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Wednesday, 16 March 1977
Page: 247

Mr YOUNG (PORT ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I direct a question to the Treasurer. Has the Australian Bureau of Statistics been directed to cut a further $2m from its budget? Is it a fact that the only way the Bureau can comply with this directive is to cut the cost of processing the census forms? Would such a cut require the processing of every second form instead of every form? Would such a sample processing system place in very serious doubt the data received from these forms? Will the Treasurer assure the House that every form will be processed as was originally intended, commencing on 1 July?

Mr LYNCH (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) (Treasurer) - The honourable member poses a hypothesis to me which is quite unfounded. I say to the honourable member that I have not asked the Australian Bureau of Statistics at the present time to save X amount of dollars, and as to the future, the honourable member's colleagues who have been in government would understand the need at this stage to provide to the Cabinet and the Government a set of forward estimates. I am sure that the honourable member would not expect me as Treasurer in charge of the Bureau itself to seek on its behalf or on my behalf to quarantine any area of government expenditure from that sharp scrutiny which this Government will be exercising in its runthrough of that forward estimates process. As regards the honourable member's question, I give him no guarantee as to the forward position because I do not quarantine the Bureau from financial scrutiny.

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