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Thursday, 27 March 2014
Page: 3321


Mr TRUSS (Wide BayDeputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development) (09:01): I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

The Railway Agreement (Western Australia) Act 1961 established an agreement to allow the Commonwealth to provide a long-term loan to Western Australia to undertake construction of a standard-gauge railway, primarily from Kalgoorlie to Perth.

The purpose of the Railway Agreement (Western Australia) Amendment Bill 2014 is to amend the Railway Agreement (Western Australia) Act 1961 to allow Western Australia to pay the outstanding balance of the loan from the Commonwealth, some $1.6 million, should they choose to do so. The bill also provides for the repeal of the act 28 days after the repayment is made.

This government is committed to reducing red tape through its deregulation agenda.

The government is working with state and territory governments to deliver on reducing the regulatory burden to grow Australia's productivity.

The bill enables the early repayment of the loan to the Western Australian government for standardisation of the railway from Kalgoorlie to Perth.

This change is necessary as the act currently does not allow for early repayment of the loan, with the final payment scheduled for 2041. Once the loan is repaid there will be some minor administrative efficiencies from the cessation of the administration of the act.

There are no outstanding claims under the act and consequently it should be repealed.

The amendments to the act do not have any regulatory or financial impacts on businesses and the not-for-profit sector.

The amendments in this bill will help to streamline early repayment from Western Australia to the Commonwealth for loans that date back to the 1960s. I commend the bill to the House.

Debate adjourned.