On 7 February 2013, 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 expenditure in respect of the year ending
on 30 June 2013 [Appropriation Bill (No.3) 2012-13];
- particulars of certain proposed expenditure in respect of the year
ending on 30 June 2013 [Appropriation Bill (No.4) 2012-13];
- final budget outcome 2011-12; and
issues from the advances under the annual Appropriation Acts for
The committee was required to report to the Senate on its consideration
of 2012-13 additional estimates on 19 March 2013.
Variation of portfolios
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
2012-13 for all portfolios at hearings on 11 and 12 February 2013. The hearings
were conducted in accordance with the agreed agenda as follows:
- Monday 11 February – Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
- Tuesday 12 February – 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
and Forestry and Minister Assisting on Queensland Flood Recovery;
- Senator the Hon Kim Carr, Minister for Human Services
representing the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport; and
Senator the Hon Kate Lundy, Minister for Sport, Minister for
Multicultural Affairs and Minister Assisting for Industry and Innovation,
representing the Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and
Local Government, and Minister for the Arts.
Evidence was also provided by:
Mr Andrew Metcalfe AO, Secretary of the Department of
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry;
Mr Mike Mrdak, Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure and
- Mrs Glenys Beauchamp, Secretary for the Department of Regional
Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport; and
- officers representing the departments and agencies covered by the
The committee thanks the ministers, departmental secretaries and
officers for their assistance and cooperation during the hearings.
Changes to departmental structures
Mr Metcalfe, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and
Forestry informed the committee of changes to the department's structure in his
opening statement on Monday, 11 February 2013, which have
occurred since Supplementary Budget Estimates of October 2012.
In October 2012, the Live Animal Export Division was established with
the primary purpose of implementing new regulatory processes resulting from the
Farmer Review and the implementation of the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance
System. The division is also responsible for providing strategic policy advice,
managing stakeholder and client relations.
In February 2013, the Post Entry Quarantine Program was established to
provide strategic leadership for the program of works underway across the
department to deliver the Government's new post entry quarantine facility in
Currently underway is a merger of the Agricultural Productivity,
Sustainable Resource Management and Climate Change divisions, essentially
turning three divisions into two divisions to reflect the changing nature of
the business covered by those divisions. The merger is expected to be finalised
in March 2013.
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 5 April 2013.
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
2012-13, February 2013, 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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