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Wednesday, 12 October 1983
Page: 1684

Mr HURFORD (Minister for Housing and Construction)(7.24) —in reply-I thank the honourable member for Dawson (Mr Braithwaite), the honourable member for the Northern Territory (Mr Reeves) and the honourable member for Maribyrnong (Mr Griffiths) for their contributions. I know that the honourable member for Stirling (Mr Ronald Edwards), the honourable member for Bendigo (Mr Brumby) and others wanted to take part in this debate but owing to time being taken on other matters earlier in the day the program did not allow them to do so. I think it is fair to say that the contribution of the honourable member for Dawson was mainly political rhetoric. There was not really much of substance to which I can reply.

One of his points related to the allocations to local government. I have to point out that the local government appropriation is increasing by 8.2 per cent in the current year, as against the 7.5 per cent expected rate of inflation. So there is an increase in real terms. In recent years there has been a very large increase in the appropriation by the Parliament for local government. We are hopeful that indeed the standards that local government can give the people will be able to be not only maintained but also improved.

The honourable member for the Northern Territory is to be congratulated on his speech to the Parliament. The way he pointed out the sort of extravagance that is going on in the Northern Territory on the part of the local Country Liberal Party Government has to be heard to be believed. I also would like to say more about the contribution of the honourable member for Maribyrnong because he quite rightly focused on the great need for housing, on how indeed this Hawke Labor Government is improving the allocations for public housing. The States (Works and Housing) Assistance Bill 1983 makes concessional money available to the States for public housing. We hope that that money will be used much more markedly by the various State governments than has happened in the past. We expect the amount to be spent on public housing to lift to about $1.2 billion this year. So far, people have only focused on the magnificent lift from the miserable $333m of the Fraser Government in the last financial year to the $500m provided this year. To that figure we have to add wages pause money. We have to add nominated funds from the loan program at the concessional interest rate of 4 .5 per cent. I commend both these Bills to the House.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Message from the Governor-General recommending appropriation announced.