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Tuesday, 22 February 1977

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

The table read as follows-


Dr JENKINS -I thank the House. The last meeting of the Metropolitan Sectional Committee of the Municipal Association of Victoria passed the following resolution:

That this Association support the reintroduction of Federal funding for local government projects similar to the RED scheme; and further, that the Executive Committee investigate the feasibility of such a scheme and forward its findings to the Commonwealth; and at the same time taking into account experiences in supervision of previous schemes and the need for additional funds to cover that supervision.

I received an answer from the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Minister Assisting the Treasurer (Mr Viner). This is a quite lengthy letter and I do not have time to read it. In it the Minister throws some cold water on the type of


work that was done under previous schemes and insinuates that work done was of a make-work rather than of a productive nature. In his final paragraph he states:

The other point I would draw to your attention is that the Commonwealth provides substantial assistance to local government in the form of untied general purpose grants. This assistance is intended to supplement the resources of local authorities so as to ensure that local government has sufficient funds available to it to effectively carry out its functions.

On Monday night reports were presented to the City of Preston Council with regard to this matter. I will quote from one of the reports which states:

However, the Minister's statement of the works in previous schemes being of a mundane nature should be refuted.

Furthermore, the reference to the use of Council funds for unemployment works indicates the Minister's lack of knowledge of the financial commitments of Council and the responsibility for the expenditure of funds raised by Councils.

For Preston our 5 000 ratepayer pensioners would be contributing to a social welfare payment to the unemployed.

So the Council is persisting in its request. It is supported not only by the Municipal Association of Victoria but also by at least 62 of the municipalities around Victoria, many of which come from the electorates of Ministers. The electorate of the Prime Minister is included among those that said 'yes'.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER - Order! The honourable member's time has expired.

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