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Thursday, 23 August 2001
Page: 30097

Mr TUCKEY (Minister for Forestry and Conservation and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister) (10:14 AM) —I move:

That the requested amendment be made.

The Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Account Bill 2001 establishes an account to which Commonwealth funding will be paid for the important work of the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation. The legislation arises from the agreement between the Prime Minister and Senator Meg Lees to make commitments regarding an amount equivalent to the difference between the excise collected on draught beer and the amount that would have been collected using the new rates prescribed under a new tax system.

The overall goal of the foundation is to provide support for community based programs that aim to reduce alcohol related harm in our communities. The foundation will also have a charter to target other illicit substances that are subject to abuse and cause harm such as petrol and other inhalants. We know that the abuse of alcohol and other inhalants leads to physical ill-effects in those abusing and can be associated with suicide attempts, antisocial behaviour and crime.

I thank Senator Lees for her role in bringing this initiative to fruition and I welcome the amendment moved by the Democrats in the Senate that will ensure the foundation receives the interest on moneys collected at the end of four years. The government supports this amendment. I thank all members and senators for the support they have expressed for the important objective and goals of this foundation. I am sure we all look forward to seeing the success and outcomes of the foundation's work in the coming years. I commend the bill to the House.