the hearing, but would encourage the department to consider inclusion of greater detail in the program structure in the future.

Senator Trish Crossin Chair

25 Committee Hansard, 22 February 2011 , p. P. 125.

213

214

APPENDIX 1

DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES FOR WHICH THE COMMITTEE HAS OVERSIGHT Attorney-General's Portfo lio

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

Attorney General's Department;

Administrative Appeals Tribunal;

Australian Federal Police;

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service;

Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity;

Australian Crime Commission;

Australian Government Solicitor;

Australian Human Rights Commission;

Australian Institute of Criminology and Criminology Research Council;

Australian Law Reform Commission;

Australian Security Intelligence Organisation;

Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre;

Classification Board;

Classification Review Board;

CrimTrac;

Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions;

Family Court of Australia;

Family Law Council;

Federal Court of Australia;

Federal Magistrates Court of Australia;

High Court of Australia;

Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia;

National Native Title Tribunal; and

• Office ofParliamentary Counsel.

Immigration and Citizenship Portfolio

• Department of Immigration and Citizenship;

• Migration Review Tribunal; and

• Refugee Review Tribunal.

215

216

APPENDIX2

INDEX OF PROOF HANSARD FOR THE IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP PORTFOLIO

Monday, 21 February 2011 Pages

Migration Review Tribunal- Refugee Review Tribunal 3-16

Department of Immigration and Citizenship 17-123

TABLED DOCUMENTS

Monday, 21 February 2011

No. Tabled by: Topic

Dept/agency/officer

1 Mr Denis O'Brien, Principal Opening statement by Mr O'Brien Member, Migration Review Tribunal-Refugee Review Tribunal

2 Ms Christine Sykes, CEO, Opening statement by Ms Sykes

Office of the Migration Agents Registration Authority

3 Mr Andrew Metcalfe, Secretary, Opening statement by Mr Metcalfe Department of Immigration and Citizenship

4 Senator Barnett Two letters from Senator Barnett to the

Hon Chris Bowen MP, Minister for

Immigration and Citizenship, concerning the status of bibles as gifts under the

Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code

217

218

APPENDIX3

INDEX OF PROOF HANSARD FOR THE ATTORNEY­ GENERAL'S PORTFOLIO

Tuesday, 22 February 2011 Page

Administrative Appeals Tribunal 7-11 , 25-26

Australian Human Rights Commission 11-23

Australian Law Reform Commission 23-25

Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre 26-31

Classification Board and Classification Review Board 31 -37

Attorney-General's Department 37-44, 62-118

Family Court of Australia and Federal Magistrates Court of Australia 44-60

F ederal Court of Australia 60-62

Australian Customs and Border Protection Service 118-120

Australian Federal Police 121-131

TABLED DOCUMENTS

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

No. Tabled by: Topic

1 Mr Roger Wilkins AO, Draft report of th e Wo rking Group on the Universal

Secretary, Attorney- Periodic Review - Australia - Human Rights Council, General's Department United Nations General Assembly

2 Mr Roger Wilkins AO, Statement by Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig on recent natural Secretary, Attorney- disasters and the Commonwealth's role in response and General's Department recovery operations 3 Mr Roger Wilkins AO, Letter from Attorney-General to the President of the

Secretary, Attorney- Australian Law Reform Commission regarding the General's Department appointment of a full-time commissioner to assist with the conduct of the proposed inquiry into classification, dated 21 February 2011 4 Mr Roger Wilkins AO, Table of claims for the Australian Government Disaster

Secretary, Attorney- Recovery Payments by state General's Department

219

220

The Senate

Rural Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee

Additional estimates 201 0-11

March 2011

221

© Commonwealth of Australia

ISBN 987-1-74229-413-1

This document was produced from camera-ready copy prepared by the Senate Rural Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee and printed by the Senate Printing Unit, Department of the Senate, Parliament House, Canben·a.

ii

222

Membership of the Committee

Members

Senator Glenn Sterle ALP, Western Australia Chair

Senator the Hon. Bill Heffernan LP, New South Wales Deputy Chair

Senator Steve Hutchins

Senator Fiona Nash

Senator Kerry O'Brien

Senator Rachel Siewert

ALP, New South Wales

NPA, New South Wales

ALP, Tasmania

AG, Western Australia

Senator Crossin replaced Senator O'Brien as a member of the committee between 30 September 2010 and 9 February 2011.

Participating Members

Senator Abetz Senator Cash Senator Humphries Senator Polley Senator Adams Senator Colbeck Senator Hurley Senator Pratt Senator Back Senator Coonan Senator Johnston Senator Ronaldson Senator Barnett Senator Cormann Senator Joyce Senator Ryan

Senator Bernardi Senator Crossin Senator Kroger Senator Scullion Senator Bilyk Senator Eggleston Senator Ludlam Senator Stephens Senator Senator Faulkner Senator Macdonald Senator Troeth

Birmingham Senator Ferguson Senator McEwen Senator Trood Senator Bishop Senator Fielding Senator McGauran Senator Williams Senator Boswell Senator Senator Marshall Senator Wortley

Senator Boyce Fierravanti-Wells Senator Mason Senator Xenophon Senator Brandis Senator Fifield Senator Milne Senator B Brown Senator Fisher Senator Minchin Senator C Brown Senator Forshaw Senator Moore Senator Bushby Senator Furner Senator Parry Senator Cameron Senator Hanson- Senator Payne

Young

111

223

Committee Secretariat

Ms Jeanette Radcliffe, Secretary Ms Jenene James , Research Officer Ms Ruimin Gao, Graduate

PO Box 6100 Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600

phone: (02) 6277 3511 fax: (02) 62 77 5811 e-mail: rat. sen@aph.gov.au internet: www.aph.gov.au/senate rat

IV

224

Table of Contents

Membership of the Committee ........................................................................ iii

List of Abbreviations ...................................................................................... viii

Chapter 1 ............................................................................................................. 1

Introduction .............................................................................................................. 1

Changes to departmental structures ........ ............. ....... ...... .... .......... ..... ... ....... ........ . 2

Questions on Notice ............................................................................................... 2

Additional information ............... ...... ... ..... ......... .. ... .. .... ..... ... ......... ......... ... ... ...... .. .. 2

Note on references .................................................. ...... ............ ............. .. ............... 3

Chapter 2 ............................................................................................................. 5

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio ........................................................ S

Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry .... .. ............ .... ...... .......... .......... 5

Corporate Finance/Corporate Policy/Corporate Services ...................................... 5

Wheat Exports Australia (WEA) ............................................................................ 6

Biosecurity Services Group ... ........ .... .... ...... ............... .... ............ .. .......................... 7

Climate Change .... ..................................... .. ... ........................................................ 9

Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) .. .................... ... ...... ...... ........ ... ........ .... ... ......... ................... ................. l1

Sustainable Resource Management .............. ................. ....... ...................... .......... 12

Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) ........................................ 13

Trade and Market Access ...................................... ............................................... 15

Agricultural Productivity .... ................................... ............ .. ................................. 16

Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) .... .. ......... 17

Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) .. .. ............... 18

Wine Australia ............... .......... ..... .......... ........ .................... ....... ........................... 18

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) .................................................................. 19

v

225

Chapter 3 ........................................................................................................... 21

Infrastructure and Transport portfolio ............................................................... 21

Department of Infrastructure and Transport .... ...... ... ............. ...... ... .... .... .. ..... ... .. .. 21

Corporate Services .. ......... .... ......... ................. .... ............... ... ..... ... .... .... ..... ... .. .. ..... 21

Major Cities Unit .... .. ... ... .... ..... .. ........................ ........ .. .... .... .. ....... ... .... .. .. ............. 22

Infrastructure Australia and Nation Building-Infrastructure Investment .. .. .... .. 23

Surface Transport Policy .... ...... .......... ........ ....................... ...... ... .... ..... .. ........ ....... 24

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) .... .. .. .. .... ....... .. ....... ... ..... .. .. .. ...... 25

Policy and Research ................... .... ....... .. ....... ... .. .. ... ...... ....... .. ............ .. ............... 25

Office of Transport Security ...................... ... ..... ... ... ..... .. ..... ... ..... ... .. .. .. ... ... .... .. .... 26

Aviation and Airports .... ..... ........ ...... ... .... .. .. .... .... ....... .. ......... ............... .. .. ..... .. ..... 26

Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) .................... .... .. ....... ... ... ....... ...... ......... 27

Airservices Australia ..... ..... .. ... ................. ..... ..... .... .. ..... .. .. .. ..... ......... .... .. .. .. .. .... .. . 28

Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) .. ............. ........ .... ............................ 28

Appendix 1 ......................................................................................................... 29

Table of contents to proof Hansard transcripts .................................................. 29

Monday 21 February 2011 ..................................................................................... 30

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio ... ...... .. .. ... ... .... .. ..... ............... .......... 30

Tuesday 22 February 2011 .................................................................................... 31

Infrastructure and Transport portfolio .... .... ............... ... ..... ............. ... ................... 31

Appendix 2 .......................................................................................................... 33

Tabled Documents .......................................................................................... ........ 33

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio ... ........... .. .. ..................................... 33

Infrastructure and Transport portfolio .... .. ...... .... .. .... .... .............. .. .............. .. .. ...... 33

Appendix 3 ......................................................................................................... 35

Topic list- Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio .................................. 35

VI

226

Appendix 4 ......................................................................................................... 41

Topic list- Infrastructure and Transport portfolio ............................................ 41

vii 227

List of Abbreviations

ABARE-BRS Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics-Bureau ofRural Sciences

ABARES Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences

ACCC Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

AFMA Australian Fisheries Management Authority

AMSA Australian Maritime Safety Authority

ANAO Australian National Audit Office

APPEA Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association

APVMA Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority

AQIS Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service

ARPANSA Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency

ATSB Australian Transport Safety Bureau

AWl Australian Wool Innovation

BRS Bureau of Rural Sciences

BSE Bovine spongiform encephalopathy

BSG Biosecurity Services Group

CASA Civil Aviation Safety Authority

CCAMLR Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources

CCEPP Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests

CCSBT Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefm Tuna

CEO Chief Executive Officer

COAG Council of Australian Governments

CSIRO Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

DAFF Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

DFAT Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

EC Exceptional Circumstances

FSANZ Food Standards Australia New Zealand

PTA Free trade agreement

Vlll

228

GWRDC Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation

IOTC Indian Ocean Tuna Commission

IRA Import Risk Analysis

IUU Illegal, unreported and unregulated

MCU Major Cities Unit

MSIC Maritime Safety Identification Card

NDRRA National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements

NRM Natural resource management

NSW New South Wales

OTS Office of Transport Security

PAES Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements

PBS Portfolio Budget Statements

PC Productivity Commission

QLD Queensland

R&D Research and development

RET Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism

RIRDC Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation

RIS Regulation Impact Statement

SRM Sustainable resource management

TAS Tasmania

us United States

VAMPIRE Vulnerability Assessment for Mortgage, Petroleum and Inflation Risks and Expenses (index)

VIC Victoria

WA Western Australia

WEA Wheat Exports Australia

IX

229

230

Chapter 1

Introduction

1.1 On 10 February 2011 ; the Senate referred the following documents to the Rural Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee (the committee) for examination and report in relation to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio and the Infrastructure and Transport portfolio:

• Particulars of proposed additional expenditure in respect of the year ending on 30 June 2011 [Appropriation Bill (No.3) 2010-11] ;

• Particulars of certain proposed additional expenditure in respect of the year ending on 30 June 2011 [Appropriation Bill (No.4) 2010-11];

• Final budget outcome 2009-2010; and

• Issues from the advances under the annual Appropriation Acts for 2009-2010.1

1.2 The committee was required to report to the Senate on its consideration of 2010-11 additional estimates on 22 March 2011.

1.3 The committee considered the Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements 201 0-11 for both portfolios at hearings on 21 and 22 February 2011. The hearings were conducted in accordance with the agreed agenda as follows:

• Monday 21 February 2011 - Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio.

• Tuesday 22 February 2011- Infrastructure and Transport portfolio.

1.4 The committee heard evidence from Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, and Senator the Hon Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, representing the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. Evidence was also provided by Ms Rona Mellor, Acting

Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Mr Mike Mrdak, Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure and Transport, and officers representing the departments and agencies covered by the estimates before the committee.

1.5 The committee thanks the ministers, departmental secretaries and officers for their assistance and cooperation during the hearings.

Journals of the Senate, No. 19, 10 February 2011 , p. 581.

231

2

Changes to departmental structures

1.6 The committee notes that the following changes have been made to the departmental structure of the Department of Infrastructure and Transport since the 2010-11 Budget Estimates in May 2010:

• as at 14 September 2010, the department changed its name from the

Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, with the transfer of the Local Government and Regional Development Division and the Office of Northern Australia to the new Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government;2

• the Major Cities Unit moved from Infrastructure Australia to within the department; and

• from 1 July 2010, the Infrastructure and Surface Transport Policy Division became the Surface Transport Policy Division.

1. 7 The committee also notes that a change has been made to the departmental structure of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry since the 2010-11 Budget Estimates round. From 1 July 2010, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) and the Bureau of Rural Sciences (BRS) merged to become the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics - Bureau of Rural Sciences (ABARE-BRS). From 1 December 2010, the name was changed to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).

1.8 In December 2010, the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation was renamed Wine Australia.

Questions on Notice

1.9 In accordance with Standing Order 26, the committee is required to set a date for the lodgement of written answers and additional information. The committee requested that written answers and additional information be submitted by Tuesday 12 April2011.

Additional information

1.10 Answers to questions taken on notice at the committee's additional estimates hearings will be tabled in the Senate in separate volumes entitled 'Additional information relating to the examination of additional estimates 2010-2011, February 2011, Senate Rural Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee'. Documents not suitable for inclusion in the additional information volumes will be available on request from the committee secretariat.

2 Commonwealth of Australia, Administrative Arrangements Order, 14 September 2010 .

232

3

1.11 Answers to questions on notice received from the departments will also be posted on the committee's website at a later date.

Note on references

1.12 References to the transcript are to the proof Hansard; page numbers may vary between the proof and the official Hansard transcript.

233

4

234

Chapter 2

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio

Department of Agriculture; Fisheries and Forestry

2.1 This chapter contains the key issues discussed during the 2010-11 additional estimates hearings for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio. A complete list of all the topics discussed, and relevant page numbers, can be found at appendix 3.

2.2 The committee heard evidence from the department on Monday 21 February 2011. The hearing was conducted in the following order:

• Corporate Finance/Corporate Policy/Corporate Services

• Wheat Exports Australia

• Biosecurity Services Group

• Climate Change

• Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences

• Sustainable Resource Management

• Australian Fisheries Management Authority

• Trade and Market Access

• Agricultural Productivity

• Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority

• Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation

• Wine Australia

• Meat and Livestock Australia

Corporate Finance/Corporate Policy/Corporate Services

2.3 The committee was interested in the impact of recent extreme weather events on the department's budget. The department indicated that it does not see any impact on the current budget. However, it is expected there will be a minor impact in relation to levy collections of administered funds. 1

2.4 The committee asked about the department's role in providing assistance to the rural sector as part of the recovery effort. The department explained that the government's response is being coordinated by the Attorney-General's Department under the National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) and the

Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp 5 and 6.

235

6

Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, the main delivery agency. DAFF is involved, through ABARES, in providing advice on the impact of the floods and cyclones on the agricultural sector as part of the whole­ of-government response. 2

2.5 The committee expressed concern about the potential increase in costs for Exceptional Circumstances assistance due to the recent floods . The department indicated that Exceptional Circumstances (EC) assistance is not meant to be the automatic response to a disaster. It was separated from NDRRA back in the late

1980s, as NDRRA was considered to be the best way to deal, immediately, with major disasters. 3 The department continued:

The flooding is very recent.. .If, after a period of time, it is clear that the event has resulted in a sustained income impact on the people, over and beyond what can be dealt with through the immediate response, then you might be in a situation where exceptional circumstances could be considered. But it does require two key things : a rare and severe event- a one in 20 to 25 year event-and a sustained, prolonged, downward impact on farmers' incomes.4

Wheat Exports Australia (WEA)

2.6 The committee raised concerns about wheat handling during the recent harvest, including complaints about near monopoly providers such as Viterra in South Australia, and whether there is sufficient transparency in the system. The committee raised a number of issues, questioning whether they are a deterrent to fair

. . 5

competition.

2.7 WEA advised that Viterra has acknowledged there have been some problems and has commissioned an independent review. WEA observed that a number of issues are 'not our bailiwick', including whether the government and the committee should give consideration to standardising the testing of wheat. WEA indicated that if it identifies a problem that falls within its responsibility, it will conduct an audit and try to change behaviour.6

2.8 Members of the committee flagged their interest m a reference to the committee to fmiher examine these issues. 7

2 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp 6 and 7.

3 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp 8- 9.

4 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 9.

5 Proof Es timates Hansard, 21 February 20 II, pp 17-22.

6 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp 17-22.

7 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp 21 , 22 and 25 .

236

7

2.9 The committee was interested in WEA's view of access arrangements at ports and whether the supply chain is working efficiently. WEA advised that:

The ports are operating much better than they were a couple of years ago and everyone is learning out of examples that came out of the first harvest. This is now the third harvest, and I think it is getting better and better. 8

2.10 The committee asked WEA to provide more detail on the basis for this view. 9

WEA explained that:

In the initial year of accreditation we conducted shipping stem audits on all the bulk handlers and a number of recommendations were made by the auditor that the bulk handlers, the port operators, picked up. In the last 12 months we have audited Viterra and they have identified some issues, as did the auditor, and they have said that they will be implementing changes and those recommendations will be implemented. We are seeing less of the

issues that we did in the first year of ships sitting out of port incurring huge amounts of demurrage. So I would say that ports are operating better. 10

2.11 The committee sought an update on the Productivity Commission review of wheat export marketing arrangements which recommended that WEA should be abolished from September 2011. The committee was advised that the government is currently considering the Productivity Commission's recommendations. Any

significant change to the current system would require amendments to the Wheat Export Marketing Act 2008.11

Biosecurity Services Group

2.12 Continuing its interest from budget estimates, the committee raised concerns about the current import requirements for raw prawns. The department explained that raw prawns can be imported if they come from countries or zones that are free from certain diseases or if they are classified as highly processed such as breaded, battered or marinated. Otherwise, if they have their head and shell removed, they are tested for

white spot and yellow head viruses. The committee asked the department to revisit the import requirements for uncooked raw prawns which have been marinated, given that the marinade is not impregnated in the prawns and can be washed off easily. 12

2.13 The committee sought further details of an incident in which a Biosecurity Services Group (BSG) officer mistakenly released a consignment of raw, peeled prawns intended for human consumption that had tested positive for white spot syndrome virus. The department advised that once it became aware of the incident

8 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 18.

9 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp 24-25.

10 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 24.

11 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp 23- 24.

12 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp 25-26 and 29-30.

237

8

about three weeks later, the Interim Inspector-General of Biosecurity was requested to conduct a comprehensive review. He found that the mistake had been caused by human error. The second part of his review found that the likelihood of the virus entering a high-risk pathway was extremely low and the risk of it causing an outbreak in Australian prawns was negligible. He made seven recommendations to improve the department's processes and minimise the possibility of human error. 13

2.14 The committee heard that the department also initiated a recall action and sought assistance from the importer in identifying where the prawns had been sold. Out of a total shipment of 20 tonnes, 3.5 tonnes were recalled and re-exported. The committee asked the department, on notice, to provide a list of outlets where the prawns were sold and to account for the 17 tonnes of prawns that went into the

system. 14

2.15 The committee was conce!fled about the decision of the Asian Honeybee National Management Group that it is no longer technically feasible to achieve eradication of the Asian honey bee, following consideration of advice from the Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests (CCEPP). The committee was interested to know why there was a lack of consensus within the CCEPP on this issue. The department explained that three States initially had some concerns about the decision. While they agreed in the end that the bee was not eradicable, they sought a continuation for six months to gain information to provide more certainty about the decision. However, the prevailing view at the end of the meeting was that this would not provide decision-makers with any more detail. 15

2.16 The committee asked if the department had done any assessment of the possible impact of the Asian honey bee on factors such as pollination, native bees, environmental biodiversity and public health. The department advised that the impact is not a feature taken into consideration in looking at whether the bee is eradicable; neither is funding. The decision is completely science based. 16

2.17 The department indicated that current funding will cease on 31 March 2011 . Senior Biosecurity officials and representatives of the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council will meet soon to determine any future national action beyond 31 March. 17

2.18 The committee raised concerns about the use of streptomycin to control fire blight on apple trees in New Zealand and the possible risks from chemical residues on apples imported into Australia. The department advised that it has written to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to seek advice on the issue. If FSANZ

13 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 26.

14 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp 27 and 28- 29.

15 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp 30-31.

16 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp 31-33.

17 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp 30 and 32.

238

9

considers that streptomycin residue presents a medium to high risk to human health, it will be risk listed and then inspections will be carried out by the Biosecurity Services Group. 18

2.19 The committee briefly discussed the 'stop the clock' provision that has been invoked for the import risk analysis (IRA) processes for the importation of beef from the United States (US) and Canada. The issue was discussed in further detail below with the Trade and Market Access Division. 19

2.20 The committee sought an update on the importation of apples from China. The department advised that 24 consignments have arrived in Australia and 16 import permits have been issued to date. The committee was interested to know whether the names of the importers are public. The department indicated that it is commercial-in­

confidence information, explaining:

This is about competitiveness. Who is buying what is something that is about market share and market competition, so I do not think it is our business to provide information about that. 20

2.21 Notwithstanding this, the department agreed to provide a response to the committee on notice?' The committee heard that all of the consignments were inspected in China by AQIS officers and verified upon arrival in Australia to confirm that the product is the same as that inspected in China. One of the consignments is currently undergoing food safety testing. If there is found to be an issue, the

department will identify where the product has gone, through the importer, and provide advice to the state authority. 22

Climate Change

2.22 The committee was interested in DAFF's role in the development of the Carbon Farming Initiative. Officers advised that they have been working closely with the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency on the design of the program. They have been involved in developing a consultation paper, released in November 2010, and they are part of the legislative drafting team . In addition, joint

working groups have been set up between the two departments to develop a range of offset methodologies covering livestock emissions, forestry and soils (nitrous oxide and carbon).Z3

18 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp 38-40.

19 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. 44. See also pp 110 and 111- 113.

20 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 FebruaJy 2011, p. 45.

21 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. 46.

22 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp 46-47.

23 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp 51 - 52.

239

10

2.23 The committee asked officers to explain how the Carbon Farming Initiative will be designed, expressing particular interest in constraints or restrictions to avoid competition for water and food growing land. The department indicated that:

it will come down to a matter of demand and supply as to whether there is much of a demand in the market and what the price of those credits will be as to how many projects will actually get approved and up and running.24

2.24 The department emphasised that under the legislation there will be periodic reviews to assess the impact on local communities, security issues and natural resource management, including water. The first review is due to take place in 2014. 25

2.25 The department was unable to give the committee an indication of the number of permits expected to be created under the Carbon Farming Initiative. Officers explained that 'until the market is up and running and we can see what methodologies are approved and what projects com_ e forward, it would be hard to say'. 26

2.26 The committee sought an update on the pilot of drought reform measures in Western Australia. The department indicated that it has released a detailed progress report on each component of the pilot measures. The report was a requirement under the national partnership agreement with the Western Australian government and is publicly available on the drought pilot website. The department provided the committee with a summary of progress to date for each component, including applications and allocation of funding. 27

2.27 The committee heard that there is total funding of $22.9 million for the pilot, with the Commonwealth Government contributing $17 .9 million and the Western Australian Government committing just over $5 million. The pilot will finish on 30 June 2011, with payments under one component, Building Farm Businesses, to continue until June 2013. An assessment panel will report to both governments on the 'efficiency, effectiveness, appropriateness and preliminary outcomes of each of the pilot measures'. Performance will be measured against the aims and objectives and the key performance indicators defined in the national partnership agreement. 28

2.28 The committee expressed concerns about the Tasmanian Forest Contractors Exit Assistance Program, in view of the fact that a fraud investigation has been launched within a couple of months of applications closing. The committee asked the Minister and the department to explain how this could happen, given longstanding criticisms raised by parliamentarians and the Auditor-General about the

24 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 52.

25 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp 52- 53 .

26 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. 53 .

27 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp 57-58.

28 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp 58---60.

240

11

mismanagement of previous Commonwealth forestry grants to Tasmania.29 In response, the department indicated that:

We have had allegations reported and the fraud investigations and security team is following that up. That is as much as I think I am able to say. 30

2.29 While the department did not consider it appropriate to discuss ongoing fraud investigations, officers offered to explain 'the processes around the management of the grants process'. 31

2.30 The committee also discussed the following aspects of the program:

• obligations placed on successful applicants who had also received funding under a previous grant, in relation to disposal of assets purchased with proceeds from the previous grant;

• contractors claiming the exit package in Tasmania not being precluded from going to work in other states and competing against locals with no such grants;

• the impact on contractors who found their businesses stranded by the exit of other businesses upstream; and

• the appropriateness of the level of the grants, up to $750,000,

considering that the highest similar grants for farmers leaving the land due to drought are less than $200,000.32

Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES)

2.31 The committee was interested in ABARES' analysis of the impact of recent extreme weather events on agriculture. ABARES gave the committee an overview of its findings from several recent reports, including: its special report on The impact of

recent flood events on commodities, released on 21 January 2011; the December 2010 Australian Crop Report; and the December edition of Australian commodities:

... all up, we are now saying that if you include the events from late November through to the end of January there was about a total impact of $2 billion [on crop production] across the east em states as a result of those weather events. That does not include the impact of Cyclone Yasi, though,

which was on 3 February. 33

29 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp 63-64.

30 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. 65.

31 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. 64.

32 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp 64-66 and 72.

33 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. 76.

241

12

2.32 ABARES indicated that it has done some assessment on Cyclone Yasi, estimating the impact on crop production, including sugar and bananas, to be 'somewhere in the order of magnitude of $300 million'. 34

2.33 The committee asked about the effect of the merger of ABARE and BRS to form ABARE-BRS, then ABARES. ABARES explained that it was not done as a cost-saving measure, with corporate support functions being combined a number of years ago . Budgets and staffing levels have now been combined and it is 'really more about.. .scientists and economists and social scientists working on some of the common issues'. 35 Officers considered that the synergy between science and economics has definitely enhanced their work in a number of areas so far, including biosecurity, forestry, climate change, water and the crop report. 36

2.34 The committee was advised that the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism (RET) has decided to crea!e its own analytical bureau within its department. ABARES is working with RET for a smooth transition, with a view to the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics beginning operation from 1 July 2011. ABARES added that 'all questions about oil prices can then be asked of that bureau rather than this one'. 37 Current ABARES staff working in the resources and energy area have been offered the opportunity to move to RET or stay with ABARES.38

Sustainable Resource Management

2.35 The committee asked about the mid-term review of the Caring for our Country program, including the release of a discussion paper and call for submissions. Officers explained that consultation will be a significant part of the review process, but they 'have not bedded it all down' at this stage:

We envisage holding some targeted, face-to-face consultations. We will be accepting written submissions. We will be holding consultations with key groups, such as industry groups and environment groups and state agencies, and we have also put in place a web-based discussion forum, so those people who would not normally come to a face-to-face forum-because it is too difficult or they cannot fit it in their timetable- can still engage in discussion. The experience that other people have had in doing reviews is you can reach a wider audience by using web-based tools to complement the more traditional face-to-face approaches. 39

34 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 76.

35 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 81.

36 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp 81-82.

37 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. 82.

38 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. 82 .

39 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 84.

242

13

2.36 The committee was interested to know why the decision was made to conduct an internal review, rather than using an external advisory panel. The department indicated that a range of options were considered, however, as this was a mid-term rev1ew :

a conclusion was reached that if a review were done in a fully consultative and open and transparent manner an outcome could be achieved via this process similar to what would be done via an external panel.40

2.37 The department added that external consultants may be used to undertake part of the review. At this stage, officers are still evaluating areas of departmental expertise and seeing where external consultants would add value.41 The committee raised concerns that people may not be as forthcoming as they might be if an independent consultant was running the process, given current criticisms of the program. Officers

observed that:

We see no reason why people would not be forthcoming . In fact, they are quite frank and forthcoming about the program now. If we did observe that it was a problem and they were concerned either about whether we would be taking their views on board or whether we had assessed them properly, the use of someone external to either assist with the consultation or perhaps

act as an independent observer about the process and ensure that the material being brought forward was being fed into the review properly would be something we could consider.42

2.38 The committee was advised that submissions close on 20 May and will be made public unless the submitter requests otherwise. The department is expecting to report to ministers in late July 2011.43

Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA)

2.39 The committee was interested in AFMA's assessment of current southern bluefin tuna stocks, in light of the reduced quotas set by the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) in October 2009 . AFMA advised that it is 'seeing a very good year' in the Great Australian Bight for two- to four-year­

old fish, both in the industry aerial survey data and in the CSIRO formal structured aerial survey. However, AFMA cautioned that:

.. . these are two- to four-year-old fish, quite different to the adult fish which comprise the adult population, which is actually the key assessment component in the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna. It is a very good year. This is a very good sign, and we would like to think it is the sign of things to come but, just as when we have a very bad

40 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. 85 .

41 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 86.

42 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 86 .

43 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp 84, 85 and 86.

243

14

year in the Great Australian Bight it does not mean the stock is going extinct, this year, when we are having a very good year, does not mean the stock has suddenly recovered. 44

2.40 The committee heard that a new stock assessment will be conducted this year as part of the normal CCSBT process, incorporating new and improved data. The assessment is based on spawning stock, that is, fish at least ten years of age. While the current increased stocks of younger fish are considered a positive sign, officers explained that 'those fish now effectively have to go through the long-line fleets until they reach spawning age'. The assessment process will be completed in July, with recommendations to go to the CCSBT in October 2011. 45

2.41 The committee was interested in AFMA's views on claims by industry about the impact of seismic testing over Bass Strait scallop beds. AFMA advised that it is taking the industry's concerns about the die-off last year very seriously:

To that end, with the help of the industry and the Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute, we have undertaken a survey to look at the short­ term impacts of seismic testing on the beds we are managing. The results of that survey show that they could not fmd any detectable difference as a result of the seismic testing in the health or survival of the scallops.46

2.42 AFMA indicated that it is currently looking at how to design a program to detect the longer, more chronic effects of seismic testing. The CSIRO Animal Health Laboratory was requested to look at possible parasitological explanations, but no evidence of disease was found. AFMA is also meeting with the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) to discuss possible action to minimise the overlap between scallop fishing areas and drilling and other exploration

k

.

wor , as a precautwnary measure.

2.43 The committee requested an update on illegal foreign fishing. AFMA advised that apprehension numbers in northern Australian waters have dropped down to 1 0 for this financial year, compared with 23 and 27 for the previous two years. Numbers peaked in 2005-06 with 360 apprehensions. In the Southern Ocean, the last vessel

sighted inside Australian waters was in June 2005. However, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) vessels continue to operate inside the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) area on the high seas . Four IUU vessels were sighted in 2009-10 and three in 2010-11.48

44 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. 91.

45 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp 91 and 93- 94.

46 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. 98.

47 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 98.

48 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp 98- 99.

244

15

2.44 The committee heard that the Oceanic Viking has been replaced by a new vessel, the Ocean Protector, which came on line in October 2010 and conducted a patrol to the Southern Ocean in November 2010. AFMA indicated that it is planning for fisheries officers to participate in all of the Southern Ocean patrols for this financial year, including three Australian patrols and four French patrols.49

2.45 The committee requested information about the appointment of Mr David Llewellyn as the Chair of the Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee in July 2010. In particular, the committee raised concerns about a possible conflict of interest while Mr Llewellyn is currently registered as a lobbyist with the Tasmanian Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. The department indicated that, before responding to the committee, it would need to check the details of the appointment process, including

whether Mr Llewellyn made any declaration in relation to his lobbyist role. 5°

Trade and Market Access

2.46 The committee was interested in DAFF's response to complaints by the Australian rock lobster industry about access for exports to China. The department indicated that it has been playing a facilitative role, working with its Beijing-based councillor, AQIS, DF AT and industry to find evidence of the specific 1ssues involved.51 The department emphasised that:

We confirmed very early on that the media reported ban was, in fact, not in place. So there is no ban in place on rock lobster to China .

... We confirmed that the Shanghai quarantine and customs area, in particular, was operating 24 hours a day, and we were not given any consignment numbers or permit numbers or any other evidence to enable us to confirm that any issue had in fact occurred with the delay of a consignment entering China. 52

2.47 The Minister observed that without consignment numbers or more specific information provided by industry, 'it is very hard to travel down that paper trail to establish what the issue is, quite frankly'. 53

2.48 The committee requested an update on red meat exports from Australia to the Russian Federation. The department advised that Russia is currently Australia's fourth-largest export destination for beef with stronger trade over the last 12 months than the previous 12 months. Following an audit of Australia's red meat system by

49 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. 99 .

50 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp 100 and 101 - 103.

51 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. 104.

52 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp 104 and 105.

53 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 105 .

245

16

Russian veterinary authorities in October 2010, three plants have been temporarily suspended. The department is currently working on a response. 54

2.49 In relation to kangaroo meat exports, the department advised that it lodged a further technical submission with the Russian authorities late last year. A response was received in December, raising a number of further questions, which were followed up at a bilateral meeting in January 2011. At this stage the department has not had any confirmation that its latest response has been accepted, so there is still no access to the Russian market for kangaroo meat. 55

2.50 The committee sought an update on the import risk analysis (IRA) processes for the importation of beef from the United States (US), Canada and Japan. The department confirmed that 'the clocks have been stopped' on all three IRAs: Japan was stopped on 10 May 2010 (following an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease); Canada on 24 November 201 0; and the -US on 4 February 2011. At the moment, the department is awaiting information from the US on their traceability systems. This will enable the department to do an analysis of US systems, including an inspection visit. The department has also requested information from Canada on their management, traceability and production systems. In response, Canada indicated that 'we will not provide it at this time because we do not have the resources to muster that information together'. 56

Agricultural Productivity

2.51 The committee expressed concern about the effect on the dairy industry of Coles' decision to price generic milk at $1 per litre, including its lack of long tern1 sustainability. The department stated that while it is aware of dairy industry concerns, at this stage it is difficult to know how long Coles will continue to absorb the price cut in their margins and how the situation will play out. The Minister observed that it is a matter that 'we do need to continue to watch very carefully'. 57

2.52 The committee was interested in the development of the Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines. The department indicated that the purpose is to complement existing state and territory legislation for the prevention of cruelty to animals, by developing a common set of standards and guidelines for implementation on a consistent basis across the country. 5

8

2.53 The committee raised concerns about the requirement for competency and the use of the words 'competent' and 'capable' in the draft standards. The department

54 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 105.

55 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. 105.

56 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp 110 and 111 - 113.

57 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp 118- 120.

58 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp 120- 121.

246

17

explained that there is no intention to require formal examinations or testing as evidence of competence. The committee was advised that pig industry bodies will be key participants in a workshop convened by Animal Health Australia in early March to discuss this issue further. 59 However:

The formal position of the peak bodies for the sheep and cattle industries is still that they have withdrawn from participating in the standards and guidelines process, subject to the resolution of issues around consistent national particularly around ways of regulating for

competence. 0

2.54 The department indicated that it would try and continue with the cooperative approach between industry and government which has been used to develop the standards to this point.61

Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA)

2.55 The committee asked about additional funding provided to the APVMA. The department indicated that the APVMA will receive $8.75 million over four years. Part of the funding

is to undertake the reform agenda that is being put forward through the better regulation pat1nership . Part of that funding was a recognition that APVMA's budgetary position was unsustainable, so obviously their budget position will be enhanced by that additional funding. 62

2.56 The committee sought an update on the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) reform process in relation to the new single national regulatory framework for agricultural and veterinary chemicals. Officers advised that a regulation impact statement will be released towards the end of the month for consultation. It will provide a series of options for implementation of the COAG reforms, rather than a preferred option, as this has not yet been determined by governments.63

2.5 7 Following on from its discussion with the Biosecurity Services Group earlier in the day, the committee raised concerns about the use of streptomycin to control fire blight on apple trees in New Zealand. The APVMA advised that streptomycin is not registered or permitted to be used for spraying on plants in Australia. The committee asked about action the APVMA would take if streptomycin residues were found on

imported fruit. Officers indicated that the APVMA does not get involved in imported

59 Proof Estim ates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , pp 121-122 and 124-1 25.

60 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 121.

61 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. 121.

62 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 129 .

63 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011 , p. 130.

247

18

food issues; Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) is the agency with responsibility for providing advice on testing for pesticide residues at the border.64

Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC)

2.58 The committee was interested in the Productivity Commission (PC) review of Rural Research and Development Corporations and the RIRDC's view on recommendations in the draft report. The RIRDC advised that it welcomed the PC's findings on the strength of the research and development (R&D) model and its endorsement of the model in general terms. However, the RIRDC did not agree with the recommendation to create a new R&D corporation to cover public good work, as it considers that:

we are already covering a lot of those issues that they recommended the organisation would take, so we can see a case for RIRDC continuing in its current form and possibly expanding. 65

Wine Australia

2.59 The committee sought an update on policy changes and action taken by Wine Australia since supplementary budget estimates in relation to counterfeiting of Australian wine overseas. The Chief Executive advised that:

• as soon as allegations of counterfeiting are raised, the levy payer will be notified;

• Wine Australia has a memorandum of understanding with AQSIQ in China, which includes cooperation on counterfeiting issues;

• with the financial support of the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (GWRDC), Wine Australia has undertaken a market research study into the Chinese market to understand the scale of the issue;

• levy payers have been issued with information about registering their trademarks in other markets;

• export approval control mechanisms around the export of bulk wine are in the process of being strengthened; and

• new requirements are being introduced for wine that 1s packaged m international markets and labelled as Australian wine. 66

64 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp 130-1 31.

65 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, p. 132.

66 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 20 11 , pp 133- 134.

248

19

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA)

2.60 Following on from additional estimates in February 2010, the committee discussed the beef and cattle industry's support for the then proposal to relax import restrictions for beef from countries that have had outbreaks of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The committee was interested in lessons learned since then, in view of the current import risk analysis process.67

67 Proof Estimates Hansard, 21 February 2011, pp 134-135.

249

20

250

Chapter 3

Infrastructure and Transport portfolio

Department of Infrastructure and Transport

3.1 This chapter contains the key issues discussed during the 2010-11 additional estimates hearings for the Infrastructure and Transport portfolio. A complete list of all the topics discussed, and relevant page numbers, can be found at appendix 4.

3.2 The committee heard evidence from the department on Tuesday 22 February 2011 . The hearing was conducted in the following order:

• Corporate Services

• Major Cities Unit

• Infrastructure Australia

• Nation Building-Infrastructure Investment

• Surface Transport Policy

• Australian Maritime Safety Authority

• Policy and Research (incorporating the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics)

• Office of Transport Security

• Aviation and Airports

• Civil Aviation Safety Authority

• Airservices Australia

• Australian Transport Safety Bureau

Corporate Services

3.3 The committee confirmed the appointment of the Commonwealth Coordinator-General, Ms Lyn O'Connell, and sought details about the work and responsibilities of the role. Ms O'Connell explained that:

My role is one of coordinating and dealing with both the state and federal government agencies responsible for delivery of the programs, reporting on the delivery of the programs et cetera, and resolving any issues. 1

3.4 The committee discussed the progress of projects under the Economic Stimulus Plan and expressed concerns about the prospects of completion by the

Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011, p. 4.

251

22

delivery date on 30 June 2011. Officers advised that there is an ongoing and active monitoring of the program, with currently 97 per cent of major projects commenced and over 73 per cent completed.2

3.5 The department also provided an update on the progress of implementing the 2010 election commitment projects, including the Epping to Parramatta rail link and the Port of Townsville project.3

Major Cities Unit

3.6 The committee sought clarification of the staffing, role and work plan of the Major Cities Unit following its integration into the department. Officers informed the committee that:

Our work falls into a number of streams, the most significant of which is the development of a national urban policy that we are currently out for consultation on. We also have the minister's agreement to continue to produce the State of Australian cities report, the first report of which was released in March last year. We also provide advice, through the department and also through Infrastructure Australia, on infrastructure proposals and their merits in terms of cities .4

3.7 The committee expressed interest in the State of Australian cities report and whether govermnents have introduced programs or policies stemming from the report. The department indicated that it was not aware of any such programs or policies, but explained the intended purpose of the report:

The State of Australian cities report, I believe for the first time , draws together a broad range of statistics and analysis in regards to the Australian city state as an information document. As Ms Ekelund has indicated, it was a base document that we have used to draft the national urban policy document that was released in December of last year as part of an ongoing conversation with the community in terms of the government establishing a national urban policy. 5

3.8 The committee went on to discuss the National Urban Policy and heard from the department that completion of the policy framework is a priority for the Major Cities Unit in the coming months. Officers advised that the policy will be issued by the govermnent in 2011.6

2 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011, pp 4-6.

3 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011, pp 10-15.

4 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011, p. 22.

5 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011, p. 26.

6 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011, pp 28 and 30-31.

252

23

Infrastructure Australia and Nation Building-Infrastructure Investment

3.9 The committee took evidence about the National Land Freight Strategy discussion paper released on 22 February 2011 and the consideration of climate change issues in the department's work. The department stated that:

... in our current work we are looking at some 80 to 100 major infrastructure projects, and part of the assessment of those projects is to deal with the potential impact of climate change in each of them. We have considered, as part of the National Ports Strategy that the Commonwealth has taken

forward, the impacts of climate change. The National Land Freight Strategy discussion paper released today by Minister Albanese is designed to consider some of the impacts of climate change in terms of road versus rail and the pricing arrangements that might go to those things, and it is also present in our work on both urban and regional water strategies, both of

which are out in the public domain. 7

3.1 0 There was some discussion about the work of Infrastructure Australia following recent natural disasters. The department was questioned about deferrals to Queensland infrastructure projects to fund flood recovery, as well as assistance provided to Queensland and Victoria in restoration projects.8

3.11 The committee enquired about the high-speed rail study announced ill October 2010 and heard that a formal reference group has been established.9

3.12 In addition, the department provided the committee with updates on various infrastructure projects ill New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia. 10

3.13 The committee sought information about the Commonwealth government commitment to build new truck stops over 2010-11 and 2011-12. Officers explained the process for identifying priority truck stop areas:

... submissions are received from state and territory governments identifying priorities for funding, and are also received from interest groups, such as the Australian Livestock Transporters Association, Australian Logistics Council, Australian Trucking Association, Linfox, NatRoad Ltd,

National Transport Commission, Queensland Transport Association and Toll Group . So the minister receives submissions, and approval of funding is based on the submissions and adequate project documentation and state's agreement to the terms of the funding and reporting requirements. 1 1

7 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011, p. 36.

8 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011, pp 33-34.

9 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011, pp 50-51.

10 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011, pp 35-36, 41-42, 45 and 49-51.

11 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011, p. 52.

253

24

3.14 Further questions were asked relating to the black spot funding program and applications from regional authorities. The department explained the process for assessing applications:

In regard to the criteria that relate to it, it has to have a history of at least three casualty crashes over a five-year period at that particular point for it to be eligible for the black spot program. It needs to be able to demonstrate a benefit-to-cost ratio of at least two to one . There are some sites which are eligible for consideration as a result of a road safety audit. Road safety audits do not require a crash history or a casualty crash history, but only 30 per cent of the program can be allocated on the basis of a road safety audit,

as opposed to one which has a crash history.

When those are nominated, there is a desktop review, if you like, conducted by the particular road safety authority-so, in the case of New South Wales , it is the RTA- and all of those submissions are brought to the state or territory consultative then go through a process of looking at the allocation of funding for that year. They will then produce a list of black spot projects- or potential black spot projects, really- which is then put to

h . . l' 112 t e mm1ster tOr approva .

Surface Transport Policy

3.15 The committee requested an update on the national heavy vehicle reforms and was advised that progress is underway with a view to enact a single national heavy vehicle regulator in January 2013. 13 The department indicated that it is working to achieve agreement and uniformity across the Australian jurisdictions, with currently about five remaining areas of divergence in the various regulatory models.

14

3.16 The committee expressed significant concern that the Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) to examine the case for adopting an international standard on pedestrian safety may include the banning of bull bars on Australian vehicles. 15

Officers emphasised through extensive discussions that such a ban was not envisaged:

The proposal in the RIS is emphatically not to ban bull bars. What the proposal actually does is propose standards to improve the pedestrian safety of vehicles by increasing the energy absorbency of the front of the vehicles. 16

3.17 It was further clarified that under the RIS proposal, standards are to be phased in from 2013 to 2019 and will only apply to new vehicles. Moreover, the department noted that the proposal as a whole is currently still open for public comment.

12 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011 , p. 54.

13 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011 , p. 53 .

14 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011 , p. 55.

15 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011 , pp 56-61 and 70-80.

16 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011, p. 57.

254

25

3.18 The committee also engaged in discussion about the draft National Road Safety and the target reduction rate for road fatalities over the next decade. 17

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)

3.19 The committee disc_!lssed recent incidents involving mantlme transport vessels and sought clarification on the jurisdiction of AMSA over port activities. Officers explained that:

... the jurisdiction under the Navigation Act that we work is cunently a voyage based jurisdiction. So, for example, we have jurisdiction over a foreign flagged vessel coming into that port from an international voyage. Should there be, for example, an incident in that port between a foreign flagged vessel and a vessel such as the tug under state jurisdiction, again we would have jurisdiction over the seaworthiness of the foreign flagged vessel, but it is generally the state authorities who have actual waterways management control within that port. 18

3.20 The committee also sought specific information about the Shen Neng 1 incident in the Great Barrier Reef and the Pacific Adventurer oil spill in

Moreton Bay. 19

Policy and Research (incorporating the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics)

3.21 The committee enquired about research into regional issues following the establishment of the Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government. Officers advised that regional research staff are still employed in the department to provide research to the new department.20 The department also

indicated that it is involved in discussions with the Australian Bureau of Statistics to standardise a definition of 'regional Australia'. 21

3.22 The department provided the committee with road death statistics for recent years and explained the analysis of a decrease in fatality rate:

So from the data itself I guess we look at the breakdown of what is happening and there has been a decline over time , very positively, in the number of people in the 17 to 25 year age group. The number of fatalities in that group has declined over the last five years. In fact, across the whole

range of different categories there has been a decline. The only real exception is people riding motorcycles and that is in part due to the fact that

17 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011 , pp 62-63.

18 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011 , p. 65.

19 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011, pp 64--68.

20 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011 , p. 80.

21 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011, pp 80-81 .

255

26

more people are riding motorcycles. We have also just published an analysis of the major things over the last 40-odd years that have had an impact on road fatalities . We have got quite a good analysis that shows cause and effect. The three biggest things that have made a difference over the last 40 years are the introduction of seatbelts, random breath testing and speed

cameras.22

3.23 The department advised that further research is being undertaken to improve measures as part of the National Road Safety Strategy.23

Office of Transport Security

3.24 Regarding the introduction of body scanner technology at airports, the committee noted concerns from the community on privacy issues and potential health impacts of exposure to the X-ray technology. Officers explained that, at this stage, the department is engaging with the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARP ANSA) to analyse the types of body scanner technology available with consideration of potential health effects. If the X-ray technology is considered further, the Radiation Health Committee will be required to make recommendations for its

1 h

. 24

approva or ot erwtse.

3.25 The department is also working with the manufacturers to develop the technology so that images of passengers are reduced to simplified graphic representations with an automatic threat detection capability to highlight areas on the body of potential safety concem? 5

Aviation and Airports

3.26 The committee questioned officers regarding the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Airport monitoring report 2009-10. Specific issues discussed included monopoly pricing at Sydney airport and the allocation of landing slots for regional airlines under the Sydney Slot Management Scheme. Officers advised that the ACCC report will be considered as part of the

Productivity Commission inquiry on the economic regulation of airport servtces which is currently in the process of inviting submissions. 26

3.27 The committee also enquired about the regional airline subsidy scheme for en route navigation charges. Officers confirmed that the scheme will be phased out after 30 June 2012 but will continue for air ambulance operators. 27

22 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011 , pp 82- 83.

23 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011 , p. 83.

24 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February2011, pp 83- 84.

25 Proof Estimates Han sard, 22 February 2011 , p. 84.

26 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011, pp 90-92.

27 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011 , p. 92.

256

27

Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)

3.28 The committee's questioning of CASA, Airservices Australia and ATSB included a number of matters currently before the Rural Affairs and Transport References committee in its inquiry into Pilot Training and Aircraft Safety. The committee agreed to pursue these matters in greater detail at its public hearing in Canberra on 25 February 2011. Other issues considered by the committee are outlined below.

3.29 The committee followed up an issue from the previous supplementary estimates hearing regarding a potential conflict of interest in the approval of safety devices where approval authority has been delegated to a self-administering organisation. CASA assured the committee that in this particular case of delegated authority to the Australian Parachute Federation, the approval decision is made by a technical advisory group rather than an individual officer. 28

3.30 CASA was questioned about the performance based navigation system trial at Brisbane airport, including aircraft operations during the Queensland floods . Officers explained that measures were put in place in some Queensland airports to enable emergency service operations, although no special provision was required for Brisbane as it is already within controlled airspace? 9 The committee also engaged in discussion about the transition towards new aircraft equipment such as the

ADS-B surveillance technology. 30

3.31 The committee revisited the evidence of Mr John McCormack, Director of Aviation Safety, at the previous budget and supplementary estimates hearings with respect to circumstances surrounding the resignation of the former

Industry Complaints Commissioner, Mr Michael Hart.31 Mr McCormack apologised and corrected his earlier comments to the committee to reflect that, after the hearings, he did recall receiving a letter of resignation from Mr Hart as well as a subsequent conversation with Mr Hart about it. 32

3.32 Mr McCormack has since written to the committee to apologise for the delay in formally correcting his earlier comments upon realising that his advice was incorrect. He also sought to clarify aspects of his statements at the additional estimates hearing, and emphasised that he had no intention at any of the hearings to

misrepresent the information provided to the committee. 33

28 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 20 II , pp 96--97.

29 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011 , p. 97.

30 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011 , p. 98.

31 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 20 II , pp 102- 1 06.

32 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 20 11, p. 103.

33 Correspondence from Mr John McCormack, Director of Aviation Safety, CASA, to the Chair of the Senate Rural Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee, 8 March 2011.

257

28

Airservices Australia

3.33 The committee received an update on the staffing situation for tower staff at Launceston Airport, following an incident a couple of years ago where aircraft landed at the airport after tower hours. Officers reassured the committee that the issue has been settled and that services are operating effectively.34

3.34 The committee was provided with information on the Airservices Australia recruitment and training program through the centralised learning academy in Melbourne. 35

Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB)

3.35 The committee made reference to the 164 stick-shaker incidents reported since 2005, and questioned the ATSB about what processes it has in place to review and reduce the incidence rate. Officers explained that the A TSB reviews the circumstances of stick-shaker incidents and investigates where there are cases of genuine and significant safety concern:

We are focusing on those where it does generally seem to indicate a potential safety issue. The majority of them are not in that category. As for the trend itself, we are thinking, given that most of them are signalled by automatic reaction to turbulence and so on, that we are not yet seeing a systemic problem. 36

3.36 Other air safety issues were also explored with the ATSB, including safety education measures and the investigation of potential safety risks.37

Senator Glenn Sterle Chair

34 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011, p. 108.

35 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011, p. 108.

36 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011 , p. 109.

37 Proof Estimates Hansard, 22 February 2011 , pp 109- 110.

258

Appendix 1

Table of contents to proof Hansard transcripts

Additional estimates 2010-2011

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forest1y portfolio

Monday 21 February 2011

Infrastructure and Transport portfolio

Tuesday 22 February 2011

259

30

In attendance

Monday 21 February 2011

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio

Hansard page

Corporate Finance/Corporate Policy/Corporate Services 4

Wheat Exports Australia 17

Biosecurity Services Group 25

Climate Change 51

Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences 74

Sustainable Resource Management 83

Australian Fisheries Management Authority 90

Trade and Market Access 101

Agricultural Productivity 118

Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority 129

Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation 131

Wine Australia 133

Meat and Livestock Australia 134

260

Tuesday 22 February 2011

Infrastructure and Transport portfolio

In attendance

Corporate Services

Major Cities Unit

Infrastructure Australia

Nation Building-Infrastructure Investment (appeared with Infrastructure Australia)

Surface Transport Policy

Australian Maritime Safety Authority

Policy and Research

Office of Transport Security

Aviation and Airports

Civil Aviation Safety Authority

Airservices Australia

Australian Transport Safety Bureau

261

31

Hansard page

3

20

32

32

54-64; 70-80

64-70

80

83

90

95

107

108

32

262

Appendix 2

Tabled Documents

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry portfolio

Documents tabled at hearing on Monday 21 February 2011

1. Copy of news article 'Japan's food tariffs not a deal-breaker', Sydn ey Morning Herald, 11 February 2011- tabled by Senator Fiona Nash

2. Answers to questions taken on notice during the hearing on 21 February 2011, in relation to Corporate Policy and Climate Change Division - tabled by Ms Rona Mellor, Acting Secretary, DAFF

Infrastructure and Transport portfolio

Documents tabled at hearing 011 Tuesday 22 February 2011

1. Media release CK004/2011 by the Hon Catherine King MP, Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport, 'Government will not ban bull bars', dated 8 February 2011 - tabled by Ms Lyn O'Connell, Deputy Secretary, Department of Infrastructure and Transport

2. Diagram of images shown on body scanning equipment - tabled by Mr Paul Retter, Executive Director, Office of Transport Security

263

264

Appendix 3

Topic list

Agriculture, -Fisheries and Forestry portfolio

Monday 21 February 2011

Division/Agency and Topic Proof Hansard page

reference

Corporate Services/Corporate Finance/Corporate Policy 4-17 Impact of recent extreme weather events on department's 4-11 budget; National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements; Exceptional Circumstances; possible budget savings to fund

reconstruction efforts Budget allocations to DAFF as a percentage of government 11-12 funding Changes to the budget or implementation of election 12-13

commitments since supplementary budget estimates Ministerial staff 13

Campaigns and advertising 13- 14

Media monitoring 14-15

Draft social media policy 15

Graduate recruitment_Qrogram 15-16

Use ofBlackBerrys, mobile data cards and mobile phones 16- 17 Wheat Exports Australia 17-25

Complaints in relation to grain handling; operations ofViterra 17-22 in South Australia Update on access arrangements at ports 23 , 24- 25

Notifiable matters reported by accredited exporters 23

Productivity Commission review and recommendations 23-24 Accreditation requirements 24

Biosecurity Services Group 25-51

Import requirements for raw prawns 25-26, 27- 28 , 29-30,

37-38

Mistaken release of imported raw prawns containing white 26-27,28- 29,37 spot syndrome virus Asian honey bee incursion 30-33 , 36- 37

Risk categorisation and inspection of imported food ; testing 33-36 for antibiotic residues Testing for chemical residues in New Zealand apples 35-36, 38- 39 Import risk analysis for New Zealand apples; fire blight 40-43

Import risk analysis for beef from the US and Canada 44

265

36

Division/Agency and Topic Proof Hansard page

reference

Risk of weeds being spread during distribution of emergency 44 fodder Pressure to reverse ban on the weed, Jatropha curcas, for 44

growing as a biofuel Incoming government brief on biosecurity reform 44-45

Importation of apples from China 45-47

Bacterial canker on kiwifruit 47-48

Zebra chip disease in potatoes 48-50

Live animal exports; animal welfare standards 50-51

Centre for new and emerging infectious diseases 51

Climate Change 51-74

Carbon Farming Initiative 51-53, 54-55

Department's work on climate change strategies 53-54

Exceptional Circumstances application for the Delungra 55-56,60-61 region ABARES' report on the impact of the recent floods on 56

agricultural commodities Exceptional Circumstances 56-57

W A pilot of drought reform measures 57-60

Climate Commission 60

Assistance for the Mingoola-Bonshaw-Tenterfield region; 61-63 National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements; interest rate subsidies Tasmanian Forest Contractors Exit Assistance Program 63-67, 71-72

Statement of principles on Tasmanian forests 67-68

Tamar Valley pulp mill 68-69

Forest industry database 69

Regional Forest Agreements 69-70

Forestry Industries Development Fund 70

Activities for the International Year of Forests 70-71

Discussions between Gunns and the Export Finance and 71,74

Insurance Corporation Greenhouse gas emissions from forest bums in Tasmania 72

Public access to the Plenty link road in Tasmania 72-73

Impact of proposed logging in the Wellington Range on 73

walking track from Hobart to the Snowy Range Illegal1ogging; blockade against logging at Vanimo in Papua 73 New Guinea Incident involving woman protesting against the destruction 73-74 of forests near Bermagui

266

37

Division/Agency and Topic Proof Hansard page

reference

Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource 74-83

Economics and Sciences ABARES' report on environmentally sustainable diversion 74-75 limits in the Murray-Darling Basin ANAO report no. 27 of2010-11, Restoring the balance in the 75 Murray-Darling Basin

ABARES' analysis of the impact of recent extreme weather 76-78 events on agriculture, including: Special report on The impact of recent flood events on commodities released on 21 January 2011; December 2010 Australian crop report; December edition of Australian commodities ABARES' farm survey 78

Projections of future oil prices 78-79

Socioeconomic impact of the establishment of marine parks 79 Timber demand 79-80

Timber mill survey 80

Vegetable industry survey 80

Effect of the merger of ABARE and BRS 81-82

Transfer of the energy function to the Department of 82

Resources, Energy and Tourism ABARES' project on drivers and barriers to the management 82-83 of native vegetation on private land Sustainable Resource Management 83-90

Release of discussion paper and call for submissions as part 83-88;89, 90 of the review of Caring for Our Country; monitoring and evaluation Caring for Our Country business plan for 2011-12 88

Funding for NRM groups, including Cape York regional 89-90 body, and Landcare groups Australian Fisheries Management Authority 90-104

Selection process for new Chief Executive 90-91

Management of Southern Bluefin Tuna Fisheries; 2011 stock 91-95, 96 assessment process; CCSBT quotas; breeding and farming of southern bluefm tuna in South Australia Northern Prawn Fishery 95

Coral Sea Fishery 96

Impact of cyclones on the Eastern Tuna and Billfish Fishery 96-97 and the Coral Sea Fishery Impact of river outflows after flooding on fishing 97-98

Impact of seismic testing on Bass Strait scallop fisheries 98

Illegal foreign fishing ; patrols by the Ocean Protector, 98-99

replacement for the Oceanic Viking

267

38

Division/Agency and Topic Proof Hansard page

reference

Impact of the South East Fishery buyback and harvest 99

strategy Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee; appointment of 100-101, 101-103 Chair, Mr David Llewellyn; current registration of Mr Llewellyn as a lobbyist Funding and staffing for the department's fisheries area 101

European Union catch certification process 101' 1 03-104

Trade and Market Access 104-118

Export access to China for Australian rock lobster 104-105

Red meat expotis to the Russian Federation and continuing 105 negotiations to resolve suspensions of kangaroo meat ex_ports Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement 105-109, 113

Distortions in trade 109

Compensation case in relation to export of ram semen from 109-110 Australia Update on import risk analysis for beef from the US, Canada 110, 111-113 and Japan; stop the clock provisions Department's overseas officers dealing with live expmi trade 110-111 Live Trade Animal Welfare Partnership; improvements in 111 animal welfare conditions overseas Doha round negotiations 113-114

Negotiation of free trade agreement with Japan 114-116

Cargill acquisition of A WB; impact of foreign ownership on 116-117 food security Impact of cheap imports on prune growers in Young 117

Agricultural Productivity 118-129

Regional Food Producers Innovation and Productivity 118

Program Impact of Coles milk marketing strategy 118-120

Horticulture Code of Conduct 120

Development of Australian Animal Welfare Standards and 120-122, 123 , 124-Guidelines 126

Gemmell review of the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy 122-123 Need for a national emergency management plan for the 123-124 treatment of injured or dying animals from natural disasters Country of origin labelling, in particular, apples from China 126-128 Labelling of agricultural products imported into Australia 128-129 from New Zealand, originating from third party nations Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority 129-131 Additional funding for APVMA; reform agenda 129-130

Health standards for fenthion and dimethoate 130

268

39

Division/Agency and Topic Proof Hansard page

reference

Use of streptomycin to control fire blight on apple trees in 130-131 New Zealand; advice from FSANZ on the health impacts of chemical residues on imported fruit Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation 131-133

Productivity Commission review of R&D corporations 132, 133 Impact of previous budget cuts on the RIRDC's operations 132-133 Wine Australia 133-134

Counterfeit Australian wine sold overseas; changes to Wine 133, 134 Australia policies in relation to notifying and supporting levy payers; changes to export approval control mechanisms Market research study into the Chinese market 133-134

Requirements for exports of bulk wine from Australia 134

Meat and Livestock Australia 134-135

Importation of beef from the US and Canada; lessons learned 134-135 by the Australian beef industry; traceability systems for cattle in the US

269

270

Appendix 4

Topic list

Infrastructure and Transport portfolio

Tuesday 22 Febr uary 20 11 Division/Agency an d Topic Pro of Hansard p age

reference

Corporate Services 3-20

Appointment and role of Coordinator-General 4

Economic Stimulus Plan progress 4-1 0

Implementation of 2010 election commitments: 10-1 5

• Richmond Bridge planning and construction works (NSW) • Eden Port feasibility study (NSW) • Epping to Parramatta rail link (NSW) • Princes Highway West planning and construction (VIC)

• Mo reton Bay rail link (QLD) • Calliope Crossroads project (QLD) • Port of Townsville project (QLD) • Great Eastern Highway planning and construction works

(WA)

• Tasman Highway planning and construction works (TAS) • Inland rail preconstruction commitment work • Accelerated Pacific Highway works between Kempsey and Port Macquarie (NSW) • Shipping reform agenda Community Engagement Panel 15-17

Hospitality expenses 17-18

Discretionary grants 18

Review ofPart X of the Trade Practices Act 1974 18

Major Cities Program 18- 19

Oil and oil availability considerations in transport system 19

planning M ajor Cities Unit 20-32

National urban design protocol 20- 22 , 21

Structure, staffmg and work program 22- 25

State of Australian Cities report 25-27

National urban policy 26- 27

Input ofMCU in government policy for developments on the 28 , 30-31 edge of cities Public transport in cities 28

271

42

Division/Agency and Topic Proof Hansard page

reference

Energy efficiency in commercial buildings 28-29

Collaboration with COAG Reform Council 29

National planning policies portal website 29-30,32

VAMPIRE Index 31-32

Infrastructure Australia and 32-54

Nation Building--Infrastructure Investment Port of Bun bury (W A) 32-33

Deferral of QLD infrastructure projects to fund flood 33-34

recovery Assistance to QLD and VIC restoration projects 34

Future of Infrastructure Australia 34-35

Category 5 Level buildings in cyclone areas 35

Townsville ring road construction 35

Cairns cultural precinct 35-36

Burdekin Road Safety Audit Project 36

National Land Freight Strategy discussion paper 36-37

Energy infrastructure 37-39

Office accommodation of Infrastructure Australia 39

Review of water quality and security by AECOM Australia 39--41 PtyLtd Epping to Parramatta rail line 41--42

National Ports Strategy 42-45

Kingston bypass project 45

Infrastructure Australia funding 45--46

Building Australia Fund 46

Infrastructure projects and proposals in WA and NSW 46--49

Gold Coast light rail project 49

Proposed third crossing of Fitzroy River 49

Proposed second airport on Central Coast (NSW) 50

High-speed rail study reference group 50-51

Launceston to Hobart highway project 51

Truck stop projects and funding 52-53

Black spot funding program 53-54

Surface Transport Policy 54-64,70-80

National Heavy Vehicle reforms 53 , 54-56

Regulation Impact Statement on pedestrian safety and 56-61, 70-80 proposed standards for bull bars on vehicles Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme 62

National Road Safety Strategy 62-63

Vehicle rest stops 63-64

272

43

Division/Agency and Topic Proof Hansard page

reference

Australian Maritime Safety Authority 64- 70

Tinny to Tanker program 64

Incidents involving maritime transport vessels, including the 64- 68 Shen NenR I and the Pacific Adventurer Review of the National Plan to Combat Pollution of the Sea 68-69 Upgrade to Oracle and Solaris, IT servers and database 69-70

software Policy and Research 80-83

Research into regional issues for the Department of Regional 80 Australia, Regional Development and Local Government Definition of 'regional Australia' 80-81

Port strategy, including crane rates 81-82

Road death statistics 82-83

Office of Transport Security 83-89

Proposal to introduce body scanner technology at airports 83-85 Maritime Security Identification Cards (MSIC) 85-87

Security screening equipment at regional airports 87-89

Aviation and Airports 90-95

Proposed second airport on Central Coast (NSW) 90

ACCC Airport monitoring report 2009-10 and Productivity 90-92 Commission inquiry on economic regulation of airport servtces Regional airline subsidy scheme for en route charges 92-95

Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) 95-107

Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 information campaign 95 CAR 38 direction to Qantas to conduct further inspection of 95 Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines on A380 aircraft Investigation into alleged safety breaches by Qantas catering 96 at Brisbane airport

Approval of safety devices 96-97

Performance based navigation system trial and transition to 97-99 ADS -B technology Pilot training and cadet programs 99

Overseas-based pilots flying into Australia 99-100

Open culture for accident reporting and investigation 100-101

Cabin crew fatigue management 101

Cabin crew safety training and English language skills 101-102

Resignation of former Industry Complaints Commissioner, 102-106 Mr Michael Hart Complaint by Captain Stan van de Wiel to former 106

the Hon Mark Vale regarding matters before CASA Administrative Appeals Tribunal matter of Richard Green 106-107 regarding renewal of maintenance authority

273

44

Division/Agency and Topic Proof Hansard page

reference

Airservices Australia 107-108

Long-termpricing proposal for reduction in charges 107-108

Staffing at Launceston airport 108

Recruitment and training programs 108

Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) 108-110

Review of stick-shaker events since 2005 108-109

Safety education measures 109

Investigation of potential safety risks 109-110

ATSB report on take-off performance calculation errors 110

274

THE PARLIAMENT OF TH E COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

PARLIAMENTARY PAPER No. 71 of 2011 ORDERED TO BE PRINTED

ISSN 0727-4181