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Thursday, 28 March 1957

Mr BLAND (WARRINGAH, NEW SOUTH WALES) - As Chairman, I present the following report of the Public Accounts Committee: -

Thirtieth Report. - Epitome of the reports of the First Committee and of the relevant Treasury Minutes; together with Minutes of Evidence taken by the First Committee in connexion with its first to ninth, eleventh, twelfth fourteenth and fifteenth reports.

The minutes previously presented have been tabled. I should like to say a few words in explanation. As I have mentioned, this report is an epitome of reports that were submitted by the first committee. Honorable members frequently ask what happens to the reports, whether anything is done about them or whether they are just pigeonholed and forgotten. This is an attempt to show what happens to them. Honorable members will recall that, from time to time, I have told them of arrangements that have been made with the Treasurer (Sir Arthur Fadden) for dealing with these matters, and to see that they are not forgotten. Every report that we submit is sent forward to the Treasurer, who takes up with the respective departments and authorities the recommendations, comments, or criticisms that we have made. The Treasurer receives reports from the departments and authorities, and sends them to the committee, which presents them to the Parliament at the first opportunity. As I have said, the report that I am presenting to-day is an epitome of the reports that have been previously presented. It will be seen that we have set out the recommendations of the committee in one column, and the action taken by the Treasurer in another column, to enable anybody to see at a glance what has been done about the committee's recommendations.

The reports are accompanied this time by the minutes of evidence that were taken from time to time, but honorable members will notice that minutes of evidence in respect of the tenth report and the thirteenth report are missing. As the relevant inquiries were not conducted in public, there were no minutes of evidence in those instances.

I think I am justified in saying that the reports that we have presented represent a body of principles and practices in public administration and public finance that will be of value to honorable members and to the Public Service. I think that, for that reason, the way in which we have presented the report on this occasion is worth while, because it will tend to show that the influence of the committee far transcends the action taken in respect of any one particular department. I think that the Parliament will be gratified by the way in which we have discharged the trust that has been reposed in us.

Ordered that the report be printed.

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