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Tuesday, 6 August 1946

Mr Makin (through Mr. Dedman) (Minister for Aircraft Production) - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   The Lidcombe engine factory is engaged upon an order for 100 Rolls-Royce Merlin engines. These engines will not be completed until the latter half of1947.

2.   There is no present intention of increasing the number of Merlin engines on order, nor of letting the factory to private enterprise.

3.   The managing director of Rolls-Royce Limited inspected the factory 'during his visit to Australia several months ago.

4.   No.

5.   None.

6.   Yes. It was necessary to send several engineers overseas to study the manufacturing technique before production of Merlin engines could, be set up in -Australia. Some special machine tools and equipment and tooling necessary for the project were purchased in England. Apart from the order referred to in question 1, the engine factory will be employed upon the repair and overhaul of Merlin engines for the Royal Australian Air Force and other work of a similar character until such time as it can be determined what, if any, future engine manufacturing project should be undertaken.

Dairying Industry: Subsidies.

Mr Bowden asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -

1.   What amount of subsidy was paid to Australian dairy -farmers in each year of its operation ?

2.   How much was recouped from (o) Great Britain and (6) other sources, either in part payment of the subsidy or in higher prices which could be offset against the industry?

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

1.   Total amounts paid in subsidy - 1st July. 1!)42, to 31st March, 1943, £1,500.000; 1st April, 1043, to 31st March, 1944, £6,500,000; 1st April, 1944, to 31st March, 1945, £6,812,000; 1st April, 1945, to 31st March, 1046, £6,766,605. 2. (o) Amounts to bc recouped from the United Kingdom Government in respect of sales made to the United Kingdom Ministry of Food- 1st July, 1942, to 31st March, 1943, nil; 1st April, 'l943, to 31st' March, 1944, £1,105,123 15s. Id.; 1st April, 1944, to 31st- March, 1945. £2,110,629 5s. lid.: 1st April; 1945, to 30th June, 1945, £118,484 18s. 10d. Since the 1st April, 1945, the- United Kingdom Government raised the contract price by 42s. Australian currency per cwt. for butter and 20s. Australian currency per cwt. for cheese. These increases resulted in higher equalization values and consequently a lower rate of government subsidy to give the producer ls. 7$d. per lh. 'commercial butter equivalent which is the figure determined by the Commonwealth Prices Commissioner on the basis of production costs submitted by the industry. ( 6 ) Nil.

Northern Territory : Soya Bw Production.

Mr Blain asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -

In view of the varied uses of .the soya bean, and its food value as discovered by soldiers in Malaya, will he arrange for Mr. Shand to investigate, on behalf of the. Northern Australia Development Committee, the possibility of extensively growing crops in the Katherine River Valley, Northern Territory, and- on other northern rivers of Queensland and Western Australia ?

Mr Scully - Following the recent transfer to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research of the Army farm at Katherine, the council is starting experimental work there, concentrating on testing new crops and forage plants, including soybeans. Soybeans have not proved very successful in most other tropical countries, and it would be unwise, in the view of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, to recommend extensive cultivation in the territory until their value has been proved by careful experiments. It is considered that the sending of an officer to the region would be more appropriate when the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research experimental plots are sown and have reached the stage where some value may be obtained from the visit.

Egg Control Fund.

Mr Ryan asked the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture, upon notice -

1.   What is the amount of the surplus standing now to the credit of the Controller ot Egg Supplies in the Control Fund Charge?

2.   Is this surplus the property of the egg producers of Australia?

3.   If so, when is this surplus to be distributed to its owners?

4.   If the surplus is not to bo distributed to the egg producers, how is it to be disposed of?

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

1.   As a result of investigations, it has been estimated that the surplus will be approximately £500,000. 2, 3 and 4. Legally the money is the property of the Commonwealth Government, but this question will be subject to review when the National Security Regulations cease in December next.

Taxation : Administration.

Mr Abbott asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

1.   How many officials are employed in assessing, collecting, and enforcing payment of all forms of federal taxation?

2.   What is the total cost of the administration of all forms of federal taxation?

Mr.- Chifley.- The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows : -

1.   On the 1st June, 1046, the number of officials employed was 5,799. This number includes those officials employed for the collection of arrears of State income taxes. As matters relating to federal income tax and arrears of State income taxes are dealt with by the same officials the number employed for purposes of State income tax cannot be stated separately.

2.   The total expenditure on administration (including the cost of collecting State income tax arrears) during the financial year ended 30th June, 1946, was £2,200,000 approximately.

Commonwealth Bank: ' Mortgage Bank Department.

Mr Archie Cameron asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

As at the 30th June, 1946 (a) How many applications for loans had been made in each State tinder the Mortgage Bank provisions of the Commonwealth Bank Act; (6) how many had been (i) approved, (ii) rejected and (iii) undecided; and (.c) what amounts were involved in each case under (a) and (6).

Mr Chifley - The answer to the honorable member's questions are as follows' : - (a), (6) and (c). Statistics in respect of the Mortgage Bank Department of the Commonwealth Bank from its inception (27th September, 1943) to 30th June, 1946, are as follows: -

Public Service : Staff Reductions.

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