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Wednesday, 19 October 1983
Page: 1920

Mr KEOGH —Has the attention of the Minister for Finance been drawn to reports that the Queensland Government is in danger of running out of Supply? Is there any action which the Commonwealth Government can take through grants to the States to assist the functioning of the Queensland Government following the forthcoming election, particularly if a period of unstable government is the outcome of that election?

Mr DAWKINS —There have been suggestions that the Queensland Government may run out of funds as early as mid-November. This does create problems for any government elected after 22 October, given that on the occasion of the last election it took 37 days for the return of the writs. That would take a government somewhere into December at least. I think it is important to make the point that the Queensland Government is continuing to receive funds; that is, notwithstanding certain observations that have been made in the last day or two, the vast majority of Queenslanders are continuing to pay their taxes legally, whether they be Federal or State taxes. The point is that the Queensland Government is receiving funds. The difficulty is that the Parliament has not sat and has not been able to appropriate for the expenditure of those funds. This Government has, of course, been generous to Queensland as we have been generous to all State governments, although the Queensland Government has not shown an enormous-

Mr Lusher —Where do you get your money from?

Mr DAWKINS —Does the honourable member really want to have a discussion about this?

Mr SPEAKER —I invite the Minister to continue his answer. The honourable member for Hume should take great care.

Mr DAWKINS —Under the wage pause program the Queensland Government has still unspent $4.6m of the $15.9m which has been made available to it between February and June for job creation purposes. I also have to report that Queensland was the last Government to agree to the community employment program arrangements and it is now the only State not to have set up machinery to get the CEP off the ground. One of the difficulties in terms of any assistance which the Commonwealth might be able to give to Queensland would depend very much on the co-operation and the preparedness to co-operate of whichever government is elected after the 22nd. I am sure that if Queensland is, as I expect, led by a very co-operative Labor Government headed by Keith Wright we will be able to look at ways in which we might be able to assist the Queensland Government in relation to any short term problems which it might-

Mr Anthony —Are you going to discriminate against certain State governments?

Mr DAWKINS —No, it is not a question of discriminating. It is a question of whether the Government of Queensland is prepared to be co-operative. If it is prepared to be co-operative in a way in which the current Queensland Government has not been in respect of a number of Commonwealth programs, of course, we could continue to help.