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Wednesday, 18 October 2017
Page: 7833

Senator RUSTON (South AustraliaAssistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources) (11:31): There are a number of points that I'll try and clarify from the comments that you have just made. First of all, to put this on the record: Orange has a series of quite unique characteristics that make it a particularly ideal location in terms of creating a critical mass of infrastructure in relation to agriculture in a regional community. I'm assuming you are not suggesting for a minute that we shouldn't be decentralising and giving support to the regional communities around Australia, including the one in which I live. But, at the moment, Paraway Pastoral, the New South Wales RIA, the New South Wales DPI and NAB Business Banking all have their headquarters in Orange. The creation of a regional centre of excellence in Orange is something that the government believes is a very worthy and worthwhile application of its activities.

There were a number of reasons why Orange was identified as being an entirely suitable location for the RIC to go to. It's also worth pointing out that all the way through here we have interspersed the word 'loans' with the word 'grants'. I'd like to put on the record and make sure it is very clear that we are referring to loans and not grants.