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Senate Estimates: Environment and Communications Legislation Committee (Wildlife, Heritage and Marine)

Estimates & Committees
Lee Rhiannon 2 Nov 2016

Monday, 17 October 2016

Senator RHIANNON: I would like to ask about the $1 million grant the Waverley council received under the department's Protecting National Historic Sites Program for the design phase of the Bondi pavilion upgrade. What monitoring do you take once these grants have been made?

Mr Johnston: All of our grants are done through program 1.1, so we would have to take that back to get them to answer that one.

Senator RHIANNON: So you cannot answer it now?

Mr Johnston: All of the grants administration is done through program 1.1, so even though it is the heritage grants round, all of the contracting and all of the administration is all done in our department through 1.1.

Senator RHIANNON: Does that mean that anything that I want to ask on this issue should have been in 1.1?

Mr Johnston: If it is about the grant, the conditions of the grant and the implementation of the works, yes.

Dr de Brouwer: Maybe one general way of explaining the difference between 1.1 and 1.4 is that 1.1 looks at those programs and the spending; 1.4 is very much around the rules—how the rules work, what the outcomes are either for listing species or heritage listing; those sorts of aspects. I am sorry, Senator, but we will come back to you through questions on notice.

Senator WATERS: Lee has been waiting all day for that!

Dr de Brouwer: The people are not here.

Senator WATERS: They have gone, have they?

Senator RHIANNON: You have just said something about outcomes. Many of my questions I think would go to outcomes, so let us try in terms of outcomes. Firstly, I understand the $1 million was awarded for a project upgrade of about $14 million, is that correct?

Mr Oxley: As Mr Johnston and Dr de Brouwer have indicated, Wildlife, Heritage and Marine Division, which is primarily responsible for program 1.4, has responsibility for the assessment and listing of heritage places, threatened species, ecological communities, key threatening processes, and then for the making of statutory plans like recovery plans and statutory advices like referral guidelines and conservation advices. We are not responsible for the program management in this division; it is Biodiversity Conservation Division. Any questions that go to the administration of grant programs, including the outcomes achieved under those grant programs, need to be directed to the officers of biodiversity conservation division, who do account to the Senate under program 1.1. I am sorry.

CHAIR: Are you able to take the questions on notice.

Mr Oxley: We can take any of those questions on notice, of course.

Senator RHIANNON: Okay. I will just check a couple of others to see if I am in luck. What about with regard to how it applies to the Burra Charter? Is that something I can ask?

Mr Oxley: You can try, and we'll see how far we get!

Senator RHIANNON: Thank you very much. I appreciate you explaining it to me. I noted Waverley council's undertaking that the activities within this project will be carried out in accordance with heritage best practice as contained in the Burra Charter and has the written endorsement of an appropriate technical adviser. Do you have copies of that written advice as part of the application?

Mr Oxley: Again, we are talking now about the administration of the grants program, so I am sorry but we cannot help in an immediate sense, but we can take that on notice also.

Senator RHIANNON: Okay. I will try the Indigenous one and then, obviously, move on. The grant application that was successful stated that it had the support from the relevant traditional owners. When such statements are made, what do you do to ensure that that is correct?

Senator Birmingham: I am sorry. I appreciate that the headings of the programs under the outcomes would lead you to have come here at this time. You are going to a particular level of detail about an application that, clearly, unfortunately, nobody has. I did just check with Dr de Brouwer. The portfolio budget statements do make it clear that this grant's program sits within 1.1, but nonetheless I can appreciate why on a cursory glance of headings you are here now. I am sorry about that.

Senator RHIANNON: Thank you for tolerating it while I tried.

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