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Friday, 3 December 1976
Page: 3220

Mr COHEN (ROBERTSON, NEW SOUTH WALES) -I ask the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations: In view of the fact that the Government appears to have rejected any reintroduction of the Regional Employment Development scheme, will the Minister give consideration to subsidising local government works up to 25 per cent of the total cost, provided that adequate guarantees are available to ensure that these works are extra and not part of the council's or shire's normal or planned program? I suggest the figure of 25 per cent because I estimate that this would be the amount of government expenditure provided through the saving of unemployment benefit. So the actual cost to the government would be nil or very close to nil.

Mr STREET (CORANGAMITE, VICTORIA) (Minister Assisting the Prime Minister in Public Service Matters) - The honourable member was very diligent in the interests of his electorate in obtaining funds through the Regional Employment Development scheme. Whatever one may think of that scheme, the honourable member has made a most interesting analysis of it, and that is at present under study in my department. The suggestion that the honourable member has just made is an interesting one. A great deal of work has been done overseas and in Australia on the question of job subsidy paid to employers and on the extent to which subsidies can be paid and still show a net benefit on the work done. The honourable member has made an original suggestion along these lines. I cannot confirm the percentage that he quoted and it may well be that the feasibility of what he has suggested hinges on the accuracy of that figure of 25 per cent. Certainly it is an interesting suggestion. I shall ensure that the text of the question and the answer is brought to the attention of my department and we will give consideration to it.

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