Chapter 1

Chapter 1


1.1        On 9 May 2017, the Senate referred the following two documents to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee (the committee) for examination and report:

1.2        The committee is required to examine the 2017-18 Budget estimates contained in these two documents in relation to the Infrastructure and Regional Development portfolio and the Agriculture and Water Resources portfolio. Following examination, the committee is required to table its report on 20 June 2017.[2]

Budget estimates hearings

1.3        The committee examined witnesses from both portfolios at hearings held between 22 and 25 May 2017.

1.4        On 28 March 2017, the Senate amended the order of the Senate of 8 November 2016 relating to the hearings for the 2017-18 Budget estimates to include a cross-portfolio estimates hearing on Murray-Darling Basin Plan on 26 May 2017.

1.5        The Budget estimates hearings were conducted in accordance with the agreed agenda as follows:

1.6        The committee heard evidence from the following senators:

1.7        Evidence was also provided by:

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

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 resolved that they be submitted by 7 July 2017.[3]

Record of proceedings

1.10      This report does not attempt to analyse the evidence presented during the hearings. However, it does provide a summary of some of the key issues that were covered by the committee for each portfolio.

Note on references and additional information

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

1.12      Copies of the proof Hansard transcripts, documents tabled at the hearings, and additional information received after the hearings will be tabled in the Senate and available on the committee's website.

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