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Wednesday, 16 March 1977
Page: 249

Mr FISHER (MALLEE, VICTORIA) -The Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations has a close and personal knowledge of the enormous cost and scale of rehabilitating the fire devastated properties and families in the western part of Victoria. Before restocking and production can begin properties have to be fenced and essential basic buildings restored. Will the Minister examine the feasibility of developing an employment scheme with the dual purpose of speeding up that reconstruction work and providing employment to a large number of potential workers?

Mr STREET (CORANGAMITE, VICTORIA) (Minister Assisting the Prime Minister in Public Service Matters) - I am aware of the concern that the honourable gentleman has for those of his constituents who have been gravely affected by the recent fires in Victoria. Indeed, all of those honourable members whose electorates have been so affected have expressed similar concern. I am also aware of the costs involved in rehabilitating farms, including the cost of fencing. As far as I can recall, this is the first time that this Government, in conjunction with the Victorian Government, has introduced a form of assistance to help people faced with the cost of restoring boundary fences abutting public roads and railway lines. That assistance will be of tremendous help at least in getting around the farms a perimeter within which stock can be held. As to the feasibility of developing an employment scheme around this program, the Government would have to look very closely at any proposals which involved a direct subsidy to private employment in one set of circumstances which may not be -

Mr Uren - Mr Speaker,I rise on a point of order. The Minister is supposed to be answering a question without notice but he is reading his answer.

Mr STREET - I will show the honourable gentleman what I am reading. There it is. Does he want to look?

Mr SPEAKER - There is no point of order involved in the matter raised by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. I call the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations.

Mr STREET - I was making the point that the Government would have to look very closely at any scheme which involved subsidising one particular set of employers in a certain set of circumstances which may not apply generally. Nevertheless, if the honourable gentleman would like to write to me giving details of his proposal we will have a look at it.

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