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Thursday, 1 April 1971

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for Air) - As has been stated before, all States have now accepted in principle the Commonwealth offer on the basis of loans totalling $75m at 6 per cent interest and $25m as grants. However, at present the States are studying a draft agreement. Four States have given their views on the draft agreement. Western Australia, my home State, has offered particular comments. I believe that South Australia has not yet replied. It is hoped that when all the States have replied it will be possible before the end of this sessional period to introduce the relevant legislation into the House. I point out to Senator Young, as I pointed out to Senator Prowse last week, that at present moneys up to $804,000 are available to the South Australian Government under the Commonwealth Loan (Farmers Debt Adjustment) Act. As is the case in Western Australia, in South Australia there may be a need to amend the State legislation. It has always been the intention of the Commonwealth that such unexpended funds should be used before funds for rural reconstruction are advanced by the Commonwealth. As to the use of further funds the Minister for Primary Industry has stated that when the scheme is operating, in the light of the experience gained it will be reviewed from time to time. If there is a need for further funds to be advanced, the matter will be examined.

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