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Friday, 25 November 1910

Senator CHATAWAY (Queensland) . - The Vice-President of the Executive Council has referred to the only item of interest in the Bill. It appears that , £34,000 is to be expended in the purchase of land and the construction of a building in Melbourne for the Commonweal th. The rents paid at the present time for buildings occupied by the Commonwealth amount in the aggregate to £9,917.

At 6 per cent., this, roughly speaking, represents a sum of £[150,000. In Sydney, we spend nearly the same amount in rent, and I should like to know why it is proposed to undertake this expenditure in Melbourne alone, in order to save rent. I say frankly that I think it is because it is proposed that the £[34,000 should be spent in Melbourne. In Brisbane, the Commonwealth pays nearly £[1,500 in rents, which would represent interest on a considerable sum that might be invested in Commonwealth buildings there. I think we should be told why it is proposed to expend this money in this way in Melbourne.

Senator McGregor - I can tell the honorable senator.

Senator CHATAWAY - At the present time the Commonwealth is paying approximately £10,000 per annum for rentals in Melbourne, and .£8,500 in Sydney. Why, then, should it purchase land and erect buildings upon it in Melbourne alone? In Brisbane, too, the Commonwealth pays a considerable sum annually as rental. The Government propose to expend £[27,000 in erecting Commonwealth buildings in Melbourne upon a block of land which is to cost £[7,000-. As their object is to save the rentals which the Commonwealth is now paying in this city, I desire to know why a similar course is not to be adopted in Sydney ?

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