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Thursday, 12 December 1996
Page: 7437

Senator KEMP (Assistant Treasurer)(11.15 p.m.) —I always seek to respond directly to the question you have. My advisers are currently preparing some notes for me which will allow me to respond. In the meantime, I can indicate that the government announced the funding of the START program in the budget. The government did provide in the budget $40 million in 1996-97 and $100 million over the following three years. That funding was announced in the budget.

Senator Cook —We know all about that.

Senator KEMP —Good. I think some senators are very interested in this. That is why I am spelling this out. The government will ensure that the funding is provided in full if the measures to abolish syndication are passed. The funding of $40 million in 1996-97 has already been provided. The further $300 million will be provided with the abolition of syndication. I think Senator Murray has shown considerable interest in the START program and we welcome that interest. I hope that addresses some of the concerns you had for the future.

In relation to the question that Senator Cook raised with me, I am advised that it is not a condition that an applicant has to give up rights to qualify. They do, however, have to forgo claims to syndication before the Commonwealth provides a grant of money.

Senator Cook —So they have to give up rights.

Senator KEMP —Don't jump the gun. This is consistent to prevent double dipping of benefits. I think you, Senator Cook, would be equally opposed to double dipping of benefits, as would the government.