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ENVIRONMENT, COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS REFERENCES COMMITTEE—REFERENCES

The Leader of the Family First Party (Senator Fielding), pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved business of the Senate notice of motion no. 2—That the following matter be referred to the Environment, Communications and the Arts References Committee for inquiry and report by 24 November 2009:

The practices and procedures of Australia Post over the past 3 years in relation to the treatment of injured and ill workers, including but not limited to:

 (a) allegations that injured staff have been forced back to work inappropriate duties before they have recovered from workplace injuries;

 (b) the desirability of salary bonus policies that reward managers based on lost time injury management and the actions of managers to achieve bonus targets;

 (c) the commercial arrangements that exist between Australia Post and InjuryNet and the quality of the service provided by the organisation;

 (d) allegations of compensation delegates using fitness for duty assessments from facility nominated doctors to justify refusal of compensation claims and whether the practice is in breach of the Privacy Act 1988 and Comcare policies;

 (e) allegations that Australia Post has no legal authority to demand medical assessments of injured workers when they are clearly workers' compensation matters;

 (f) the frequency of referrals to InjuryNet doctors and the policies and circumstances behind the practices; and

 (g) any related matters.

Senator Wortley, by leave, moved the following amendment:

 Omit paragraph (g), substitute:

  (g) the comparison of outcomes arising from circumstances when an injured worker attends a facility nominated doctor, their own doctor and when an employee attends both, the practices in place to manage conflicting medical recommendations in the workplace; and

  (h) any related matters.

Question—That the amendment be agreed to—put and passed.


Statements by leave: Senators Wortley and Parry, by leave, made statements relating to the motion.

Main question, as amended, put and passed.

Senator Birmingham, also on behalf of Senator Barnett, pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved business of the Senate notice of motion no. 4—That the following matters be referred to the Environment, Communications and the Arts References Committee for inquiry and report by 30 March 2010:

 (a) the Federal Government's Energy Efficient Homes Package (ceiling insulation), with particular reference to:

  (i) the administration of the program from a pricing, probity and efficiency perspective, including:

   (A) the basis on which the Government determined the size of the rebate for ceiling insulation,

   (B) regulation of quoting and installation practices,

   (C) protection against rorting and abuse of the rebate,

   (D) the impact of the program in pushing up insulation prices,

   (E) ensuring value for money for taxpayers,

   (F) waste, inefficiency and mismanagement within the program, and

   (G) ensuring the program achieves its stated aims as part of the Government's stimulus package,

  (ii) an examination of what advice was provided to the Government on safety matters, particularly in relation to fire and electrocution risks and to what degree the Government acted on this advice,

  (iii) an examination of what advice was provided to the Government on occupational health and safety matters, particularly in relation to training for installers, including:

   (A) to what degree the Government acted on this advice, and

   (B) identification and examination of fires and electrical incidents resulting from the Government's Home Insulation Program, and

  (iv) an analysis of the effectiveness of the package as a means to improve the efficiency of homes and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, including comparison with alternative policy measures;

 (b) consideration of measures to reduce or eliminate waste and mismanagement, and to ensure value for money for the remainder of the program, noting the planned $2.7 billion to be distributed under the program in total; and

 (c) other related matters.

Senator Milne, by leave, moved the following amendment:

 Omit all words after "with particular reference to:", substitute:

  (i) the level of ceiling and wall insulation in Australian residences, state by state, prior to the announcement of the Energy Efficient Homes Package and the adequacy of the Building Code to ensure comprehensive roll out in future,

  (ii) the administration of the program from a pricing, probity and efficiency perspective, including:

   (A) the basis on which the Government determined the size of the rebate for ceiling insulation,

   (B) regulation of quoting and installation practices,

   (C) protection against rorting and abuse of the rebate,


   (D) the impact of the program in pushing up insulation prices,

   (E) the level of imported insulation to meet demand,

   (F) ensuring value for money for taxpayers,

   (G) waste, inefficiency and mismanagement within the program,

   (H) ensuring the program achieves its stated aims as part of the Government's stimulus package, and

   (I) the consultation and advice received from current manufacturers regarding their ability to meet the projected demand,

  (iii) an examination of:

   (A) the employment and investment in insulation production and manufacturing resulting from the program,

   (B) what advice was provided to the Government on safety matters, particularly in relation to fire and electrocution risks, and to what degree the Government acted on this advice,

   (C) the costs and benefits of extending the scheme to include other energy efficiency products, including wall and floor insulation, draft stoppers and window treatments,

   (D) the costs and benefits of changing or extending the scheme to make small and medium sized businesses eligible for installations,

   (E) the extent to which imported insulation products met Australian standards and the method used to make that determination, and

   (F) what advice was provided to the Government on occupational health and safety matters, particularly in relation to training for installers, including:

    (1) to what degree the Government acted on this advice, and

    (2) identification and examination of fires and electrical incidents resulting from the Government's Home Insulation Program, and

  (iv) an analysis of the effectiveness of the package as a means to improve the efficiency of homes and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, including comparison with alternative policy measures;

 (b) consideration of measures to reduce or eliminate waste and mismanagement, and to ensure value for money for the remainder of the program, noting the planned $2.7 billion to be distributed under the program in total; and

 (c) other related matters.

Question—That the amendment be agreed to—put and passed.

Main question, as amended, put and passed.

Statements by leave: Senators O'Brien, Milne and Birmingham, by leave, made statements relating to the motion.