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Tuesday, 10 December 1974
Page: 3343

Senator Missen asked the Minister representing the Special Minister of State, upon notice:

(   1 ) Does the Minister agree that there is some confusion in the brochure forwarded to local government bodies by the Grants Commission, which refers at one point to the Prime Minister's statement that 'applications for assistance with single purpose or specific developmental projects will not be the concern of the Grants Commission' and the brochure's advice that councils 'may identify particular expenditure or revenue disabilities likely to justify their claim for financial assistance '

(2   ) Does he agree that, in Victoria at least, certain councils have enumerated specific projects and received grants for them while other councils have refrained from doing so, and have suffered accordingly.

(3)   Is he prepared to re-examine and clarify the brochure to ensure that obscurities will be removed, so as to assist councils in the preparation of applications for the forthcoming year.

Senator Willesee - The Special Minister of State has provided the following reply to the honourable senator's question:

(   1 ) The Prime Minister's speech and the brochure make it clear that the purpose of the legislation is to provide equalisation grants of a revenue nature. The Grants Commission thus requires to be informed of the disabilities suffered by councils in raising revenue and in providing the ordinary services financed from this revenue. The Prime Minister's statement regarding single purpose or specific development projects relates to expenditure of a capital nature and is thus entirely consistent with the advice given to councils in the brochure.

(2)   The Grants Commission did not recommend grants for any specific projects which councils may have enumerated in their submissions to the Grants Commission.

(3)   The Grants Commission's brochure describes the methods and principles which it has adopted and the kind of information which should be provided by councils in their submissions for financial assistance. This material is supplemented by further elaboration in the Grants Commission's 'First Report 1974 on Financial Assistance for Local Government'. The Grants Commission will no doubt revise and re-issue the brochure to supplement this existing information when it considers that this is necessary.

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