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Thursday, 16 May 1957

Mr Whitlam m asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

1.   What sums have the National Bank of Australasia Limited, the Bank of Adelaide, the English, Scottish and Australian Bank Limited and the Commercial Bank of Australia Limited, respectively, invested in the shares and securities of Custom Credit Corporation Limited, Finance Corporation of Australia Limited, Esanda Limited and General Credits Limited, respectively?

2.   Why have not the four last-named companies sought or been granted exemption from compliance with section six or section seven of the Banking Act 1945?

3.   How many other hire-purchase companies have sought or been granted such exemption?

Sir Arthur Fadden - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   The honorable member is referred to the information supplied on 26th September last in reply to a question by him on this subject. As far as I am aware, the position is still as then stated. 2 and 3. The honorable member was provided with full information regarding the companies which have sought and been granted exemptions under section 10 of the Banking Act 1945-1953 in my reply of 11th April to a previous question of his. Should any further companies feel that they may be carrying on or desire to carry on any banking business, it is open for them also to apply for an appropriate exemption.

Mr Whitlam m asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

1.   Do the authorities granted to the private savings banks require them to invest specified percentages of the amounts on deposit with them in specified kinds of securities and loans?

2.   Does he know, or can he ascertain, what amounts on deposit with the private savings banks have been invested by them and in what kinds of securities and loans those amounts have been invested?

3.   In what circumstances would he furnish this information to honorable members?

Sir Arthur Fadden - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   The authorities granted to the private savings banks set certain minimum percentages of the total amounts on deposit with a private savings bank which must be held in specified ways. The terms of the authorities were published in the issues of the " Commonwealth Gazette ", dated 9th February, 1956, and 14th June, 1956. 2 and 3. Information on the assets held by the private savings banks is provided regularly to the Treasury and the central bank by arrangement. The form in which information on this subject might be published is under consideration. There are certain technical difficulties to be resolved.

Queensland Government.

Sir Arthur Fadden . - On 14th May, the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) asked me the following questions, without notice: -

1.   Is it a fact that the Gair Government had cash balances exceeding £12,000,000 at the end of June, 1954?

2.   Is it true that of this amount £6,000,000 was invested in Commonwealth securities which matured last month?

3.   Is it, further, a fact that when those Commonwealth securities matured and could have been cashed the Gair Government exchanged them for securities that do not mature until next May?

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

1.   According to the annual report of the AuditorGeneral for Queensland, cash and bank balances of the Queensland Government were approximately £12,400,000 at 30th June, 1954.

2.   The Queensland Auditor-General's report shows that Commonwealth securities (including advance subscriptions) held by trust and special funds were £7,549,000 at 30th June, 1954, and that Commonwealth Government securities held by these funds had a face value of £12,633,040 at 30th June, 1955.

3.   Unless the permission of the subscriber has been previously obtained, it is not the practice to reveal details of subscriptions to Commonwealth loans nor of the conversion or redemption of such loans on their maturity dates. Since the honorable member asked his question the Queensland Treasurer is reported in the " Brisbane Telegraph " of 15th May as describing a Queensland Government re-investment in Commonwealth Government securities as "just a normal reinvestment of trust funds ".

Royal Australian Navy.

Mr Ward d asked the Minister for the

Navy, upon notice -

Will he furnish the following information in respect of the year 1937-38 and at present: -

(a)   The number of Royal Australian Navy ships in commission?

(b)   The number of sea-going personnel, showing the number of officers and ratings separately?

(c)   The number of persons employed at the Navy Office, Melbourne, showing naval and civil personnel separately?

(d)   The total number, showing naval personnel and civilians separately, employed at naval shore establishments?

Mr Davidson (DAWSON, QUEENSLAND) (Postmaster-General) - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

(a)   1937-38, 11; 1957, 20. In both cases only ships of 500 tons or more are included.

(b)   Officers, 1937-38, 202; 1957, 321. Ratings, 1937-38, 2,777; 1957, 4,175.

(c)   Naval personnel, 1937-38, 53; 1957, 185. Civilians, 1937-38, 142; 1957, 1,139.

(d)   Establishments other than Navy Office. - Naval personnel, 1937-38, 1,316; civilians, 1,058 (including 806 wages staff); naval personnel, 1957, 7,269; civilians, 7,159 (including 3,770 wages staff).

Housing at Queanbeyan.

Mr ALLAN FRASER (EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES) r asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -

1.   Is the Minister now able to name Queanbeyan as a centre where homes for service personnel are required under the terms of the CommonwealthState Housing Agreement?

2.   Will he take into account the fact that approximately 100 persons serving at the Royal

Australian Air Force Station, Canberra, and 25 to 30 persons serving at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, are desirous of obtaining homes in Queanbeyan?

Mr Beale - The Minister for National Development has furnished the following reply: - 1 and 2. Under the terms of the Housing Agreement 1956 the localities in which the Commonwealth requires that dwellings be erected under the agreement for allocation to serving members of the Forces are specified by the Minister for National Development to the appropriate State Minister in respect of each financial year. In specifying localities for the erection of service housing, however, the Minister is guided by advice submitted to his department by the Departments of the Navy, the Army and Air as to the distribution throughout each State of the number of dwellings expected to be allocated during the financial year. The service departments are well equipped to advise the Minister in this connexion because they are informed about the housing requirements of personnel located at service establishments under their control in the various States. Up to date the service departments concerned have not listed Queanbeyan amongst the localities at which they desire houses to be erected under the Housing Agreement. If the service departments do request that houses be made available in Queanbeyan I will certainly include that centre in the programme submitted annually to the State Minister for Housing.

Telephone Poles at Pascoe Vale.

Mr Stokes (MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA) s asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -

1.   Is the alinement of telephone poles in the centre of the recently constructed footpath in Winifred-street, Pascoe Vale, the subject of controversy?

2.   Were the poles erected prior to the final delineation of the footpath by the Coburg Council?

3.   Will he arrange for the immediate resiting of the poles in order to remove the obstruction from the footpath?

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

1.   Yes.

2.   Yes. The poles in Winifred-street were erected seven years ago approximately 9 feet from the fence alinement and in accordance with verbal agreement between departmental and council officers that on unmade roadways our poles would be erected 8 to 9 feet from the fence alinement. Late in 1956 the road and footways were reformed and alined and the levels lowered to such an extent that seven departmental poles were then only about 18 inches in the ground compared with the normal 4 ft. 6 in. Discussions between officers of the department and the council showed that it was the intention at that stage to pave the footpath from the fence alinement to a point 6 feet out and it was agreed that departmental poles would remain in situ and be lowered to the normal 4 ft. 6 in. depth. This work was done in conjunction with the Electric Supply Department of the council, who had electric power crossings fitted to the top of most of the poles for distribution to the adjoining houses. Arising from the difficulties involved in paving the footpath from the fence alinement outwards, including the construction of extensive retaining walls to hold the existing fences and gardens, the council subsequently decided to pave the footpath at a distance of from 7 to 12 feet from the fence alinement, which then placed our poles in the centre of the pavement.

3.   The council has since moved the poles back to the kerb alinement including re-arrangement of the electric power crossings, and, in this work, departmental staff assisted by re-arrangement of the telephone wires carried on the poles.

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