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Wednesday, 17 July 1946


Mr Menzies (KOOYONG, VICTORIA) s asked the Minister for Works and Housing, upon notice: -

1.   Has Mr. Walker, the secretary of the Commonwealth Salvage Commission, been dismissed from his office? 2.If so, on what notice and for what reasons ?


Mr Lazzarini - The answers to the right honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   Mr. Walkerwas not dismissed. His services were terminated because of the reorganization brought about by the abolition of the Salvage Commission, and in accordance with the Pinner Report on the staffing of war-time activities. Mr. Walker was associated with Mr. Pinner in the compilation of this report and was well aware of the fact that the activities of the Salvage Commission were likely to terminate in September, 1945.

2.   Mr. Walker,who was a temporary employee, was advised on the 19th June that his services would be terminated on the 26th June. He was, however, informed by the Commonwealth Controller of Salvage in January that his services would be terminated on the expiration of his sick and accrued recreation leave, viz., on the 26th June.

Commonwealth Disposals Commission : Credits from Sales; Release of Mechanical Equipment.


Mr Chifley y. - On the 20th June, the honorable member for Parramatta (Sir Frederick Stewart) asked the following question : - .

Can the Prime Minister say to what purpose the money raised by the Disposals Commission from the sale of goods is being applied?

The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows: -

All credits arising from sales by the Commonwealth Disposals Commission are taken in reduction of war expenditure. Thus, on . page 4 of the Statement of Receipts and Expenditure of the Consolidated Revenue. Fund for the year ended 30th June,' 1946, an amount of £15,635,4S1 is deducted from the gross expenditure on Defence and War (1939-45) Services of £393,585,378, leaving £152,940,857 to be charged to Loan Fund instead of £ 1 68,582,33S. The effect of this procedure is to reduce the debt burden.


Mr Chifley - On the 20th June, the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) asked a question relating to the disposal of mechanical equipment following the conclusion of the LendLease Settlement Agreement with the Government of the United States of America.

In my financial statement on the 12th J uly, I outlined in some detail the provisions of the agreement reached with the United States of America, and circulated copies of the text of the agreement. L also indicated that immediately following the conclusion of the agreement, the Government instructed all Commonwealth departments to take urgent steps to declare* to the Commonwealth Disposals Commission any goods surplus to the Commonwealth's requirements, and that the sale of these surpluses to private purchasers would be arranged by the Disposals Commission. The Commonwealth Disposals Commission recently arranged for surplus tractors to be sold through the trade, which will then sell to sponsored buyers. Surplus tractors sold in this way are those available after the requirements of Commonwealth and State government departments and local government instrumentalities are met. Surpluses of heavy mechanical earthmoving equipment of lend-lease origin are now being declared by the services and will be made available in increasing numbers to government instrumentalities and other users of high essentiality. Certain purchases of earth-moving equipment from United States surpluses in Australia and the islands have also been made and these supplies are in the course of distribution to essential users. I assure the honorable member that every effort is being .made to expedite disposals of surplus earth-moving equipment so that the benefit of the use of this equipment may be had at an early date.


Mr Chifley y. - On the 19th June, the honorable member for Griffith (Mr. Conelan) asked a question relating to the disposal of mechanical equipment following the conclusion of the Lend-Lease Settlement Agreement with the Government of the United States of America.

In my financial statement on the 12th July, I outlined in some detail the provisions of the agreement reached with the United States of America and circulated copies of the text of the agreement. I also indicated that immediately following the conclusion of the agreement, the Government instructed all Commonwealth departments to take urgent steps to declare to the Commonwealth Disposals Commission any goods surplus to the Commonwealth's requirements, and that the sale of these surpluses to private purchasers would he arranged by the Disposals Commission. The Commonwealth Disposals Commission recently arranged for surplus tractors to be sold through the trade, which will then sell to sponsored buyers. Surplus tractor* sold, in this way are those available after the requirements of Commonwealth and State government departments and local government instrumentalities are met. Surpluses of heavy mechanical earthmoving equipment of lend-lease origin are now being declared by. the services and will be made available in increasing numbers to government instrumentalities and other users of high essentiality. Certain purchases of earth-moving equipment from United States surpluses in Australia and the islands have also been made and these supplies are in the course of distribution to essential users. I assure the honorable member that every effort is being made to expedite disposal* of surplus earth-moving equipment so that the benefit of the use of this equipment may be had at an early date.

Diesel Fuel Oil.


Mr FoRDE E.-r-On the 11th July, the honorable member for New England (Mr. Abbott) asked that the Minister for Trade and Customs request the Prices Commissioner to investigate the landed costs of diesel oil with a view to reducing the price to consumers.

I have been informed by the Minister for Trade and Customs that the prices of petroleum products are continually under review by the Commonwealth Prices Commissioner and that those prices are periodically adjusted in accordance with change of actual cost. The recent trend of costs has been downwards and this trend, if continued, should be reflected in due course in lower prices.

Dairying Industry; Milk Subsidy in Queensland.


Mr Forde - On the motion for the adjournment of the House on the 5th July, the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Francis) asked a number of questions concerning apparent anomalies in the payment of milk subsidy in Queensland.

I have taken up this matter with the Minister for Trade and Customs and have been informed that the difference arises from the fact that higher returns in Brisbane are necessary to cover, amongst other things, freight costs to the metropolitan market, higher purity standards and higher production costs associated with farming on uneconomic areas close to the city. With regard to the poor seasonal conditions referred to, the subsidy scheme covering the capital cities makes special provision for additional subsidies where costs are gradually increased owing to extraordinary seasonal conditions. However, in view of the honorable member's statements, I am informed that consideration will be given to such payments in the circumstances indicated by him. The third question raised by the honorable memberrelated to withholding subsidy payments. This circumstance arises from overpayments made consequent upon incorrect claims submitted by wholesalers. The question of withholding payments is not yet finalized, being at present under consideration by the Prices Stabilization Committee.







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