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The Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP
Federal Member for Murray
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
for the Environment and Heritage

10 May 2000

Criticism of Natural Heritage Trust fails competence test

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Environment and Heritage, Dr Sharman Stone, says Labor's economic incompetence has again been exposed by its claims that funding had been cut to the Natural Heritage Trust in this year's budget.

"The fact is that this is another record-spending environment budget, that every Howard-Costello budget has delivered 43% more funding for the environment than Labor spent in its last year in office," Dr Stone said.

"Funding for the Natural Heritage Trust has not been cut this year. The Coalition has guaranteed a record $1.5 billion to Australia's biggest environmental rescue effort.

"Funding for next year appears to be slightly less than this financial year because this year's figures include additional funds carried over from the 1998-99 budget. No funding has been cut, or re-directed from the NHT in 2000-2001.

"It's hard to believe the Labor Party has the audacity to criticise the Natural Heritage Trust when it failed to deliver an adequate environmental package of this type in all its years in office and has no policy to do so in the future.

"This is in stark contrast to the Howard Government which is actively planning appropriate Commonwealth goals for future natural resource management in Australia through the appointment by the Prime Minister of a high-level Ministerial Group on Natural Resources."

Dr Stone also denied claims that Natural Heritage Trust grant recipients would lose 10 percent to the GST.

"Grant recipients that are registered for the GST will be entitled to claim input tax credits which will effectively offset the GST they have paid on goods or services purchased to complete their project.

"NHT grant recipients will probably be in front following the introduction of the GST because many of the goods they purchase will be cheaper after Labor's hidden wholesale sale taxes are removed," Dr Stone said.

Media Inquiries:
Nicole Johnston, Dr Stone's Office, 02 6277 2016 or 0419 219 415
Rod Bruem, Minister Hill's Office, 02 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364
10 May 2000

Commonwealth of Australia