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Thursday, 30 June 1994
Page: 2402


Senator WOODLEY (10.49 a.m.) —I thank Senator Patterson for that explanation. I am aware of a number of people who would be interested in having this matter referred to the rural and regional affairs committee at this time. However, for the sake of the record I would like to point out that, as I understand it, our amendments were circulated on Monday and had been sent to the shadow minister's office as early as a week ago last Wednesday.

  I am grateful that the coalition is willing to come on board with our concerns in this area. We believe that there is a real gap in the provision of services to farming families—one that could be met, as it is met for thousands of other families in this country, through the provisions of the Social Security Act—because of the accident that farming families who live on properties that have high value and yet have very low incomes are not able to access the help that is given to other families. We hope the coalition will not only support the reference but will also believe the evidence that is given through this process and will support the Australian Democrats in what has been for us a long campaign in seeking to have the amendments we are moving today accepted.

  I welcome the explanation by Senator Patterson; but I want to place on record the fact that I believe the amendments were circulated in time, and I hope the commitment given will be followed through.