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Tuesday, 4 October 1983
Page: 1314

Question No. 54


Mr McVeigh asked the Minister for Primary Industry, upon notice, on 4 May 1983:

(1) Is it a fact that many areas of Australia, particularly in the eastern States, are into their 3rd and 4th year of drought.

(2) If so, has the Government carried out its election promise to eliminate the annual base expenditure levels by a State after 2 years of continuous drought.

(3) If not, why not.


Mr Kerin —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1), (2) and (3) Some areas of Australia, particularly in the eastern States, were experiencing their 3rd and 4th year of drought when drought breaking rains began falling last autumn and the need for drought relief eased. Since then the Government has authorised a review of the existing Natural Disaster Relief Arrangements-NDRA-between the Commonwealth and the States. This review, which will be undertaken by the Department of Finance in consultation with Departments of Prime Minister and Cabinet and Primary Industry as well as the relevant authorities in each State and the Northern Territory, is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

In addition, the Australian Agricultural Council agreed in August to establish a National Drought Consultative Committee, comprising representatives of the Commonwealth and State Governments and relevant primary industries, to review and develop appropriate policies for drought relief in future.

The matter raised by the honourable member will be considered in the context of these two reviews.