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Thursday, 20 June 1996
Page: 1946

Senator FAULKNER —My question is directed to Senator Hill, the Minister for the Environment. Minister, noting the information you gave to the Leader of the National Party in the Senate, Senator Boswell, earlier in question time, I ask: can you now explain to the Senate why you have agreed to allow the Department of Primary Industries and Energy to be the sole administrator of the $195 million allocated to the Murray-Darling 2001 project and the national land and water resources audit? And, minister, why is it that only one of the five capital projects announced in your environment policy is to be administered by the department of the environment?

Senator HILL —That is not correct, for a start. If the extra funding for the Murray-Darling were to be administered by the department of primary industry, that should not surprise you because, under your regime, the existing funding was administered by the department of primary industries. What are you coming in here and suggesting now?

Honourable senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT —Order! Stop the clock. We will wait for some silence. I now call Senator Faulkner.

Senator FAULKNER —My supplementary question is this: now that the government has decided that the environment department would be responsible for, at the most, only 46 per cent of the natural heritage trust funds, aren't you the one and only minister in the government to have been comprehensively rolled by Senator Boswell and the National Party?

Honourable senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT —Order! Hold the clock again. I now call Senator Hill.

Senator HILL —I take it Senator Faulkner is now agreeing with what I said about the Murray-Darling. He is conceding the first point. The second point is that I am now hoping he has read our natural heritage trust bill, and that is very promising because at least the opposition is starting to focus on some of the programs—the revegetation program, the Murray-Darling, the coast and clean seas, and the national reserve. Thirdly, in relation to the trust fund, you are wrong.