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Tuesday, 2 May 1961

Mr HAROLD HOLT (HigginsTreasurer) . - f move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this bill and of the associated Appropriation (Works and Services) Bill is to obtain parliamentary authority for certain expenditure for which provision was not made in the 1960-61 Estimates. The various items contained in the Additional Estimates can be considered in detail in committee and I propose at this time to refer only to some of the major provisions. Some re-allocation has been made within the total defence appropriation of £198,153,000, with consequential increases and decreases in individual votes. The increases result in additional appropriations being sought for £4,415,000.

Provision is made for additional expenditure of £2,400,000 on departmental and miscellaneous items. Savings on other items, however, are expected to limit net additional expenditure to about £800.000. Included in the provision is an amount of £269,038 for cattle tick eradication and control in New South Wales; grants towards the building of homes for the aged, £300.000; Commonwealth scholarship scheme. £144.000; a contribution towards the cost of the United Nations force in the Congo, £193,644; a contribution to the United Nations Fund for the Congo. £334.932; and a supplementary grant for the running expenses of the Australian National University, £262,800. The sum of £743.048 is provided for remission of duty under special circumstances. This refers almost entirely to duty remitted under a co-operative Australia-United States agreement for the establishment and operation in Australia of facilities for space vehicle tracking and communications.

An amount of £612,460 is sought for repatriation services, including £343,000 for medical treatment. Under Business Under takings, it is necessary to seek additional appropriations of £2,030,000 for the PostmasterGeneral's Department, but the increase in overall Post Office expenditure is not expected to exceed the Budget provision by more than £1,200,000. The major item in the increase is increased payments for the carriage of overseas mail. The additional £166,000 sought for Commonwealth Railways mainly results from increased traffic and will be balanced by higher revenue. The Australian Broadcasting Commission needs of £115,000 are mainly to meet salary increases.

The amount sought for the Territories is £593,000, comprising Northern Territory £305.860, Australian Capital Territory £138,990, Papua and New Guinea £146,300 and other Territories £1,850. There will be compensating savings totalling £265,000.

When the Budget was prepared, it was estimated that receipts of the Consolidated Revenue Fund would exceed expenditures from that fund by £125,700,000. Accordingly, provision was made in the Appropriation Act for the payment of this amount to the Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve, whence it would be available to supplement loan proceeds available for State works and housing programmes and to finance other Commonwealth commitments.

At this stage, it appears likely that receipts of the Consolidated Revenue Fund could exceed expenditures from the fund by more than the £125,700.000 originally estimated. An additional appropriation is therefore sought for payment to the Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve of an amount up to £40,000.000 over and above the £125,700,000 provided for in the Budget. There are still many elements of uncertainty as to the outcome of Consolidated Revenue Fund transactions for the year and this additional authority should be sufficient to meet all contingencies. It would provide against the most favorable outcome of Consolidated Revenue Fund transactions which could at present be envisaged but should not be taken as meaning that an improvement of this magnitude is expected. I must add that, so far as the overall Budget result for the year is concerned, any improvement on Consolidated Revenue Fund operations might well be offset by increased requirements for commitments outside the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Crean) adjourned.

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