REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (15:01): My question is directed to the Minister for State/Local Government Relations. Given the minister's repeated statements in this place on 13 November that she is only responsible for the regional development aspects of local government matters, will she outline which of these responsibilities are separate from her responsibilities as the Minister for Regional Development?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Minister for Forests, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for State/Local Government Relations) (15:01): I thank the honourable member for his most important question. I have explained the machinery of government changes in this place on numerous occasions. The changes have meant that I have responsibility for legislation relating to the outback communities and that authority, and also the federal assistance grants (FAGs), and it's not surprising, given that they are both areas of state/local government that relate very much to regions.    

My other responsibilities in terms of regional development have always had a very close synergy with state/local government development. They have always, as I said, had a very close synergy. I've enjoyed being able to leverage those responsibilities and look forward to continuing to do so.     Prosperity in our regional areas is extremely important to this state and, of course, local governments play an extremely important role in regions. They are a major, if you like, social structure in regions, so they are vital to any consideration of and planning around regional development and improving regional prosperity. I am pleased to say that, given my former roles both as minister for environment and in state/local government, and now in regional development, I believe those synergies are very firmly consolidated.    

The PRESIDENT: A supplementary question from the Hon. Mr Dawkins.

 

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (15:04): Under which act is the Outback Communities Authority committed to the minister?   
            

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Minister for Forests, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for State/Local Government Relations) (15:04): I am happy to take that on notice; I can't recall, off the top of my head. I am responsible for up to 100-odd pieces of legislation. I can't cite them all, but it does have a head of power. I am happy to, as I said, take that on notice and bring it back straightaway—as soon as I possibly can.

The PRESIDENT: The Hon. Mr Dawkins with a further supplementary.

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (15:04): Is the minister responsible for Financial Assistance Grants across the whole state or just in regional areas?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Minister for Forests, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for State/Local Government Relations) (15:05): For the distribution right across the whole state.

The PRESIDENT: Further supplementary, the Hon. Mr Dawkins.

 

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (15:05): Given the fact that the Attorney-General has responsibility for the Local Government Act under the current machinery of government arrangements, is the title of Minister for State/Local Government Relations totally irrelevant?

 
The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Minister for Forests, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for State/Local Government Relations) (15:05): In relation to the outback communities, I have received a message that it is the Outback Communities Administration and Management Act 2009. That is one less piece of paper that I have to bring back to the chamber. Sorry, I have forgotten what the other question was.    

The Hon. D.W. Ridgway: Are you responsible for it?    


The Hon. G.E. GAGO:
Outback communities? I have already indicated that I am responsible for it. What was your other question?
    

The PRESIDENT: He is seeking your opinion.  
  

The Hon. J.S.L. Dawkins: No, I didn't. I asked her if the ministry of state/local government relations is irrelevant.

 The PRESIDENT: Minister, you don't have to answer that.  
  

The Hon. G.E. GAGO: Is it relevant? I believe it is relevant. I think it is a very important position. Does the Hon. John Dawkins believe that it is not relevant and we will get rid of it? Is that what he is proposing?

 
The Hon. J.S.L. Dawkins: But you have: you've got the act under the Attorney-General.