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Wednesday, 11 May 1994
Page: 676


Senator BOSWELL (Leader of the National Party of Australia) (6.27 p.m.) —I would like to raise some matters concerning amendment No. 5. I would like a couple of assurances from the minister. This amendment came about because of the $45,000 resettlement fund given to farmers who have had to move from their property. Some receivers, particularly in Queensland, have made a claim for the $45,000 that the government has given farmers to exit.

  The $45,000 was to try to help farmers re-establish themselves in a house away from the farm. It was never intended to be included as part of the main debt. In Queensland there have been 12 cases where receivers have tried to move in on the $45,000. I am not sure whether they have yet been successful but there are some cases afoot. I raised this matter with Senator Collins a number of times in estimates committee hearings. He gave us an assurance then that he would take this matter up and urgently move an amendment or legislation, and he has done it by way of amendment. I thank him for that. He has been as good as his word and the amendments have come through at the earliest possible time. Senator Collins's press release states:

. . . the proposed amendments would include a provision giving retrospective protection to farmers who have received a grant but are not yet subject to bankruptcy action. Retrospectivity would be made effective from the date of this public announcement.

The assurances I am seeking are that this legislation will be retrospective and that the amendment will cover the grants under the 1990 RAS act.