On 8 February 2018, the Senate referred the following documents to the
Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee (the committee)
for examination and report:
Particulars of proposed additional expenditure in respect of the
year ending on 30 June 2018 [Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2017–18];
Particulars of certain proposed additional expenditure in respect
of the year ending on 30 June 2018 [Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2017–18]; and
Final Budget Outcome 2016–17.
The committee is required to examine the 2017–18 additional estimates contained in these
documents in relation to the Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities portfolio
and the Agriculture and Water Resources portfolio. Following examination, the
committee is required to table its report on 27 March 2018.
Additional estimates hearings
The committee examined witnesses from the Infrastructure, Regional
Development and Cities portfolio on 26 February 2018, and witnesses from the
Agriculture and Water Resources portfolio on 27 February 2018. In addition, the
committee conducted a cross-portfolio Murray-Darling Basin Plan matters
estimates hearing on 2 March 2018 in accordance with a Senate agreement of
15 November 2017.
The committee heard evidence from the following senators:
Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion, Minister for Indigenous Affairs,
representing the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport; and
Senator the Hon Anne Ruston, Assistant Minister for Agriculture
and Water Resources, representing the Minister for Agriculture and Water
Evidence was also provided by:
Dr Steven Kennedy, Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure,
Regional Development and Cities;
Mr Daryl Quinlivan, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture
and Water Resources;
Mr Phillip Glyde, Chief Executive of the Murray-Darling Basin
Ms Jody Swirepik, Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder; 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.
Questions on notice and Hansard transcript
In accordance with standing order 26(9)(a), the committee set 13 April
2018, as the date for the return of written answers or additional information,
in response to questions placed on notice during the hearings.
Written answers and information provided to the committee in response to
questions on notice arising from the hearings are tabled in the Senate and
posted on the committee's webpage. Links to the Hansard transcripts of these
public hearings, and to answers and additional information are also available
on the committee webpage at: https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Senate_Estimates/rrat.
Record of proceedings
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.
Answers to questions on notice – Supplementary Budget Estimates 2017–18
The committee undertook supplementary budget estimates hearings on
23 and 24 October 2017 for the Infrastructure and Regional Development
portfolio and the Agriculture and Water Resources portfolio. On 27 October
2017, the committee examined cross-portfolio Murray-Darling Basin Plan matters.
The committee set 15 December 2017 as the deadline for return of answers to
questions on notice.
The Infrastructure and Regional Development portfolio took 130 questions
on notice. The Agriculture and Water Resources portfolio took 170 questions on
notice. There were no questions on notice for the Environment and Energy
portfolio arising from the cross-portfolio hearings.
Timeliness of answers to questions
The Infrastructure and Regional Development portfolio submitted 51
responses to questions by the deadline. The remaining answers were received
gradually throughout December 2017 and until 23 February 2018. At the time of
the additional estimates hearings, two responses remained outstanding.
The Agriculture and Water Resources portfolio submitted one response by
the deadline. All remaining responses were provided on 20 December 2017.
Note on references
References to the Hansard transcript are to the proof Hansard; page
numbers may vary between the proof and the official Hansard transcripts.
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