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Thursday, 9 June 1994
Page: 1625


Senator COOK —Mr President, I apologise for not being quick enough, but there was a little confusion at the conclusion of question time.


The PRESIDENT —Order! I am sure that Senator Kemp does not mind waiting.


Senator COOK —I am sure that every dog has his day and Senator Kemp will have his.


Senator Hill —Mr President, on a point of order. Will you ask the minister to withdraw that offensive remark?


Senator COOK —I withdraw. On 6 June, Senator Woodley asked me a question without notice, in my capacity as the Minister representing the Treasurer, concerning the Industry Commission inquiry into charitable organisations. I have been provided by the Treasurer with an answer. The primary source of input to the inquiry is written submissions. All interested parties, including those from rural and remote areas, have equal capacity to submit written submissions. The deadline for making submissions was extended by two weeks to help those having difficulties completing submissions. About 400 submissions have been received, demonstrating the strong level of public participation.

  With respect to Townsville, only a very small number of individuals or organisations from Townsville—a total of six—expressed interest in the inquiry and an even fewer number, three or four, expressed interest in possibly appearing at a hearing in Townsville. On this basis, it was decided to hold an additional day of hearings in Brisbane where there was very significant interest, rather than proceed with the planned hearing in Townsville.

  All those who expressed interest in appearing at a hearing in Townsville were advised and invited to appear at the Brisbane hearings. At least one group, the Burdekin Association, has taken up this offer. Other non-metropolitan groups, such as the Queensland Country Womens Association, are also appearing in Brisbane. In addition to public hearings, the inquiry has visited a large number of organisations in all states, including a significant number in non-metropolitan areas where hearings are not being held. Additional visits are also planned.