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Horne's Hunter hypocrisy.

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28 March 2000 M42/2000



Labor MP Bob Horne has shown gross inconsistency over his attacks on the Federal Government’s $10 million Newcastle Structural Adjustment Fund, Federal Regional Services Minister, Senator Ian Macdonald said today.

Mr Horne has persistently criticised the rate of spending from the Federal Government’s $10 million fund to help Newcastle in the wake of the BHP closure. Two months ago he called for an inquiry into the Newcastle Structural Adjustment Fund because only $4 million had been spent and an additional $5 million had been committed.

However, FOI documents provided to the NSW Opposition Leader Kerry Chikarovski today show that the NSW Labor Government has only spent $2.7 million of its promised $10 million Hunter Advantage Fund to date.

New South Wales Labor Minister for Hunter Development Richard Face today admitted that only around half of the NSW fund had been committed.

Senator Macdonald said that Mr Horne and his colleague Allan Morris should have been hounding their Labor mates in New South Wales about their underspending long before criticising the Federal Government’s assistance to Newcastle.

"Their criticisms of our programme have today been shown to have been taking hypocrisy to new height. The Howard Government scheme is around 90% committed and likely to produce around 744 direct jobs and 400 construction jobs in the short term and an estimated 4,000 jobs within the next couple of years."

"But, despite Bob Carr accusing us of dithering back in 1997, today we find out the NSW Labor scheme has only committed around half of the money promised," Senator Macdonald said.

"It sounds like Labor politicians dealing with assistance to the Hunter should actually sit down and swap a few notes between them before carping from the sideline," Senator Macdonald said.


Media Contact: David Moore: (07) 4771 3066 / (0417) 774 724