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Thursday, 18 May 1972
Page: 2750

Mr COLLARD (KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. Has the Government any firm terms on which it provides financial assistance towards drought relief in pastoral areas? If so, is the extent of Commonwealth assistance merely a reimbursement of what a State itself spends on relief or may the Commonwealth provide some additional assistance? In either case is there a minimum amount which a State must spend before the Commonwealth will make any contribution, and if so, what is that minimum? Finally, do the terms of relief apply equally in all States or are some States treated differently, and if so, which are those States and what is the difference?

Mr McMAHON There is a formula generally agreed to by the States that each State shall have the responsibility of making appropriations up to a specific amount and that over and above that amount the Commonwealth will take responsibility. This applies to each State, but naturally the capacity to pay differs for each State. Consequently, the basic amount for which the State is responsible is different for each State and the balance which has to be paid by the Commonwealth for each State is different as well. If the honourable gentleman has a specific problem relating to Western Australia he should know that the Labor Government in that State has not made any approach to the Commonwealth up to the present. That is to say, as far as J am aware it had not made any approach up to the time I came into the House. If that State wishes to do so, of course, it has the capacity to do it.

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