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Wednesday, 26 September 1973
Page: 1508

Mr ANTHONY (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I direct my question to the Minister for Labour. It is a supplementary question to that asked by the honourable member for Braddon. Now that the Government has announced that it is to continue the non-metropolitan unemployment relief scheme and to give special assistance to certain areas, I ask the Minister: Who makes the application? Is the application to be made direct by local government authorities to the Commonwealth or will it be made through the normal procedures of the State Government? If it is to be direct by local government authorities, under what statute has the Commonwealth power to give these grants direct to local government authorities? If special assistance is to be given to areas of unemployment in the country I ask that special consideration be given also to looking at ways and means of assisting the female unemployed who are in considerable numbers. The number of unemployed in country areas at the moment is at a record level.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The Leader of the Country Party is quite right when he draws attention to the special position of females in country areas. He has put his finger on and has clearly identified a special area of great need of which the Government is aware. I assure him, however, that he misunderstood me when he said that the Government has decided to continue the present scheme. I hoped to convey the impression clearly that we decided not to continue the present scheme. The present scheme has been grossly abused by the Premier of Queensland, to name one who has grossly abused the scheme -

Mr Sinclair - How?

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - He has used Commonwealth money to channel financial assistance to the Brisbane City Council - the amount is some $280,000 - when the real need in Queensland is in country areas and not in the Brisbane City Council area at all. We are not happy -

Mr Sinclair - I rise to order. Mr Speaker, is the Minister entitled to make challenges which are unsubstantiated regarding the integrity of the administration of the Premier of a State?

Mr SPEAKER -Order! No point of order arises. The Chair is not in a position to know the details of these matters.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - 1 can assure the honourable gentleman that this is a very real complaint by the Government. We are not going to use Commonwealth funds to pay out large sums of money to State governments and then allow them to misappropriate those funds by giving them to areas to which it was never the intention of the Australian Government that that money should go. We want the money that we make available to be given to the areas that are in greatest need. We are not going to allow State Premiers to use our money to gain some political advantage for themselves.

Mr Anthony - Who makes the allocation - the Government or the State?

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Talk to me about it afterwards.

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