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Thursday, 5 December 1974
Page: 4794

Mr Snedden asked the Prime Minister upon notice:

(   1 ) Were literary grants from the Australian Council for the Arts initially intended for announcement in July.

(2)   If so, what are the reasons- for the delay that occurred in the announcement of the grants.

(3)   When is it expected that those writers selected to receive grants will receive the money due to them.

(4)   Is it intended that literary grants should be received so late in the year.

(5)   If not, what steps does he intend to take to ensure that the grants will be available earlier in future.

Mr Whitlam - The answer to the right honourable member's question is as follows:

(   1 ) Early this year, the Board expected that the first list of successful applicants could be announced in July.

(2   ) The Literature Board 's timetable was adjusted when it was found that the number of applications was so large that the applications could not be adequately processed by July. Moreover five changes in Board membership occurred on 1 July and all of the decisions in this area were left to the newly constituted Board.

(3)   Writers selected for fellowships will receive their first monthly payment early in January 1975, if they choose to take up their awards in that month. Lump sum payments of grants for special purposes will also be made by that time. Earlier payments can be arranged in urgent cases.

(4)   The Board's intention is to give writers as much flexibility in these arrangements as possible, provided that the necessary funds are available at a particular time.

(5)   The Literature Board is reviewing its procedures in the light of the experience it has gained and in view of the unexpectedly high degree of public interest shown in its programs of assistance for Australian writers.

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