On 9 February 2012, the Senate referred the following documents to the
Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee (the committee)
for examination and report in relation to the Agriculture, Fisheries and
Forestry portfolio, the Infrastructure and Transport portfolio, and the
Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport portfolio:
particulars of proposed additional expenditure in respect of the
year ending on 30 June 2012 [Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2011-12];
- particulars of certain proposed additional expenditure in respect
of the year ending on 30 June 2012 [Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2011-12];
- final budget outcome 2010-11; and
- issues from the advances under the annual Appropriation Acts for
The committee was required to report to the Senate on its consideration
of the 2011-12 additional estimates on 20 March 2012. On Thursday 15 March, the
Senate granted an extension of time to report until Thursday 22 March 2012.
Variation of portfolios
Following the Administrative Arrangements Order of 14 December 2011, the
Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government
became its own portfolio and gained responsibility for Arts and Sport. The
department became the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts
On 8 February 2012, the Senate amended the continuing order relating to
the allocation of departments and agencies to committees. The change of
allocations resulted in the committee changing its name from Rural Affairs and
Transport, to Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport, and also taking
responsibility for the oversight of the Regional Australia, Local Government,
Arts and Sport portfolio.
Additional Estimates hearings
The committee considered the Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements 2011-12
for all portfolios at hearings on 13 and 14 February 2012. The hearings were
conducted in accordance with the agreed agenda as follows:
- Monday 13 February 2012 – Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
- Tuesday 14 February 2012 – Infrastructure and Transport portfolio;
and Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport portfolio.
The committee heard evidence from:
- Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries
- Senator the Hon Kim Carr, Minister for Manufacturing and Minister
for Defence Materiel, representing the Minister for Infrastructure and
- Senator the Hon Mark Arbib, Assistant Treasurer, Minister for
Small Business and Minister for Sport, representing the Minister for Regional
Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, and Minister for the
Evidence was also provided by:
- Dr Conall O'Connell, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture,
Fisheries and Forestry;
- Mr Mike Mrdak, Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure and Transport;
- Ms Glenys Beauchamp, Secretary for the Department of Regional
Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport; and
- officers representing the departments and agencies covered by the
estimates before the committee.
The committee thanks the ministers, departmental secretaries and
officers for their assistance and cooperation during the hearings.
Changes to departmental structures
On 14 November 2011, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and
Forestry (DAFF) launched its new Strategic Statement. As a result there were
some minor changes to DAFF's departmental structure. Most noticeably, the
Australian Quarantine Inspection Service (AQIS) is now known as DAFF
Biosecurity. The name change will not affect the authority under which
audit, inspection, and certification activities are conducted.
Questions on Notice
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 30 March 2012.
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 2011-12, February 2012,
Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee'.
Documents not suitable for inclusion in the additional information volumes will
be available on request from the committee secretariat.
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
References to the Hansard transcript are to the proof Hansard; page
numbers may vary between the proof and the official Hansard transcript.
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