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Thursday, 22 March 2012
Page: 4024


Mr BURKE (WatsonMinister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities) (15:27): Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.

The SPEAKER: Does the honourable member claimed to have been misrepresented?

Mr BURKE: I do.

The SPEAKER: The honourable member may proceed.

Mr BURKE: In the same Auditor-General's report that was just referred to by the minister for community services, there was a claim that I made grants specific to my own electorate. There are two grants, one of which was made jointly by myself and Minister Garrett. The other was made by myself alone. The one that was made jointly by myself and Minister Garrett was a grant to the Sydney Metropolitan Catchment Management Authority, which actually covers all 26 electorates in Sydney and affects my electorate to the extent that my electorate is contained within Sydney, and no further.

The second grant, which is one which I made personally, is a grant which was when as agriculture minister I established 56 regional Landcare facilitators—

Mr Pyne: Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. The minister is clearly debating the issue. He is now debating the matter. The Auditor-General gave a finding. It was that these ministers were in breach. Each time a minister approves a grant in respect of their own electorate—

The SPEAKER: The minister will address where he has personally been misrepresented.

Mr BURKE: With the second grant I go specifically to the point of the extent to which this is a grant specific to my own electorate. The 56 natural resource management regions cover the entirety of Australia. Australia is divided up into 56 regions. Every one of these regions received a facilitator and that facilitator was funded. There was an advantage to my electorate to the extent that my electorate is contained within Australia, and no more.