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Thursday, 2 June 2011
Page: 5818

Mr RANDALL (Canning) (11:26): Minister, I seek more light than heat on some of the issues I raise. I would like to bring to your attention that the feedback to me from my local RDA is that they believe they are terribly underfunded. In fact, since they morphed from an area consultative committee, the government has seemed to want to move away from them and has substantially defunded them. They were getting global funding of about $300,000 under the ACC. Now it has been reduced to something just over $200,000, about a 30 per cent reduction, and they are finding it very difficult to do their job. I put that on the record, and I would appreciate your response to that. It is an excellent regional development authority, I might say. It has applied for funding for two projects: the Pinjarra Bowling Club, for $900,000, and the Ocean Road Active Reserve and Recycled Wastewater Scheme, for $673,000. I would appreciate any update on the status of those applications.

Minister, we had your very good parliamentary secretary, Senator Farrell, in my electorate recently. The RDA, the local government authorities and a whole lot of other water entities put on notice to him that they would be applying for funding through your portfolio for a massive waste-water scheme called the Gordon Road waste-water scheme. As you know, in Western Australia it has been very, very dry. Alcoa, which gets 60 per cent of its world income from my electorate, has essentially run out of water to do its processing. Senator Farrell listened to that briefing, with a departmental officer. I hope that it is on the radar now, because the state government is considering support for it; so is the Royalties for Regions program. It ticks all the boxes in terms of efficient environmental use of what is basically sewage water, which would be turned into potable water for industrial use, for other organisations, such as turf clubs that are short of water for their tracks, and for irrigation in the Harvey region. Minister, I put this on your radar.

Finally, you mentioned the NBN. In my area, people are telling me that when they contact Telstra about greenfield sites and other sites that need connections, like industrial estates, they are being told that the NBN will not be there for eight years. So how can they do their business? That is more of a comment. I would appreciate a response, if possible, to the specific questions I have asked you.