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Thursday, 10 February 2011
Page: 390


Mr GRAY (Special Minister of State and Special Minister of State for the Public Service and Integrity) (9:56 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2010-2011 provides additional funding to agencies for:

  • expenses in relation to grants to the states under section 96 of the Constitution, and for payments to the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory and local government authorities; and
  • non-operating purposes such as equity injections and the acquisition of administered assets.

The total additional appropriation being sought in Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2010-2011 is a little over $1 billion, the more significant amounts of which I now outline.

The government proposes to provide AusAID with the following amounts:

  • $202.6 million to maintain the loan component of Australia’s share in the International Development Association, the concessional lending arm of the World Bank, which aims to reduce poverty by providing interest-free credits and grants for programs that boost economic growth, reduce inequalities and improve people’s living conditions.
  • $10 million for the Global Agricultural and Food Security Program, created by the World Bank in 2009, which provides grants to developing countries and regional organisations that have demonstrated their commitment to a comprehensive approach for increasing agricultural growth and lasting improvements in food security.
  • $10 million for the Palestinian Reform and Development Trust Fund, which was established by the World Bank to provide a secure mechanism for donors to provide financial support to the Palestinian Authority. Australia has been contributing to the trust fund since 2008.
  • $12.2 million for the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, which replaces ageing, inefficient infrastructure and technology in order to accelerate the development of climate change resilient rice varieties to secure food supplies in Asia and elsewhere.

And $69.8 million will be brought forward from 2011-12 for the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations to meet contractual commitments of projects relating to the non-government schools component of the Building the Education Revolution program, which have been completed earlier than expected.

In addition, the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations will be provided with $48.3 million, which represents a reappropriation of amounts from last financial year, for the non-government schools component of the trade training centres program. Delays in the pre-construction and construction phases have resulted in delays in program payments to 2010-11. The reappropriation of these funds will ensure contractual obligations are met and sufficient funding is available to meet commitments.

The Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government will receive an additional $100 million as part of the government’s partnership with local government. The funding will contribute to improving community infrastructure in all of the nation’s councils and shires, including; libraries, community centres, and sports grounds and facilities. This is the third round of the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program and brings total funding for the program to more than $1.1 billion since November 2008.

In addition, the Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government will be provided with $30 million, which is a reappropriation from 2009-10 to meet project commitments under the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program. This funding is reappropriated because there was insufficient time after the government endorsement of the projects for recipients to progress their projects prior to 30 June 2010 and claim payments.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship will be provided with $152.8 million for the commissioning of two new immigration detention facilities to accommodate irregular maritime arrivals at Northam in Western Australia and Inverbrackie in South Australia.

In addition, the government will provide the Department of Immigration and Citizenship with $31.5 million, which is a reappropriation of amounts of last financial year for capital costs associated with upgrades and enhancements to essential amenities and security at immigration detention facilities for offshore asylum seekers. The funding was first published in the 2010-11 budget in measure ‘Immigration detention facilities—expanded accommodation’.

The government proposes to bring forward $150 million from 2013-14 for the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities for the Water for the Future package. The funding will be used to purchase water entitlements from willing sellers in the Murray-Darling Basin.

The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency will receive $52.9 million, which is a reappropriation of amounts from 2009-10 to meet capital commitments, including accommodation fit-out and capital costs related to new building lease, ICT projects and to purchase a satellite dish for climate change science activities.

The Department of Defence will be provided with $112.8 million to align its appropriations with its work program, including operations. This additional amount will be partly offset by a reduction in the defence department’s departmental appropriation.

The remaining amounts that appear in Appropriation Bill (No. 4) relate to estimates variations, minor reclassification and other minor measures.

I would like now to turn to the general drawing rights limits for nation-building funds, which specify the maximum limit on payments from the funds in the financial year exclusive of GST. The general drawing rights limits for the Building Australia Fund, the Education Investment Fund and the Health and Hospitals Fund proposed in this bill will replace the limits declared in Appropriations Act (No. 2) 2010-11. The limits for each of the funds have increased to reflect adjustments in timing of payments to better reflect project milestones and recently announced funding from the Health and Hospitals Fund for the Port Macquarie Base and Royal Hobart hospitals.

In addition, the general drawing right limit for general purpose financial assistance specifies the maximum limit for financial assistance payments made to the states in a financial year. The general drawing right limit proposed in this bill replaces the limit the declared in Appropriation Act (No. 2) 2010-11. The increase in the general purpose financial assistance general drawing right limit reflects the estimated increase in the amount of royalty payable to the Commonwealth under the Royalty Act 2010-11. The Commonwealth is required under section 75 of the Offshore Petroleum Greenhouse Storage Act 2006 to pay amounts of royalty collected to Western Australia based on a legislated formula.

I commend the bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Anthony Smith) adjourned.