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Tuesday, 23 November 1993
Page: 3408

Senator DEVEREUX —Is the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Sport and Territories aware of the criticism that the honourable member for Wide Bay, Mr Truss, made yesterday about the community cultural, recreational and sporting facilities program and, in particular, the grant made to the Brothers Rugby League Club in Mackay? Can the minister give any details regarding the level of community support for the grant to the Brothers Rugby League Club?

Senator SCHACHT —Yesterday in the House of Representatives, Mr Truss, the honourable member for Wide Bay, criticised the grant of $150,000 to the Brothers Rugby League Club of Mackay. He implied that this was made because the campaign director for the seat of Dawson is the Labor state member, Mr Ed Casey, and that this was a political donation.   As a result of that criticism, Mrs Kelly checked the level of community support that is available for this grant of $150,000. She has provided me with a sample of letters indicating this community's support. The first one, which is from former Senator Flo Bjelke-Petersen dated 9 September 1992, states:

I believe this aim is very worthwhile and the complex would be of great value to the Mackay district . . . I wholeheartedly support their application.

So former Senator Flo Bjelke-Petersen was willing to support the application that Mr Truss so strongly criticised yesterday. A letter from another member of parliament states:

My dear Minister,

  I have much pleasure in supporting the application for a grant by your Department to the Brothers Rugby League Club in Mackay to enhance their sporting facilities.

  I believe this will be of considerable benefit to the whole of the Mackay district and the community.

  I would be grateful if you gave it favourable consideration.

              Yours sincerely,

              Senator David MacGibbon.

The next letter of community support to Mrs Kelly states:

Dear Minister,

I write in support of the application by the Brothers Football Club Mackay, who are seeking assistance under the Community, Cultural, Recreation and Sporting Facilities Program.

This project represents a major improvement in facilities in Mackay and is an integrated recreational and sporting complex.

I have noted from the application that the Club has a large equity in the project, and the anticipated heavy involvement of local firms for the supply of materials and labour, is also noteworthy . . .

Yours sincerely,

Ray Braithwaite, M.H.R.

Federal Member for Dawson

A further letter from another member of parliament states:

I am a frequent visitor to the city of Mackay in the course of my electoral duties, and believe there is a genuine need for a complex of this nature. . . . I believe that improved facilities would certainly encourage even more Mackay people to become involved in sporting activities, to the overall benefit of the entire community.

I am sure you are well aware of the positive impact of sport on a community as it provides a productive alternative to boredom and idleness . . .

Yours sincerely,

Bill O'Chee.

The best one is always left to last. This letter was written to Mr Dwyer of the Brothers Rugby League Club. In part it states:

I am very pleased to support your application.

I am very well aware of the very strong sporting enthusiasm for which community in Mackay has always been renowned. . . . I have no hesitation in offering my personal support for your approach to the Commonwealth Government.

Yours sincerely,

Ian Macdonald.

I table the documents.