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Wednesday, 12 April 1972
Page: 1008

Senator MULVIHILL asked the Minis ter representing the Minister for Shipping and Transport, upon notice:

What financial grants have been given to the States in the past 5 years for:

(a)   Highway improvement;

(b)   Railway rolling stock and track improvements; and

(c)   Special grants to the railways to offset interest on capital loans.

Senator COTTON - The Acting Minister for Shipping and Transport has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(a)   Financial grants to the States under Commonwealth Aid Roads legislation in the 5 years to June 1971 totalled $891m. The honourable senator will be aware that these grants are for various classes of roads and cover new constructions, reconstruction and maintenance.

(b)   $60.324m for railway projects, mainly railway, standardisation work in South Australia and Western Australia. In addition, loans of $46,223m have been made to assist States for railway projects.

(c)   No special grants have been made to the States specifically as an offset to interest on loan funds applied to railway capital works. The Commonwealth has, however, agreed to take over $ 1,000m of State debt progressively over the 5 years to 1971-75 and is providing part of the funds approved by the Loan Council each year for State works and housing as grants in lieu of loans, thus eliminating debt charges on the use of these funds. In 1971-72, $219. lm or about one quarter of the works and housing programme is being provided in this form. It is for the State Governments to determine what areas of activity should benefit from these concessions.

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