Building Better Regions Fund

Mr STEPHEN JONES (Whitlam) (13:51): There is a dispute between the Liberal and National parties which is threatening funding of critical projects in Western Australia and other regions. The dispute concerns the boundaries for the Building Better Regions Fund, in which $300 million of taxpayer money is allocated to development projects. Many MPs have raised their concerns—I see the member for Wakefield, the member for Macquarie and the member for Lalor in the chamber—but it was in WA that the Liberal member for Canning went so far as to accuse the National Party minister of redrawing the map to exclude Mandurah and Peel from the fund. He was so angry he took it to the Prime Minister and believes that he received a guarantee that the National Party minister would be overruled. He told his local newspaper:

The Prime Minister said it's very clear that Peel is regional and we're going to reinstate it.

We now know that this was not true because, in Senate estimates this week, the minister herself was adamant. She said: 'Just to be very clear, the boundaries have not changed.' We know there is a festering dispute between the Liberals and the Nationals in WA. It now appears to have come here. The Prime Minister and the minister have questions to answer. Have they misled the member for Canning? Has the Prime Minister misled the member for Canning or is the minister simply not in control of the project or her funds?

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