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REGIONAL AUSTRALIA—REGIONAL PARTNERSHIPS PROGRAM—PEEL HEALTH CAMPUS

Senator Cormann, pursuant to notice of motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved general business notice of motion no. 237—That the Senate—

 (a) notes:

  (i) that in September 2007, the Howard Government provided $502 700 in funding towards the establishment of a much-needed paediatric ward at the Peel Health Campus under the Regional Partnerships Program,

  (ii) the significant efforts made by the local community in raising $2.4 million in funding through raffles, fund raising and other community events to raise the total project cost of $3.8 million (including building and capital equipment),

  (iii) that the Western Australian Government committed to providing $750 000 in funding towards this project,

  (iv) the Rudd Labor Government's shambolic approach to this very meritorious Regional Partnerships Project having:

   (A) initially halted funding for the Peel Health Campus paediatric ward as part of its blanket decision to end all funding under the Regional Partnerships Program,

   (B) then, in the face of a major public outcry, agreed to re-examine projects that had already been approved,


   (C) then, on 29 May 2008 reinstated funding to the Peel Health Campus subject to the project meeting certain conditions, and

   (D) then, by letter dated 1 August, cruelly cancelled funding for the paediatric ward at Peel Health Campus again, claiming that the local project proponents had not complied with all the bureaucratic requirements, even though those had not been properly communicated,

  (v) that communications between the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government and the Peel Health Campus at no point revealed any obstacles that would stop the contracts being signed before the cut-off date of 31 July 2008,

  (vi) that as at 31 July 2008 the contracts were not signed and the Peel Health Campus Trust was informed by letter, dated 1 August 2008, that their application had been rejected, and

  (vii) the Rudd Government's attempts to hide behind cold bureaucratic stone walling claiming that its outrageous decision was based on:

   (A) concern over management of the building contract for the project, even though this issue had been resolved in early July, and

   (B) concern that a funding commitment of $330 000 from a third party (the Variety Club) was not finalised by 30 June 2008, even though the project had sufficient funding from other contributors and was never dependant on the Variety Club funding; and

 (b) calls on the Rudd Government immediately to reinstate its share of funding for the much needed paediatric ward at the Peel Health Campus to the agreed level of $502 700 so that the children of the rapidly growing Mandurah region will not have to continue to be treated in adult wards.

Question put and passed.