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Wednesday, 2 November 1927

Senator ELLIOTT (VICTORIA) asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice: -

1.   In reference to the answers given by the Minister on the 6th October to Question No. 7 asked by Senator Grant on the 5th, is it to be understood that the Federal Capital Commission is losing at the rate of £10,813 per annum on houses erected by it?

2.   If so, how long has this continued, what is 'the total amount of loss accrued to date, and what is being done to minimize such loss?

Senator Sir WILLIAMGLASGOW.The answers are as follow: -

1.   The amount of £10,813 was the annual rental value of the houses completed but unoccupied at the time of answering Senator Grant's question. Many of such houses have been allotted to public servants yet to arrive; a reserve is available to meet the requirements of public servants who deferred their choice until after arrival and have not yet made selections, and of new appointees: and to provide forunforeseen demands arising out of contingencies such as marriages of officers, changes from hotel accommodation to residences, and other developments. The position is altering from day to day.

2.   Most of the houses are being constructed under large contracts and they have been completed at varying dates. A certain loss of rental was inevitable under the conditions obtaining, by which contracts had to be let many months in advance of transfer of officers the actual dates of whose transfer were fixed later to suit a scheme of transport and the convenience of departmental arrangements. Moreover, changes were subsequently made in the personnel of officers coming to Canberra. Some desired to occupy different houses after arrival, and others elected to live in boarding houses rather than in homes. It is expected that the houses will gradually be absorbed as explained in ( 1 ) , and the commission will be prepared to dispose of any balance to the general public.

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