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Thursday, 11 April 1957

Mr Ward d asked the Minister for the Interior, upon notice -

1.   Are building alterations at present being carried out at the Hotel Kurrajong to provide the Minister for Trade with a private bathroom?

2.   If so, is this facility to be provided in due course to all other guests at the hotel?

3.   What is the cost of the work in hand? 4.Is the Minister to pay any increased tariff for this additional convenience; if so, what will be the new charge compared with the present tariff?

5.   Is it a fact that, until such time as a residence is provided at Canberra for each Minister, a Minister receives a special allowance of £1,000 per annum in accordance with the recommendations of a committee which conducted an inquiry into parliamentary allowances in 1951?

6.   If so, and in view of the special arrangements now being made for the Minister for Trade, can it be taken that the plan to provide residences for each Minister at Canberra has now been abandoned, and that the special allowance has become a permanent addition to each Minister's salary?

Mr Fairhall (PATERSON, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Interior) - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   Yes.

2.   No.

3.   The estimated cost is £350.

4.   Yes; but the additional charge has not yet been fixed. 5 and 6. There has never been a plan to provide private residences for Ministersin Canberra It was a suggestion of the Nicholas Committee, which recommended payment of this special allowance if the provision of residences in Canberra for Ministers was impracticable. However, the Richardson Committee, in a report adopted by the Government, examined this allowance and stated that it was intended to cover Ministers' accommodation expenses in Canberra (Ministers are not eligible for the living allowance paid to other members) and other expenses arising from the position of a Minister. As the Richardson report supersedes the Nicholas report, it is therefore no longer correct to regard this special allowance solely as an allowance in lieu of the pro vision of accommodation.

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