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Wednesday, 18 October 2017
Page: 7829

Senator CAROL BROWN (Tasmania) (11:09): I move opposition amendment (2) on sheet 8225:

(2) Clause 11, page 10 (line 21), paragraph 11(2) (c) to be opposed.

This amendment will remove the ministers' influence on directing the corporation about the eligibility criteria for loans and financial assistance. The independence of the corporation is critical when establishing the eligibility criteria for loans or financial assistance. The lack of detail about what loans and financial assistance will be provided by the corporation is concerning when we know that the current concessional loans take into consideration the viability of the farm enterprise. To ensure that the corporation is able to manage its lending criteria, the responsible ministers should not be able to give directions about eligibility criteria for loans or financial assistance.

Labor strongly urges senators to support the amendment to strengthen the independence of the corporation. Once again, I make reference to Minister Ruston, who compared the RIC to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. These two corporations are different in their objectives, and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation is independent in its own right, as opposed to the RIC, which is beholden to the ministers of the day.