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Thursday, 28 March 1985
Page: 968

Senator VIGOR —My question is directed to the Minister for Finance. I ask: What specific evidence does he or his Department have to suggest that rate collections by local government have not matched increases in property valuations? Does the Minister believe that State and Commonwealth bodies should remain exempt from paying rates? Does the Minister acknowledge that any opportunistic revision of tax sharing arrangements will play havoc with New South Wales local government budgets for the calendar year 1985? Is the Minister aware that the Victorian and New South Wales grants commissions have measured local government equalisation needs as being respectively about two and four times what is available for them to distribute? Finally, does the Minister regard the Advisory Council for Inter-government Relations as expendable despite its significant research effort?

Senator WALSH —Senator Vigor or, as I understand he is known in Adelaide, the bankrupt health studio-

The PRESIDENT —Order! The Minister should withdraw that remark.

Senator WALSH —I withdraw. Senator Vigor has asked a number of questions which are similar to the matters raised by Senator Peter Rae in the adjournment debate last night. I told Senator Peter Rae that I would get a response to him. I have got some notes from the Department, but I have not had a chance to go through them. They arrived during Question Time. I certainly will not be able to do it in Question Time and I probably will have to wait until the next session, but I will respond to Senator Peter Rae and that will encompass most, if not all, of the question Senator Vigor asked.