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Wednesday, 19 March 2008
Page: 1217

Senator CARR (Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research) (9:39 AM) —Once again, I will do my best to answer the questions. As I am sure the senator is only too readily aware, I am representing the minister here today. The advice I have is that the definitions of the bill are not prescriptive. The word ‘include’ is used to highlight that. There are in fact two areas, and there is provision within that definition to cover social infrastructure issues. Further, there is a reference within that definition to further investment to ‘materially improve national productivity’. That is, again, a broader concept than purely that described by transport, energy, communications or water.

In regard to the issue of representation on the board, I am advised that Infrastructure Australia’s board will be made up of representatives from local, state and national governments. In terms of the provisions, the Commonwealth Labor government has said that the issue of Indigenous representation will be dealt with in that manner. It is not just Indigenous people who are not specified in terms of membership of the board; there are many other categories of people who were equally not specified in this legislation. It is up to the process of dialogue between the representatives of different levels of government to ensure that the board is able to fulfil those functions. A whole range of people is needed to make up a body such as this. In essence, it is to deal with both public and private provision of infrastructure across Australia.