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Friday, 25 May 1973
Page: 2694


In sub-clause (4) (b) after the word 'Minister', insert the words, 'and to the appropriate Minister of the State concerned'.

This amendment relates to sub-clause (4) of clause 18 which provides that where the Minister refers an application to the Grants Commission then, firstly, the Commission:

.   . shall afford the Treasurer, the Minister for Urban and Regional Development and the appropriate Minister of the State concerned an opportunity to make submissions to it . . .

That part is all right, but the Bill then goes on to provide in sub-clause (4)(b):

Subject to paragraph (a), the Commission shall inquire into the application or matter in such manner as it sees fit and report to the Minister on the application or matter.

As the clause stands, this would require the Grants Commission to report to the Minister who is the Special Minister of State (Senator Willesee) on the application or matter and this report would not go to the appropriate State Minister in the State concerned.

The Opposition takes the view that, again in the spirit of this recognition of the primary responsibility under the constitution of the States for local government matters, it is proper that, having been consulted in the matter of approving regions and referring applications to the Commission, they should at least be told what has happened. If these words are not inserted, the report will be made bythe Commission and the appropriate State Minister will not be told what has happened, unless and until of course the Federal Minister of State decides either by way of tabling the report and mentioning it in the House or by making some public statement at a Press conference or otherwise, to indicate what the result of the decision has been. The Opposition believes that it is proper and will present no difficulty for the Federal Government that, having been involved in the consultations in the matter, when the result comes and the report is made, at least the appropriate State Minister should be supplied with a copy of the decision.

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