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Friday, 16 August 1974
Page: 1083

Senator CAVANAGH (South AustraliaMinister for Aboriginal Affairs) - I wonder whether the sub-clause is properly understood and whether the amendment will not do the very thing that Senator Hall who moved the amendment seeks to avoid. I think he rightly pointed to the fact that this sub-clause has a relationship to clause 5. Sub-clause (9) states:

A Minister may-

(a)   Approve a variation or a program of projects approved by him;

(b)   Approve a variation of particulars of a project approved by him; and

(c)   Revoke an approval of particulars of a project approved by him.

Let us say that approval has been given for a project which involves constructing a road from A to B at a certain cost. Before the road is constructed the State Minister could make a request for some variation to or alteration of the project which would have the effect of somewhat reducing the cost. The Federal Minister for some reason- and it could be with the approval of the State- could revoke the approval for the construction of the road. Having approved of the expenditure of money for a project that is not required, to allow the expenditure of the grant to continue would simply permit the money to be used on something that has not been approved. After approval of a project has been granted a cheaper means of constructing roads could be found. You would not then expend money, for which approval has been given, on a more costly means of road construction. I think that this provision appears in most legislation. Treasury approves of the expenditure of money for approved projects, and the cost of the project is agreed upon. Sometimes approval of additional expenditure on a project is required. If you reach the stage where money is not required to be spent on a project after approval has been given for the expenditure of the money, can you then spend the money on something else? This is the normal procedure which Treasury adopts for protecting Commonwealth money. Sub-clause (2) of clause 5 states:

Moneys are payable to a State under sub-section ( 1 ) only to the extent that the Treasurer is satisfied that they are required by the State for the purpose of carrying out projects included in an approved program.

If it is an approved program, the Treasurer simply approves of the expenditure and the money is paid. If there is an over-estimation of the cost of a program, the money is not paid. That is all there is to it.

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