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Monday, 22 November 1993
Page: 3311

Senator TIERNEY —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Sport and Territories. I refer to the Auditor-General's report on the cultural and sporting facilities program. Why was most of the $30 million in operating grants given out before the last election made directly by Mrs Kelly's office and not by the department?

Senator SCHACHT —Because they were made in accordance with the rules laid down for the program. Those rules are clearly stated in the Auditor-General's report. It is quite clear from those rules and guidelines that electorates with lower socioeconomic profiles, electorates in regional areas and so on would get precedence under those guidelines, which have been made available and published for a long time.

Senator TIERNEY —Mr President, I have a supplementary question. Of course, that does not answer what I asked the minister. I asked why they were made directly from Mrs Kelly's office and not from the department. I further ask the minister why the Auditor-General could not find any records of the reason for each of the decisions.

Senator SCHACHT —As I understand it, Mrs Kelly has responded to the Auditor-General's report by indicating that she will cooperate and by announcing that there will be a review of the program. She has taken on board the report from the auditor's office, and that review will go through the matters that Senator Tierney has raised.