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1) The BVB will be valid from the date it is granted and will have a limited travel facility on it, so you should not apply too early. They are not issued for future travel as far as the start date is concerned.
2) Can't comment on what someone at DIBP may be thinking.
3) Yes, through your ImmiAccount.. The ones I have done lately were granted in a matter of days.
4) No, the BVB replaces the BVA and will stay in effect on your return to Australia, but the travel facility will expire eventually.
 
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1.)

As far as I know BVB will override BVA until it expires. It's a multiple entry visa, you may travel in and out for multiple times as long as it's within the validity period. If you get only 3 months, then by the end of 3rd month you will be back to BVA. No more travelling out after that, unless you apply for another new BVB.
This is incorrect. You will no go back to a BVA. The BVB will remain in effect. Once the travel facility expires, you do need to apply for another BVB, if you want to travel again.
 
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