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Wednesday, 4 May 1994
Page: 266

(Question No. 1222)

Senator Ian Macdonald asked the Minister representing the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Human Services, upon notice, on 15 March 1994:

  With reference to appendix A to the Evaluation of the Local Capital Works Program—Fiscal Stimulus and Contribution to Community Infrastructure, prepared by the Centre for International Economics and dated December 1993, which contains a description of all Local Capital Works Projects and each Queensland Council which received money:

  (1) What formulas and figures were used for allocating specific grants to each council to demonstrate in each instance how the actual figure of the grant was calculated by reference to the components that were taken into account to arrive at the final figure.

  (2) Do the requirements of the program provide that once an amount had been determined for a particular council, it was then entirely up to the council to determine on what projects that total sum was spent.

  (3) Please detail instances where councils had submitted projects up to the total value of the grant made to them, but these projects were rejected by the State Advisory Committee.

  (4) Given that the Guidelines for Applicants for the Local Capital Works Program indicated that once State Advisory Committees had assessed applications from councils, the proposals were sent to the Commonwealth Office of Local Government in Canberra for final approval by Commonwealth Ministers, please indicate and identify those proposals submitted by State Advisory Committees that did not receive final approval by Commonwealth Ministers.

Senator Bolkus —The Minister for Housing and Regional Development has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

  (1) The Guidelines for the Local Capital Works Program which were available from the time the program was announced in combination with the paper Area Selection and Funding Distribution Methodology contain the answer to this question. I refer the honourable senator to Appendices 1 and 5 of the December 1993 Evaluation of the Administration of the Local Capital Works Program.

  (2) No. All eligible councils submitted proposed projects to the level of their total program allocation to State Advisory Committees for their consideration and those Committees in turn made recommendations for approval to Commonwealth Ministers. If a State Advisory Committee had concerns about a proposed project, the Committee asked the council to modify that proposal or submit another proposal.

  (3) As part of the development of the Local Capital Works Program, the Commonwealth funded facilitators in State Local Government Associations to liaise with councils to develop project proposals. In many cases draft project proposals were discussed and modified before they were put to State Advisory Committees.

  In the case of Queensland the following project proposals were formally rejected by the State Advisory Committee because they did not meet Commonwealth funding criteria:

  Hervey Bay—Office Procedures Training Program ($90,000 Commonwealth grant requested);

  Beaudesert—Asset Management Water and Sewerage Department ($25,000 Commonwealth grant requested);

  Beaudesert—Digital Capture of Council Minutes for Text Retrieval System ($50,000 Commonwealth grant requested);

  Beaudesert—Health Research and Records Upgrade ($25,000 Commonwealth grant requested);

  Gold Coast—Geographical Information System ($990,000 Commonwealth grant requested); and

  Gold Coast—Pavement Management System ($81,000 Commonwealth grant requested).

  (4) The general procedure adopted was that Commonwealth Ministers considered projects recommended for approval by State Advisory Committees. In Queensland no projects recommended for approval by the State Advisory Committee were rejected by Commonwealth Ministers.

  However, two project proposals from the Gold Coast Council which were rejected by the Queensland State Advisory Committee, were referred to Commonwealth Ministers at the council's insistence. Ministers confirmed the Committee's rejection of the two proposals. The projects, neither of which met program guidelines, were:

  Pavement Management System ($81,000): the project involved capturing and entering data into a pavement management system; and

  Geographical Information System ($990,000): the project involved building a data base for management of council infrastructure.