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Wednesday, 19 October 1983
Page: 1921

Mr LINDSAY —My question is directed to the Prime Minister who has proved himself to be such a true friend of Queensland people. Are the States co-operating with the Federal Government in introducing the community employment program?

Mr HAWKE —Yes, I can say that the States are co-operating with the Federal Government in introducing the community employment program, that is, with the exception of Queensland. Queensland has been allocated $41m under the community employment program. Over 100,000 people are unemployed in Queensland. Yet in those circumstances, with $41m having been made available under this program, Queensland stalled in even agreeing in principle to co-operate. It was rather an historic day when Queensland finally agreed in principle. That was 9 August when the Federal Cabinet went to Brisbane and the coalition collapsed in Queensland. But having agreed in principle to participate the Queensland Government stalled further on making appropriate nominations to the advisory committee under which the money will be disbursed.

I would suggest-I do not want to make a great thing of it-that in the interests of the people of Queensland in general and particularly those 100,000 unemployed that incompetence on the part of the Queensland Government simply is not good enough. Honourable members opposite will recall from when they were Ministers that this cavalier attitude of the Queensland Government was a mark of the previous decade when that Government stood off from accepting funds provided by the governments of different political persuasions in Canberra, funds which were made available to help the people of Queensland. The simple fact is that if there is not a change of government after 22 October, and we do not believe that that will be the case, the people of Queensland will again be the losers because there will be a continuation of the instability which is increasingly characterising the political affairs of that State at this time.