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Thursday, 5 December 1974

Mr CREAN (Melbourne Ports) (Treasurer) - I wish to say a few words about this matter as there seems to be some misunderstanding as to what the measure is. If honourable members study the document, they will see that it refers to the financial year ended June 1974. This is a formal statement that comes every year. I think honourable members are aware of what is called the Advance to the Treasurer. One propounds a budget which shows the amount which one is reasonably certain will be required but there is always what is called the contingencies or the Treasurer's Advance. In fact, there are 2 Treasurer's Advances. There is a Treasurer's Advance in respect of the ordinary annual service and there is a Treasurer's Advance in respect of capital works. In my very young days in this Parliament I think the Treasurer's Advance on each account was as low as about £ 10m or $20m. Progressively this amount has risen. If honourable senators consult the Budget for 1974-75 they will find that in each case this amount has risen to $75m. One needs only to think of things like the wool situation where suddenly the Government has to find a sum like $25m pending the passage oflegislation

This amount is carried in the Treasurer's Advance. It is an abstract of the amounts spent during the year 1973-74 which subsequent have been transferred out of Treasurer's Advance and into the appropriate departments. Really, this is a catalogue. It is more a matter of record than anything else. The usual thing in the past has been for the Treasurer's Advance to be adopted. But like anything else it has to come to Parliament for sanctification or ratification, whichever way one might choose to look at it. I do not think there is anything else I need add. Oddly enough, I think the document was circulated months ago. It is usually left until the end of the session. If honourable members want to talk about any particular items they are welcome to do so, but it is history rather than anything else.

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