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Friday, 16 August 1974
Page: 1081

Senator DURACK (Western Australia) - I think the matter has now boiled down to what will be the actual effect of this clause. We believe that it will have the serious effects to which Senator Sir Magnus Cormack has referred. The Minister has now said that it will have only the beneficial effect that Senator Steele Hall has raised in relation to the previous legislation. I am afraid that I cannot possibly accept the opinion given to the chamber by the Minister, although I appreciate that he was only giving the opinion of his advisers on the matter. My view of what sub-clause (6) means is that it requires the particulars of projects for an approved program which have to be submitted to the Minister to contain reference even to road making plant. I think that that is quite clear. Therefore I believe that the opinion that the Minister has- no doubt in all good faith- expressed to the Committee is quite wrong. I think that his advisers, if they have been given that opinion also, ought to take other advice about it. The matter which Senator Hall raised as to whether the States could not have in the calculation of their matching money the benefit of the money they spend on road-making plant is dealt with, or should be dealt with, under clause 9, which relates to matching moneys. Subclause (5) of clause 9 states:

For the purposes or this section, an amount expended, or set aside for expenditure, by a State-

(a)   in payment of interest on moneys borrowed by the State and expended by the State on road works; or

(b)   on road planning or research, may be treated as an amount expended, or set aside for expenditure, by the State on road works . . .

I cannot find anything else in this clause or in any other part of the Bill, including the definitions provision, which provides for this beneficial matter as far as the States are concerned. I fear that the sub-clause with which we are dealing does not have that beneficial effect but has the serious sorts of effects about which we have expressed our concern.

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