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Wednesday, 23 November 1927


Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) . - It appears to me that a great deal of the money which will be spent under this scheme will be borrowed money.


Senator Sir George Pearce - Then the honorable senator does anticipate that we will spend more than £1,000,000 a year?


Senator FINDLEY - The Commonwealth Government cannot spend a penny except through the State authorities. But assuming that the State Governments amend their existing legislation to allow of this, practically all the money required will have to be raised by loan.


Senator Sir William Glasgow - Does the honorable senator not anticipate any increase in the deposits in the Commonwealth Savings Bank?


Senator FINDLEY - Let us go into this matter in a business-like way. Fifty per cent, of the increased deposits in the Commonwealth Savings Bank will be made available under this scheme for the purposes named in the bill. As far as two States are concerned there will be no money available from that source.


Senator Sir William Glasgow - Nonsense! '


Senator FINDLEY - It is not nonsense. The Minister does not understand the position. I have given careful attention to this bill, and I am familiar with the amalgamation agreement between the

Queensland State Savings Bank and the Commonwealth Savings Bank, and I know that under that amalgamation agreement 70 per cent, of the increase in deposits in the Commonwealth Savings Bank is ear marked, and the remaining 30 per cent, is to be expended in directions stipulated by the State Treasurer. Tasmania has a similar agreement, so that there will be no money available from increases in deposits in those two States.


Senator Sir George Pearce - That 30 per cent, is not under the State Treasurer. It goes into the general Savings Bank funds.


Senator FINDLEY - But under the amalgamation agreement a board of advice was created consisting of a director of the Commonwealth Savings Bank and the Treasurer of Queensland, and in all cases 30 per cent, of the increased deposits has been spent as the State Treasurer directs. Now we come to the increased deposits in the Savings Bank in the other four States. The amount of money to the credit of the Commonwealth Savings Bank is £47,000,000, of which £22,000,000 is deposited in Queensland. Increased deposits in the Commonwealth Savings Bank will not be sufficiently great to merit serious consideration. The reason for this is that the rates of interest in the State Savings Banks are higher, and in all the States those entrusted with the management of the State savings banks do everything they can to suit the convenience of depositors. In addition to giving a higher rate of interest, they provide facilities' for the thrifty to deposit their savings on Friday evening, the night on which most of the workers are paid. In the case of the Commonwealth Savings Bank most of the branches' are in post offices, the doors of which are closed on Saturday afternoon and on Friday evening. They do not cater for the people in the same way as do the State savings banks. While the deposits in the State savings banks are increasing enormously, there is no marked increase in those in the Commonwealth Savings Bank.


Senator Sir George Pearce - There was an increase of £2,000,000 last year.


Senator FINDLEY - What is £2,000,000? It is a mere bagatelle as compared with the increases in the Victorian State Savings Bank. That bank has a reserve of over £2,000,000, and its deposits amount to £60,000,000, as compared with £47,000,000 in the Commonwealth Savings Bank for the whole of Australia. Even of that sum, by far the larger portion is derived from Queensland and Tasmania, where there are no State savings banks, and where the people have no choice but to deposit their money with the Commonwealth Savings Bank. Of that £2,000,000 increase, nothing like 50 per cent, will be available for housing, as most of the money in respect to Queensland and Tasmania has been already allocated. We may take it, then, that practically all the money required under this scheme will be borrowed, and it could be borrowed through the Federal Loan Council apart altogether from this bill. This bill provides for a purely borrowing scheme, and it is all fudge to say that £1,000,000 a year will be available from the increase of deposits in the Commonwealth Savings Bank of Australia.

Senator Sir WILLIAMGLASGOW (Queensland - Minister for Defence) [9.57]. - I have already pointed but that if the increase of deposits in 1925-26 is maintained, there will be available from the Commonwealth Savings Bank a sum of £1,000,000 for this housing scheme. On 30th June, 1926, the total funds of the Commonwealth Savings Bank amounted to £47,000,000. Of that sum £40,000,000 was invested in Commonwealth, State, and local bodies' securities. Of the loans which fall due and are not renewed 25 per cent, will be available for the scheme under this bill. Therefore, there will be a considerable sum of money available almost immediately without borrowing; but if the demands from the various State or local government authorities who wish to come under the scheme are greater than the amount obtainable from the 50 per ' cent. of the increase in deposits, and 25 per cent, of the loans falling due and not renewed, the Government will certainly have to borrow.







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