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Wednesday, 7 December 1938

Mr CASEY (Corio) (Treasurer) (12:45 PM) . - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The object of this measure is to appropriate for Defence expenditure of a capital nature an amount of £3,494,733, which represents the excess receipts of the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the last financial year. Honorable members may recollect that by the Defence Equipment Act of 1934, there was established a Defence Equipment Trust Account into which various amounts have since been paid, with the approval of Parliament, with the object of relieving the revenues of later years. The purposes for which amounts standing to the credit of this account may be used are : - (a)fornavalcontruction;

(b)   for the purchase of arms, armament, aircraft, munitions equipment, machinery, plant and reserves of ammunitions and oil fuel; and.

(c)   for Defence works and buildings and the acquisition of sites therefor,

The balance in the Equipment Trust Account at the 30th J une last was approximately £1,000,000 which is fully committed in respect of orders placed in 1937-38. This is apart from the balance of £400,000 remaining in the Civil Aviation Account, which is also fully committed. Of the total amount included in this bill, the Government proposes that £2,494,733 be set aside to meet, expenditure for the current year, leaving a balance in the trust account of £1,000,000, which will he available towards expenditure in 1939-40. Honorable memberswill find the items of capital works on which the amount is proposed to be expended set out on page 299 of the Estimates. The policy of treating the excess receipts in this way has already been approved by Parliament in the past. I commend the measure to the House.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without amendment or debate.

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