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Tuesday, 1 February 1994
Page: 111

(Question No. 824)

Mr Reid asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Human Services, upon notice, on 18 December 1993:

  (1) Did the Government purchase the Ironbark Ridge Native Plant Nursery in Bendigo; if so, (a) what was the purchase price and (b) when was the nursery purchased; if not, what financial interest does the Government have in the nursery.

  (2) Is he able to say how many persons are employed at the nursery and how many have some form of disability.

  (3) Is the nursery receiving on-going financial support from the Government; if so, (a) when did the support commence and (b) what total sum has been allocated to the nursery since the support commenced.

Mr Howe —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

  (1) The Government has not purchased the nursery. The Government has no financial interest in the nursery other than the on-going support detailed in (3).

  (2) There are 10 people employed at the nursery; eight of whom have a disability of some form and the other two are trainer/support workers.

  (3) The service has received on-going assistance since it transferred to Federal funding under the Commonwealth State Disability Agreement on July 1992. Since that time the Government has funded rental costs to the value of $13,200 per annum as

well as paid salaries for the two support workers at the rate of $25,353 per annum each (in line with the Adult Units (Day Training Centres) Instructors Award). On the basis of the figures detailed above, the financial assistance provided to the nursery from July 1992 and up to January 1994 is approximately $96,000.

  Also, under the Commonwealth State Disability Agreement the Government is to assist with the purchase of a vehicle for the nursery. The Commonwealth has agreed to provide $16,500 for the purchase of a vehicle and this will be provided early in 1994.