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Over $620m In National Competition Policy Payments

TREASURER

The Treasurer today announced the States and Territories will receive more than $600 million for implementing the second tranche of National Competition Policy reform commitments.

These payments are being made on the recommendations of the National Competition Council, which has assessed the performance of each State and Territory against their obligations. These payments will amount to more than $620m.

This decision follows receipt of the recommendations of the National Competition Council, resulting from its assessment of each State and Territory's performance against NCP obligations.

All States and Territories will receive their full allocation of 1999-00 Payments, with the exception of Queensland. This is in accordance with the NCC's recommendations.

"In relation to Queensland, I have accepted the Council's recommendation that payments of approximately $15m of its total 1999-00 Payment allocation of $118.67m be suspended, pending a supplementary assessment by the Council before 31 December 1999.

"This decision is based on Queensland's inability to adequately demonstrate its commitment to a specific water reform measure, part of an agreed package of water reforms agreed to by all States and Territories. The supplementary assessment allows Queensland time to demonstrate its implementation of this reform, and have the suspended payment fully restored.

"I will make this decision following receipt of the NCC's recommendation on this matter".

A decision on payments to the States and Territories for 2000-01, the final year of the second tranche period, will be made following supplementary assessments to be conducted by the Council covering a range of reform commitments.

The use of supplementary assessments recognises that while many jurisdictions are genuinely committed to reform, implementation is a complex and time-consuming process. This approach provides an incentive to continue reform rather than arbitrarily penalising States and Territories.

I congratulate the States and Territories for maintaining their commitment to reform- recognising the practical difficulties inherent in the process - and urge them to push on to achieve the full range of benefits for all Australians. I also congratulate the National Competition Council on its practical approach to reform.

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