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Auditor clears Federation Fund.



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Auditor Clears Federation Fund The Federal Government welcomes the Australian National Audit Office findings that all 40 of the major projects supported by the $1 billion Federation Fund met the selection criteria, comprehensively demolishing Labor's negative campaign against this important nation-building initiative.

The ANAO report on the Administration of the Federation Fund program was tabled today.

Its detailed analysis of the distribution of approved projects by electorate completely explodes the myths peddled by the Labor Party about alleged political favouritism.

The ANAO found that although the Coalition held 63.5 per cent of the electorates in the House of Representatives, only a little over half the number of approved projects, representing a little under 40 per cent of available funding, were in Coalition electorates.

In contrast, while Labor held 31.8 per cent of the electorates, 43.6 per cent of the number of approved projects, representing some 60 per cent of program funding, were in Labor electorates.

The ANAO noted that the process involved considerations of the national interest, which Ministers are best able to determine and that it is understandable that the Committee of Ministers approached the administration of the selection process in the way it did.

Most importantly, the report states that all 40 of the major projects approved under the Federation Fund met the selection criteria.

The ANAO also found that all decisions were taken before the start of the caretaker period and so did not breach the caretaker convention. Further, while the ANAO noted that the announcement of approved projects can be a sensitive issue, it is accepted that governments may choose the timing of announcements to suit their purposes having regard to other

priorities.

In relation to the on-going administration of Federation Fund projects, the ANAO found that the management of approved Federation fund projects by administering departments has generally been sound.

Given that the Federation Fund is unique and program funds have been fully committed the ANAO report does not make any recommendations. However the Government has noted the report's findings that a number of steps could be taken to enhance the outcomes of future programs of a similar nature.

19 September 2001 For further information contact Allison Brown 02 6277 7350

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