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Tuesday, 12 November 1985
Page: 1958

Senator SIBRAA —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Local Government and Administrative Services. How much did the Commonwealth Government lend to New South Wales for the Bathurst-Orange growth centre and the Macarthur growth centre? How much is now owing on each loan? Will the proposed restructuring of the growth centres recently announced by the New South Wales Government affect the arrangements for the repayment of these loans?

Senator GIETZELT —The Senate will recall that during the years 1972-75 the previous Labor Government initiated a number of growth centre proposals for Australia. Senator Sibraa has asked me about two of them in New South Wales. That policy was continued by the coalition Government. Between 1975 and 1978 the Commonwealth lent New South Wales $16.12m for Bathurst-Orange and $28.1m for Macarthur. That means that the total amount owing to the Commonwealth as at 15 June this year represents $110.5m spread over the two areas. That is $70.5m to Macarthur and $40m to Bathurst-Orange.

As Senator Sibraa has suggested, it has been arranged with the New South Wales Government that no moneys will be repaid to meet the repayment obligations of the State to the Commonwealth until such time as the growth centre produces an income commensurate with the amount of money owing on the loan. I understand that the restructuring announced by the State Minister for Industry and Decentralisation, Mr Eric Bedford, is currently being examined. I point out to Senator Sibraa and to the Senate generally that these arrangements do not in fact have an impact on the Commonwealth-State financial arrangements. We are currently awaiting the result of a reconsideration by Mr Bedford regarding the State's obligations in respect of these growth centres.