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Monday, 29 November 2004
Page: 28

Mr LATHAM (2:17 PM) —My question is to the Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Transport and Regional Services. Can the minister confirm that the guidelines for the Regional Partnerships program require that formal applications must be made for the funding, that applications can be made on an application form obtained from the local ACC or from the Commonwealth Regional Information Service and that all application forms are to be lodged with the minister's department? Were these guidelines followed in relation to all of the Regional Partnerships projects for which funding has been announced?

Mr ANDERSON (Acting Prime Minister) —I thank the honourable member for his question. Broadly speaking, he has outlined the processes that apply when community groups want to apply for Regional Partnerships funding. However, I would make the point that this government, just like all political parties, does choose from time to time to make election commitments which are not necessarily—

Honourable members interjecting

Mr ANDERSON —You do; you did. You made a lot of them, and they were subject to no guidelines. Even Independents make commitments during an election campaign. Mr Speaker, there is nothing unusual or improper about that. You made commitments during the election campaign and so did we. For reasons of convenience and probity, many of those will be channelled through the expertise of the Regional Partnerships program section maintained in my department. Mr Speaker, I make the point again. You made election commitments and every political party, I suspect, for decades has done so. There is nothing wrong or improper about that.

The SPEAKER —Could I remind all honourable members that I would like remarks to be directed through the chair.