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Thursday, 31 May 1984
Page: 2210

Senator BUTTON (Minister for Industry and Commerce)(11.11) —I am able to provide Senator Chaney with some information which I hope will be of assistance to him. On page 35 of the explanation of the Estimates there is reference to a 68.8 per cent increase to which I think Senator Chaney referred in respect of furniture and fittings. The appropriation is $1,817,500 compared with $1,816,956 in the previous year. Senator Chaney asked for that comparison. I regret that an answer was not provided. However, it was prepared in anticipation of a question which was not asked at the Estimates Committee. I can provide that information in writing or have it incorporated in Hansard.

I should offer some further explanation of the general question of the expansion of the Department's activities. I am advised that, as at 30 June 1984, the Department will have opened eight new offices, relocated three career reference centres, relocated 33 existing offices and upgraded eight existing offices by leasing additional space. The provision made for offices to open early in the 1984-85 financial year is as follows: Twenty-two leases negotiated for new offices, one career reference centre to be relocated, 37 existing offices to be relocated and eight to be increased in size. To date, 146 work information centres have been opened prior to and including 1983-84. Job bank moneys were committed, in the main, prior to 30 June 1983 and included furniture for 450 visual display units at $230,000 each. I hope that information is of some assistance.