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Tuesday, 26 October 1971
Page: 2484


Mr ENGLAND (CALARE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask the Minister for Primary Industry: What funds have been allotted to New South Wales for this financial year under the rural reconstruction scheme? How much of this sum has been drawn to date? Does the appropriate Act provide for a constant review of the provisions of the Act with a set time limit on the first review? Does this review apply to the funds for the scheme and allocation between the States? If the funds allotted to New South Wales are already spent or committed, as some claim, has that State made any approach to the Commonwealth for the review to be expedited?


Mr SINCLAIR (NEW ENGLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Primary Industry) - The answer to the first of the series of questions put by the honourable gentleman is that in this financial year $11.5m was allocated to New South Wales. In addition $4m was allocated in the last financial year and a further $2.5m of pre-war funds were released from their previous ties so that they could also be used for rural reconstruction. In answer to the second part of the honourable gentleman's question relating to how much of those funds have been drawn this year) $4m of last year's funds have been drawn, the $2.5m of pre-war funds are, of course, in the hands of the New South Wales Government, but none of the $ 11.5m allocated this year has been called on by the New South Wales Government. The third part of the question related to the terms of review. In the agreement between New South Wales, the other States and the Commonwealth for the introduction of the rural reconstruction scheme areas of review were agreed on. These areas included the interest rate, the extent to which write-offs were permissible under the scheme, the percentage of funds allocated to farm build-up and rural reconstruction and one or two other specific areas. A series of identifiable, possible areas of discussion for review was set down in the agreement between the Commonwealth and the States.

The final part of the honourable gentleman's question related to the extent to which a request had been made for an expedition of the review. There is an obligation that a review should take place during this financial year. New South Wales has requested that this review be expedited. The position at the moment is that I have asked the Bureau of Agricultural Economics to gather from the respective States all the possible information available to date on the administration of rural reconstruction so that we can expedite this review. I might add that it is my belief that in one State at least the legislation to implement rural reconstruction has only just been introduced and I would think that in the other States administration is really only just starting. In some States, on the other hand, the administration has been moving apace and I know that the commission constituted by the State Government seems to have been doing a very admirable job. The position at the moment with respect to the review is that when the information that we need in order to inquire into these series of items which are the subject of review has been gathered from the States then the question of the time allotted to this review can be considered.







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