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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon. Dr David Kemp
28 May 2003
Kelvin Thomson should get on the phone to Western Australian Premier, Geoff Gallop, and convince him to commit to WA's full share of National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality funding if he is genuine about speeding up spending under the plan.
And he should also call New South Wales Premier, Bob Carr, to remove the road-block that post election paralysis in that State was imposing on National Action Plan outlays - by both the Commonwealth and NSW governments.
Mr Thomson yesterday claimed again that underspending on NAP Budget forecasts to date was purely the Commonwealth's fault.
"Kelvin Thomson constantly and totally ignores the fact that the National Action Plan is a joint program between the Commonwealth and the States with all funding split 50/50 and with all funding decisions requiring joint approval," Environment and Heritage Minister, Dr David Kemp, said.
"I can only repeat what I said in the parliament yesterday, which is that the primary cause in the relatively slow rate of Commonwealth outlays under this program to date has been the slow overall rate at which the States have come on board, the fact that WA has not yet made a commitment to match Commonwealth spending of $158 million, and because of a lack of commitment from the New South Wales Government.
"Kelvin Thomson should convince his colleagues in WA and New South Wales to get with the program."
Dr Kemp said it was disappointing that National Farmers Federation President, Peter Corish, had provided Mr Thomson with a dishonest basis for repeating the farm organisation leader's call for the Prime Minister to take control of the NAP.
"Peter Corish, of all people, ought to have a clear understanding of just where the road-blocks are in terms of the National Action Plan and why spending to date has been, as he puts it, unacceptably slow. Perhaps he would like to join Mr Thomson in a conference call to Premiers Gallop and Carr."
Catherine Job 02 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400