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Thursday, 11 November 1976
Page: 2595

Mr FitzPATRICK - My question is directed to the Prime Minister. I ask: What plans or projects does the Government have in mind to ensure continuing employment for those people in the Maryborough district affected by the Government's decision on Fraser Island? Does he accept this decision as a national responsibility and not one to be borne by a small section of the Australian community living near Fraser Island?

When, if at all, does he expect to have talks with State and local government representatives regarding projects for employment? Further, is he aware that an amount of almost $lm for unemployment relief schemes was paid out to local authorities last year, compared with nothing in 1976?

Mr MALCOLM FRASER - It has already been announced that the Government is prepared and willing to co-operate with the Queensland Government concerning investigations to promote further development of forestry and tourism and to examine the prospects of greater activity as a result of the construction of a water barrage, a project currently being advanced in the Maryborough area. The House will also recall that the export licences that were issued in relation to this matter were issued subject to the results of the inquiry. Therefore, companies proceeding with development, as they have, were doing so, to a certain degree, at risk. They were well aware of the risk involved.

The honourable gentleman has suggested that certain make-work schemes, such as the Regional Employment Development scheme, should be introduced again. Under the previous Administration, schemes such as this involved the expenditure of very large sums of money. They were abandoned as being ineffective. This Government is interested in real productive enterprise, not the kind of wasteful make-work projects promoted by the previous Government and abandoned because they were noted failures.

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