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Wednesday, 6 May 1987
Page: 2716

Mr HURFORD (Minister for Community Services)(4.21) —I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

This Bill seeks interim appropriations, totalling $2,404.3m, for expenditure on capital works and services, payments to or for the States and the Northern Territory and certain other services for the period 1 July 1987 to 30 November 1987. The amount sought is $287.8m, or about 13.6 per cent, greater than that provided in the Supply Act (No. 2) 1986-87.

The main increases relate to:

$290m for payments to the States and the Northern Territory under the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement. The Government announced on 30 March 1987 that $700m is to be provided under this program in 1987-88, and the legislation to enable this is to be introduced in the Budget sittings;

$35.0m for general revenue assistance to the States and the Northern Territory; the increase primarily reflecting the change in the level of assistance to be paid to the Northern Territory in the form of its financial assistance grant. This grant is adjusted each year for price increases and the Northern Territory's population growth relative to the rest of Australia; and

$27.1m to meet additional quarterly payments to the States resulting from real injections of funding agreed to under the home and community care program.

Certain new provisions in respect of which government decisions have been taken have been separately itemised in the Bill in accordance with convention. The most significant of these are those items establishing the proposed revised funding arrangements for public housing activities in the Australian Capital Territory.

In the 1986-87 Budget context, the Government announced that action would be taken progressively to place Australian Capital Territory finances on a basis consistent with Commonwealth arrangements with the States. The items are necessary to assist in implementing alignment of the Australian Capital Territory public housing function with the Commonwealth-State Housing Agreement which is but one aspect of that decision. As indicated with respect to the Supply Bill No. 1, the provisions in this Bill do not anticipate decisions to be taken in the 1987-88 Budget context. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Connolly) adjourned.