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Clean up regional programs: the parliament demands it.

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HON. SIMON CREAN MP 31 October 2006

Federal Labor Shadow Regional Development Minister


Last night’s Senate Estimates hearings show the Government continues to ignore reforms to prevent continuing rorting and pork barrelling of funds for regions.

Mark Vaile must act to reform regional programs and act on the recommendations of the Senate Inquiry made one year ago:

• The Senate recommended that the Special Opportunities Notional Allocations Guidelines (SONA) be abolished, as they allow Ministers to make secret decisions on projects, without going through the proper processes.

But the Government has kept them in place, allowing them to rort the program.

• The Senate also recommended changes to the Sustainable Regions program guidelines, but the Government has not acted on this recommendation.

• And, Regional Patnerships, the most rorted program, has only adopted some of the Senate’s recommendations.

Australia’s regions deserve much better.

Labor supports Regional Partnerships and Sustainable Regions programs and will adopt all of the Senate recommendations to ensure the highest standards of transparency and accountability.

Regions welcome the availability of funds but they don’t want the politics.

Labor will support local solutions which stack up, not just projects favoured by the National Party chain of command.

Labor will establish Regional Development Australia to expand the role of the Area Consultative Committees and give regional communities a real say in their own future.

Contact: Louise Godwin (02) 62774911 or 0438 773 842