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Wednesday, 27 September 1972
Page: 2041

Mr CREAN (Melbourne Ports) - by leave - I think the reason for this grant is understandable. But there are certain irregularities in doing it in this way. Because the New South Wales State

Budget is being introduced at 8 o'clock tonight the Commonwealth has to do this kind of thing to validate it. I should have thought that earlier notice could have been given of this grant so that honourable members could have considered the merits of it. After all, in his statement the Minister for Supply (Mr Garland) said that certain circumstances have arisen in New South Wales by reason of a number of special factors.

Mr Duthie - Did they not get enough from the poker machines?

Mr CREAN - That may be so. But I think that one State in particular which has special problems at the moment is Western Australia, by reason of the vast amount of unemployment which exists there. Some unscrupulous people suggest this is due to the fact that it has a State Labor Government. This kind of reasoning is quite wide of the facts. The circumstances in Western Australia are of particular seriousness. When I was there some fortnight ago I advocated that a special grant should be made to that State of SI 5m. Whether it was made by way of loan or a straight out grant is beside the point. But if some essential developmental works were to be undertaken in Western Australia they would make a lot of difference to the economic situation there. It seems to me that what is being done here this evening is a little bit political in context.

I suggest, again, that this is not the way to handle these milters. The House considered Bills last week dealing with special grants to States, both by way of additional reimbursement and loan funds that are payable without interest. I should have thought that this would have been the appropriate point for this special grant to have been made. I do not want to say anything more about it, but I think the circumstances are unusual. Again, it is indicative of the precipitous way in which this Government introduces measures which have particular bearing upon States that are Liberal dominated, but ignores the realities of States which have Labor governments.

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