Office of the Hon Warren Truss MP
Minister for Transport and Regional Services
Deputy Leader of the Nationals

Reference: 07212-2005

Ms Margaret Hutton
[address deleted]

[date stamped 28 Nov 2005]

Dear Ms Hutton

Thank you for your letters of 21 June 2005 to the former Minister for Transport and Regional Services, the Hon John Anderson MP and of 21 September 2005 to the Hon Warren Truss MP, Minister for Transport and Regional Services, regarding the Senate Select Committee Inquiry into A Certain Maritime Incident (CMI). The Minister has asked me to reply on his behalf. I regret the delay in replying.

I have sought the Australian Maritime Safety Authority's (AMSA) advice on the issues you raised. Your letter asks why a telephone call by a member of the People Smuggling Taskforce (chaired by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet) to AMSA was not recorded on a search and rescue incident file maintained by AMSA's Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC). AMSA advises that communications with members of the Task Force were generally conducted at a senior executive level and not directly with search and rescue officers in the RCC and therefore would not have been recorded on the RCC files. AMSA has assured me that its evidence to the inquiry was complete.

Concerning your enquiry about transcripts of telephone calls received by AMSA on 22 October 2001, AMSA have advised that they do not transcribe any telephone calls. In relation to AMSA not issuing a broadcast to shipping in relation to SIEV X, this matter was examined by the Certain Maritime Incident Inquiry when AMSA appeared before the Senate Select Committee on 1 May and 11 July 2002. AMSA's evidence is recorded at pages CMI 1372 and CMI 1874 to 1880 of the respective Hansards.

Thank you for bringing this matter to the attention of the Minister.

Yours sincerely

David Whitrow
Chief of Staff

[see scan of this document]

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