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Tuesday, 23 May 1939


Mr Harrison n. - On the 19th May, the honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. Pollard) asked the following questions, upon notice: -

1.   What is the reason for the recent increase of telephone rentals at -Ballarat?

2.   At what other centres have increases been imposed?

3.   What revenue was received from telephone rentals at Ballarat for each of the years 1936-37 and 1937-38?

I am now in a position to furnish the honorable member with the following answers to his inquiries: -

1.   The rentals for subscribers' services are based on a sliding scale depending upon the number of subscribers connected to exchanges within the unit fee area. The number of subscribers connected to exchanges in the Ballarat area has increased to such an extent as to bring it into a higher rental division, consequently the rental charges were increased as from the 1st May, 1939.

2.   Some of the places where increases have taken place are as follows: - Albury, Deniliquin, Dubbo, Narrandera, Palm Beach, Temora.. Wagga, Grenfell, Yass, Tweed Heads, Junee, Kyabram, Beaconsfield, Clematis, Wodonga, Ballarat, Atherton, Cairns, Charleville.

3.   The revenue received from telephone rentals at Ballarat for each of the years 1930-37 and 1937-38 was as follows: - 1936-37-. £8,722 6s.; 1937-38, £8,738 5s. 8d.

Defence Contracts: Shell Cases.


Mr Street t. - On the 19th May, the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear) asked the following question, withoutnotice -

Will the Minister for Defence state the amount of the tender price accepted for shell cases, upon which the successful tenderer refunded the sum of 7s. on each case?

I am now in a position to inform the honorable member that the contract price was 30s. 2d., which was reduced Ky the company to 23s. 2d.

Control of Erosion.


Mr Casey y. - On the 10th May, the honorable member for Darling (Mr. Clark) asked whether my attention had been drawn to the fact that in the United States of America certain areas affected by erosion were being sown with a special grass, the seed of which was being obtained from Russia. I have made inquiries into this matter, and I am now able to inform the honorable member that there are several grasses which have their origin, in Russia and which are useful iri soil erosion control. The Department of Agriculture of the United States of America sent an expedition to Mongolia, Russian Turkestan, and other parts of Asia, in order to collect such grasses. The expedition was successful in obtaining a number which wore subsequently planted in several introduction testing areas in the United States of America. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Reseach has for several years past been in communication with the Department of Agriculture of the United States of America in this connexion, and that department has furnished seed of a number of promising grasses. They are being grown at Black Mountain, Canberra. The best of these grasses are poor seeders, hut cuttings can be made available at present in limited quantities. Already one of these grasses has given good results in arresting sand drift in the Mallee of South Australia. If the honorable member would like to inspect these . grasses

Hnd to obtain further information in regard to them, I suggest that he get into direct touch with Dr. Dickson, Chief of the Council's Division of Plant Industry at Canberra.

Employment of Youths.


Mr Menzies s- On the 10th May, the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Drakeford) asked the following question, without notice -

Is the Prime Minister aware that it is a common and growing practice among employers in Australia in occupations that do not require apprenticeships to discharge young men when approaching adult age, and to engage boys or youths at low rates of pay to replace them?

Ifhe is not aware of it, will he have early inquiries made? If he is aware of it, can he five the House any information as to the steps, if any, being taken to meet the situation arising from this serious state of affairs?

I desire to inform the honorable member that the Commonwealth Government is in communication with the Government of New South Wales in connexion with this matter, and that a conference between representatives of the Commonwealth and the States will probably be held in the ear future.

Returned Soldiers in Public SERVICE


Mr Menzies - On the 11th May, the honorable member for Martin (Mr. McCall) asked the following question, without notice -

Will the Prime Minister consider the desirability of amending the Public Service Act in order to give permanent employment to returned soldiers who have been temporarily employed for from two to three years?

I desire to inform the honorable member that, so far as appointments to nonclerical positions are concerned, returned soldiers under 51 years of age who have given two years' continuous temporary service in such positions are accorded a preference for appointment ,by section 34 9 c of the Public Service Act. It is the practice to appoint such returned soldiers in the prescribed order of preference with other returned soldiers, as vacancies occur, if they are engaged in a class of employment for which permanent positions are created. In regard to clerical positions, appointees to the permanent . staff must demonstrate the possession of educational qualifications of a reasonable standard, and the appointment of persons to such positions solely on length of temporary service without regard to educational qualifications could not be agreed to. Provision already exists for the appointment of returned soldiers who have passed examinations of a lower standard than that applied to other entrants to clerical positions. The existing provisions of the Public Service Act as to the appointment of returned soldiers are considered to be very reasonable, and the Public Service Board is unable to recommend any further amendment of the act in this connexion. The policy as to. preference to returned soldiers is being very closely observed, and it may be mentioned that within the last two years over 1,000 returned soldiers have received permanent appointments.

Tinned Plate Industry.


Mr Menzies s. - On the 17th May, iri reply to a question asked by the honorable member for Franklin (Mr. Frost), I promised to have inquiries made as to whether any request had been made from any State other than South Australia with respect to the establishment of the tinned plate industry.

I am now in a position to inform the honorable member that the Government of South Australia was the only State Government to make representations to the Commonwealth Government on this question. commonwealthrailways:profit from Stores Department.


Mr Perkins -On the 5th May, the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. McHugh) asked the following questions, upon notice : - 1.What were the profits from the salesof the stores department of the Commonwealth Railways for each of the years from 1928-29 to 1937-38, and for this year to date?

2.   To what funds are the profits allotted, and how much was allotted to each in the years mentioned?

On the 17th May the following information was supplied in reply to No. 1 . -

The profits from sales of the Railway Provision Stores and Bakeries for each of the years from 1928-29 to 1937-38, as disclosed by the audited accounts, were as follows: -

 

The Minister for the Interior has now furnished information regarding No. 2 as follows: -

Portion of the profit from columns (1) and (2) is transferred annually to TransAustralian Railway Revenue. The rest is retained in the Railway Provision Stores Account for working purposes and to meet possible developments until it can safely be transferred to Trans-Australian Railway (in the case of the Trans-Australian Railway Provision Stores and Bakeries) and North Australia Railway Revenue (in the case of the

North Australia Railway Provision Store). The amounts so transferred in the years referred to were: -

 







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