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Notice given 12 December 2003

*2468  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister for Defence—With reference to the current contract for the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) submarine rescue services:

(1) Who is currently contracted to provide the service.

(2) (a) When was the tender for the contract released; (b) which companies submitted tenders; and (c) when was the decision made to select the winning tender.

(3) What are the terms of the contract, including value, length and options.

(4) On what grounds was the winning tender chosen over the other bids.

(5) Does the company currently contracted to provide the service: (a) employ all the necessary qualified staff to provide the rescue service; and (b) possess all the necessary equipment to provide the rescue service.

(6) Is the company capable of operating the rescue vessel, the Remora.

(7) (a) Has the Australian Defence Organisation (ADO) provided any personnel or equipment to the company to assist in providing the rescue service; and (b) what is the value of that assistance.

(8) (a) Has the company conducted any exercises since taking over the contract; if so, when were these conducted; and (b) are any further exercises planned; if so, when.

(9) In relation to any exercises that have been conducted: (a) did the company complete the exercises to the satisfaction of the RAN; (b) did the new contractor meet all performance criteria for the exercises, e.g. the time taken to deploy the rescue vessel; if not, what criteria was it unable to meet; and (c) in terms of the exercises that have been conducted, were there any safety concerns raised by the RAN or other parties over the activities of the company currently contracted to provide the service.

(10) Has the ADO contracted other parties to assist in providing the submarine rescue service since the current service provider was employed, i.e. have other companies been contracted to provide additional services or support; if so, what is the value of these contracts.