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Wednesday, 14 April 1915

New South Wales. - Sydney, Albury, Broken Hill, Canberra, Dubbo, Lismore, Newcastle, Tamworth, and Wagga Wagga

Victoria. - Melbourne, Ballarat, and Geelong

Queensland. - Brisbane, Rockhampton, Toowomba, and Townsville

South Australia. - Adelaide

Western Australia. - Perth

Tasmania . - Hobart and Launceston

And also a branch at London, and arrangements are now well forward for opening branches at many other important centres throughout the States.

The balance still at debit of profit and loss at the. 31st December, 1914, was £23,566 16s. l1d., but it is to be remembered that all payments for furniture and fittings were charged to profit and loss, and not debited to a " capital account."

As regards the SavingsBank Department of the Bank, it has continued to progress steadily, despite the war crisis, and between the 30th June, 1914, and 31st December, 1914, the balance at credit of depositors in this Department increased by £1,362,000, an average of well over £50,000 per week, whilst the number of accounts during the same period increased by 31,666.

The steady weekly increase in this Department still continues, the total of 192,530 depositors' balances as at 29th March, 1915, having increased to £6,552,661, as against 174,809 depositors with balances of £6,007,975 on 31st December, 1914.

The Savings Bank in London was established primarily for the benefit of Australians, or intending Australians, and generally to assist emigrants leaving England for Australia, and has been almost exclusively made use of in this respect. Other persons are not encouraged to deposit with the Savings Bank Department in London, and several suggestions that the Bank should receive deposits from the public throughout Great Britain have been declined. At the time of its establishment, the British Post OfficeSavings Bank was consulted in the matter, and took no exception whatever to the establishment of thisportion of the activities of the Commonwealth Bank of London, and the friendliest reciprocal arrangements still exist with the British Post Office Savings Bank, and also with the New Zealand Post Office Savings Bank throughout that Dominion.

Agencies of the Savings Bank Department are now established at well over 2,000 post-offices throughout the Commonwealth, and arrangements are now in course of preparation for the opening of many hundred more agencies at additional post-offices.

Immediately training camps were established for the Australian Expeditionary Forces arrangements were made for Savings Bank officers from the Commonwealth Bank to visit these camps on pay days, and to open Savings Bank accounts for the soldiers, the money being available either in Australia or in England, and some thousands of the soldiers gladly availed themselves of the facilities that were afforded. At most of the camps permanent agencies of the Savings Bank have now been established, in order to meet the convenience of the men. As soon as it became known that the troops were to be quartered at Cairo, arrangements were made for the Bank's agents at the centre to cash cheques and pay with- drawals on Savings Bank accounts, and alao to enable cable remittances being forwarded direct from Australia to Cairo, and in cases where lodgments represent military pay, they are forwarded either by cable remittances, or through the Savings Bank Department free oi any charge for exchange, the facilities made available in this way have been generally availed of by friends and relatives of tho men who are with our Expeditionary Forces. Extensive arrangements are also being made to enable the members of the Forces 1- receive remittances and cash their cheques throughout Europe, as may be necessary, and also to forward remittances in local currency to men who are at the actual theatre of war, where banking facilities may, for the time being, be nonexistent.

The Season. It is pleasing to be able to mention the widespread rains that have within the past few days benefited the southern States of Australia. The rains of November and December, which broke the long dry spell of the winter and spring of 1914, covered most of Southern Australia ; but whilst the rains were continued in the Western State during January and February, over all southern, central, and eastern Australia, there was a return to the dry conditions. At the close of March, however, there were useful rains in parts of New South Wales. During April, monsoonal influences have greatly relieved- the situation by moderate to heavy rainfalls generally throughout the agricultural bolt of South Australia and the whole of Victoria and Tasmania. This re-awakening of monsoonal activity is an indication that the .period of drought has broken, when we may expect a return to more normal conditions. 1 just want to add one or two words to the statement I have read. Since that statement was printed, I am pleased to be in a position to say that, as a result of negotiations with the War Office, the Government to-day decided to offer a double medical hospital, which will provide for 1,000 beds. Arrangements tor the organization and despatch of the hospital are now being put in hand. I may also say that a number of Australian nurses have been sent from Egypt to England, and so satisfied has the War Office been with these nurses that they have asked us to supply 100 nurses to the War Office itself. That has been done. This is a very great tribute, I think, to the training which our nurses received in Australia.

Senator Long - Do you propose to send an independent dental corps as well?

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