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Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Page: 2208

Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongMinister for Financial Services and Superannuation and Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) (19:54): Appropriation Bill (No. 4) provides additional funding to agencies for payments direct to local government and some National Partnership payments through the states, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory; requirements for departmental equity injections; and requirements to create or acquire administered assets and to discharge administered liabilities.

The total additional appropriation being sought in Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2011-2012 is a little over $341 million, the more significant amounts of which I now outline.

The Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport will be reappropriated $53 million of funds directed to local governments and regional development. This reappropriation, in part, will be used to offset the amounts provided to the department earlier in the year through the Advance to the Finance Minister mechanism.

The government will provide $29 million of capital funding for the establishment of the Clean Energy Regulator which, as outlined in the second reading speech for Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2011-2012, will administer the carbon-pricing mechanism.

The Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations will be provided with $37 million. This is a result of a transfer of $50 million from Appropriation Act (No. 1) 2011-2012 for the Reward for Great Teachers program, offset by payments to government schools that have been transferred to the Department of the Treasury.

The Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education will provide a $25 million loan to Howe and Co. Pty Ltd and its parent company Howe Automotive Ltd. The loan is to be fully repaid over 10 years with annual interest and principal payments. The provision of this loan and its subsequent repayment have no impact on the government’s fiscal balance but affect the composition of the government’s assets.

The remaining amounts that appear in Appropriation Bill (No. 4) relate to estimates variations, minor reclassifications and other minor measures.

I would now like to turn to the general drawing right limits for the nation-building funds, which specify the maximum limit on payments from the funds in a financial year exclusive of GST. The general drawing rights limits for the Building Australia Fund, the Education Investment Fund and the Health and Hospitals Fund proposed in this bill will replace the limits declared in Appropriation Act (No. 2) 2011-12.

The limits for the Building Australia Fund and the Health and Hospitals Fund have been increased. The limit of the Education Investment Fund has been decreased. These changes recognise adjustments in the timing of payments to better reflect project milestones and previously announced funding.

The remaining amounts that appear in Appropriation Bill (No. 4) relate to estimates variations, minor reclassifications and other minor measures.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.

Ordered that this bill be reported to the House without amendment.

Sitting suspended from 19:5 8 to 20:1 7