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Government neglect grounds space port.

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Senator Kim Carr

Labor Senator for Victoria Shadow Minister for Industry, Innovation, Science & Research Press Release 04/03/04

Government neglect grounds space port

More Government mismanagement of the Christmas Island space port was revealed today, casting the future of the project into further doubt.

Under the Government’s deal with the Asia Pacific Space Centre the prospect of a rocket launch is virtually nil. Very serious questions were raised in the Senate today about the propriety of the Cabinet processes that led to the awarding of the $100 million project grant.

Labor has always supported a space industry and associated research. But this does not justify shoddy Government management.

The Government must now answer a number of critical questions:

• Did the Government conduct a due diligence process prior to signing the contract with the company that was meant to build the centre, APSC? • Were appropriate conflict of interest declarations made before Cabinet consideration of this grant? • Why wasn’t there isn’t a schedule of works in the contract so that progress

could be measured? • Did Mr Minchin’s departmental officials misrepresent the nature of the Government’s relationship with APSC in critical meetings with the Russians? • Why has the Government locked the Australian people into this deal until

December 2005, irrespective of progress made?

To date the Government has very little to show for this contract, which is the centrepiece of its much-vaunted space program.

Labor is gravely concerned that the Government’s involvement in this project is not above board.

Further information: Kim Carr 0419 563 922, Catriona Jackson, 0410 522 262. Electorate Office: 62 Lygon St CARLTON SOUTH 3053 Ph: 03 9639 2798 Fax: 03 9639 3109

Canberra Office: Parliament house CANBERRA ACT 2600 Ph: 02 6277 3730 Fax: 02 6277 5911 Email: Toll Free Number: 1800 673 169