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Thursday, 14 November 2013
Page: 328

Carbon Pricing

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (14:12): My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development. If he is concerned about the financial position of Mackay Regional Council, why has he made the decision to withdraw the grant for community infrastructure of $411,484 that was included in the budget, announced at the Australian Local Government Association in June and welcomed by him at the time but ripped out after the election?

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: If the people on my left would be quiet we will hear an answer.

Mr TRUSS (Wide BayDeputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development) (14:13): During the election campaign and in the lead-up to the election campaign, the Labor Party made almost 1,000 promises to fund projects across Australia. Of 1,157 projects that Labor announced under its regional development program, 1,012 were not contracted—they were empty election promises.

Mr Albanese: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order, on relevance. It was a very specific question that requires a very specific answer from the Deputy Prime Minister.

The SPEAKER: I accept that the change we made to the standing orders requiring direct relevance has meaning. Therefore, I would ask the Deputy Prime Minister in his answer to be directly relevant to grants.

Mr TRUSS: Nine hundred and ten of the projects that were announced and uncontracted were to councils, the local councils under this program, the regional development program. Round 5 was all to councils.

The SPEAKER: I will call the member for Grayndler, but you may only have one point on relevance.

Mr Albanese: Madam Speaker, now the Deputy Prime Minister is defying your ruling, when you indicated to him—

The SPEAKER: No, there is no point of order.

Mr Albanese: very clearly that he needed to be directly relevant to the very specific question.

The SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

Mr TRUSS: That 910 included the project for the Mackay Regional Council that the honourable member refers to. So Labor had announced these projects, but none of them were contracted. None of them had even been reviewed by the department and assessed for their merit.

The reality is we have our own election commitments and we will honour our election commitments. But I have never known a government to be expected to honour the election commitments made by the opposition side. They were not elected. Haven't they figured it out yet? They were not elected. The voters voted for our commitments and we will honour the commitments we have made.