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Tuesday, 28 August 2001
Page: 30386

Dr STONE (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage) (4:25 PM) —Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.

Mr SPEAKER —Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Dr STONE —Yes, in two ways

Mr SPEAKER —Please proceed.

Dr STONE —In the House of Representatives Hansard and Votes and Proceedings from yesterday, Monday, 27 August, it is reported in the grievance debate that the member for Prospect had sent a piece of correspondence to me on 3 August 2000 that described Natural Heritage Trust applications from one of her constituent councils and that I had not responded to it. In fact, it was not 3 August 2000 that the correspondence was sent; it was 3 August 2001. I received it about four working days later; so it is in no way overdue in terms of a response. But, in any case, that correspondence on NHT applications has been sent on for consideration.

Secondly, the member for Prospect claimed that I and Minister Hill had been picking and choosing grant recipients based on whether or not they were in a Liberal seat. I would like to make the point that the Auditor-General, in report No. 42, which looked at previous allegations of this sort from the opposition, found that the proportion of NHT funding and the projects approved for coalition and Labor seats closely matched the proportion of the funding and projects recommended by the states and territories. So there was no evidence of bias in this allocation of funding.