Tuesday, 11 February 2020
Questions without Notice
Female Facilities and Water Safety Stream
My question is to the Minister for Youth and Sport, Senator Colbeck. Yesterday I asked the minister about the Prime Minister's media release dated 30 March 2019, which stated:
Further details on the change room and swimming facilities fund will be released later in 2019.
I ask the minister again: were these further details ever released?
I thank Senator Farrell for the question. I haven't seen any further details of that particular program being released. After the election, the government made a decision to allocate 41 projects, as we discussed in the chamber yesterday, to that particular program for administration, and the administration of that program was moved from the department of infrastructure, which is under the stewardship of the Deputy Prime Minister, to my portfolio. Since the program has been in my portfolio, there has been no further information released in respect of the program, because, at this point in time, the responsibility that I have, along with my department, is to administer the delivery of those election commitments that are now a part of the female facilities and water program, the FFW safety stream program. The election intervened in that process. The allocation of the election promises was made to that program, and they now rest with my portfolio for administration and delivery.
I do, thank you. Yesterday, the minister refused to advise the Senate whether his agencies had expressed concerns that no guidelines or further details were ever distributed despite the Prime Minister stating that they would be. I ask again: can the minister assure the Senate no concerns were raised with him or his office about the failure to distribute further details or guidelines?
I know that the minister is simply repeating the script that the Leader of the Government in the Senate has given him, but my point of order is on direct relevance. We did not ask about guidelines. We did not ask about election commitments. We asked about an answer that the minister gave previously in relation to advice from agencies, and I would ask you to ask him to return to that question.
The minister has been speaking for eight seconds. I appreciate it was a specific question that related to advice received or not received, and the minister needs to address that particular question. He has only been speaking for eight seconds, so I'm going to grant him a couple of sentences, at the very least, before I make a judgement on direct relevance. Senator Colbeck.
Thank you, Mr President. As I was saying, all of the projects that are being administered under this program were election promises. As I indicated to the chamber yesterday, because the delivery of these projects is very similar to the way that CDG projects are rolled out—
Senator Farrell interjecting—
the department have decided—it expressed no concerns to me, Senator Farrell—to use the guidelines for the delivery of CDG projects for the delivery of this program. There was no concern from my department to me around how this program might be delivered. The government made a decision that the Department of Health would deliver this program rather than the department of infrastructure, and the Department of Health is utilising— (Time expired)
I do have a further supplementary question, Mr President. Yesterday I asked the minister to explain why $150 million of taxpayers' money is being allocated without any guidelines. I again ask the minister: why was the $150 million of taxpayers' money allocated without any guidelines?
As I've said a number of times, the projects being delivered through this program were election commitments. It's that's simple. The opposition made $250 million worth of election promises, with a line in their election policy document to increase that to $400 million. Where are the guidelines for the Labor Party's election commitments? This government made a number of election commitments—41 of them, in fact—that are being delivered through this program. The Labor Party made $250 million worth of election commitments—no guidelines, no process. They'd have to have had a program to deliver it, the same way the government does.