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Tuesday, 31 May 1994
Page: 919

Senator PANIZZA —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Transport. Will the minister explain why the government underspent $168 million on national rail construction in 1992-93, given that the commitment in the One Nation statement on 26 February 1992 was for an expenditure of $283 million in that year, while only $115 million was spent, according to the program performance statement presented with the budget last year? Will the minister indicate the current level of underspending, given that the $454 million provided in the One Nation statement was to have been spent by the end of the current financial year, which is in about 30 days time?

Senator COLLINS —I will take the question on notice.

Senator PANIZZA —Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Although the minister does not want to take the question seriously, while he is taking that one on notice, he can take the supplementary question on notice. The minister was the Minister for Transport at the time. The One Nation statement said that the government would create 6,100 jobs over two years. I would like to know then, because of the underspending, how many jobs were under-created? The minister can take that one on notice, too. How many jobs fewer than 6,100 were created?

Senator COLLINS —How many jobs were under-created?

Senator Panizza —Yes.

Senator COLLINS —One thing I do want to say is that, of course, I will take that highly detailed question on notice. But I am proud of the fact that I am a member of a Labor government which, after decades of neglect by conservative governments, will finally provide this country with a single gauge, single operator rail freight service from Brisbane to Perth.

Senator Gareth Evans —Mr President, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.