Building royal commission blow-out

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Building royal commission blow-out

The Federal Government's royal commission into the building and construction industry will cost almost twice that of the concurrent HIH royal commission, according to figures released yesterday to the Senate Estimates Committee.

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The Federal Government's royal commission into the building and construction industry will cost almost twice that of the concurrent HIH royal commission, according to figures released yesterday to the Senate Estimates Committee.

The figures represent a $53.068 million increase since the 2001 Budget, taking the estimated cost to $60 million. This compares with $29.913 million which the Government has committed for the Royal Commission investigating the collapse of HIH, a $22.362 million since the amount allocated in last year's Budget.

An extra $10.7 million has been set aside for financial assistance for witnesses to both Royal Commissions, to cover their legal and related expenses.

Labor's IR spokesperson Robert McClelland said he was 'astonished' the Government was spending twice as much on a 'politically motivated' inquiry into the building industry than on 'one of the biggest and most serious corporate collapses in Australia's history'.

But the office of federal Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott says it is a resourcing issue.

Meanwhile, other budget revisions within the Federal Workplace Relations Department cover workers' entitlements. The Government has set aside an extra $12.8 million in this financial year for its General Employee Entitlements and Redundancy Scheme (see 229/2001), and $468.4 million to cover Ansett workers' entitlements.

Funds for the GEERS scheme, which caps redundancy at eight weeks and no longer requires an input from the states, rise over the next three years, with $27.078 million allocated in the 2002-2003 financial year, $68.42 million the year after that and $69.857 million in 2004-2005.

The Ansett workers' scheme funds drop sharply after the initial payout to the majority of former workers, with $1.1 million allocated in 2002-2003 and $1 million for the next two years after that.

 

 
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