CONSIDERATION OF URGENT MOTIONS
(Marrickville - Deputy Premier, Minister for Urban Affairs and Planning, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, and Minister for Housing) [3.37 p.m.]: The motion is urgent because the consultation process for the draft document concludes at the end of this month. It is important to remind the people of New South Wales that this is the last opportunity to participate in this milestone of Australian history. As was announced earlier today, the chairperson and the deputy chair of the National Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation are in Parliament today. As an acknowledgment of their presence and their important meetings with the Government and the Opposition today, the motion should proceed. The debate is crucial as evidence of the importance this House gives to reconciliation.
Regional Australia Summit
(Upper Hunter - Leader of the National Party) [3.38 p.m.]: I urge that my motion be considered as urgent. I point out that in the week following the regional summit held by the Federal Government, the House could not have a more urgent or a more opportune and appropriate debate than one in relation to regional Australia. I know that the urgency motion the Government proposes relates to Aboriginal reconciliation. I congratulate Gatjil Djerrkura, who was present at the regional summit in Canberra, on making a valuable contribution. Indeed, one of the 14 points of the communiqué that was finally issued after day three was that indigenous people are stakeholders in regional Australia.
That, in itself, may not be definitive enough but it is a sequence of themes formulated by the regional summit. One theme highlights the relevance of the New South Wales Parliament and makes observations about the role State governments - together with other tiers of government, of course - can play in regional development. Several themes were produced in the communiqué, including the following:
•Government, industries and communities must invest significant ongoing resources in skilling, learning, education and training, and leadership to develop the human capacity of regional Australia.
•Governments, industries and communities must ensure affordable, reliable access to telecommunications.
•Governments must accept responsibility for facilitating adequate provision and maintenance of basic infrastructure.
•Governments, urban business and industry must become more responsive to the unique requirements of sectors and areas of regional Australia in designing and delivering programs and services.
•The three tiers of governments must remove unnecessary regulatory impediments which increase the cost of doing business . . .
•Governments must create a climate . . . which encourages the investment for rural enterprise and philanthropy.
Those themes are important. Governments have a significant role to play and the New South Wales Government is pivotal in this process. The communiqué expresses a commitment by the New South Wales Government and the Federal Government to become aware of the issues facing rural and regional Australia. The regional summit was a watershed that provided the impetus to awaken the Federal Government to the requirement to commit resources to helping regional Australia.
More than ever the onus is on State governments, local governments and community leaders to present the Federal Government with potential programs for assistance and resource requirements now that it has given a commitment to delivering for rural and regional communities. I congratulate the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr John Anderson, on his foresight and vision in bringing about the regional summit and on his involvement in it. I congratulate the Prime Minister on participating in the summit and tailoring a number of announcements to fit with the themes of the summit. The commitment by the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister means that if the New South Wales Government, other tiers of government and community leaders are able to identify opportunities and present those to the Federal Government, Federal resources will flow.
Question - That the motion for urgent consideration of the honourable member for Marrickville be proceeded with - agreed to.