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Wednesday, 1 December 1976

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) asked the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, upon notice:

(   1 ) What was the date on which it was decided to discontinue the RED Scheme.

(2)   Was the decision taken at Cabinet level; if not, why not.

Mr Street - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

The previous Government, in the context of its 1975-76 Budget deliberations, decided to provide $I35m for the Regional Empolyment Development Scheme in that year. This necessitated a review of all projects approved after 30 June 1975 and of those approved before that date on which work had not begun. As a result of that review the Ministerial Committee, to whom responsibility for oversighting the Scheme had been delegated, decided on 10 September 1975 that:

(i)   the $135m provided in the Budget for the Scheme in 1975-76 should enable all projects already commenced, Le. on which unemployed workers had been engaged, to be continued within their approved financial allocation under the Scheme;

(ii)   the projects which had not already commenced should proceed now only in the small number of areas experiencing most severe unemployment. In general this would mean a local unemployment rate of twice the national rate;

(iii)   all other projects previously approved should not be funded, but that claims for any legitimate expenditure of moneys already incurred in relation to these projects would be considered sympathetically and speedily;

(iv)   no new requests for assistance under the Scheme would be accepted; and

(v)   no further cost escalation would be funded on projects other than in the most exceptional circumstances.

Shortly after it assumed office, the present Government, in its review of expenditure for 1975-76, decided that the Budget allocation of $ 135m should not be exceeded and that decisions taken by the former Ministers should continue to be applied.

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