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Friday, 18 September 1936

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Postmaster-General) . - I move -

That the bill be now read a second time.

In the budget speech delivered by the Treasurer, the Government's works proposals were announced for the year 1936-37, including those financed from revenue, trust and loan funds. Details of these works will be found on pages 276- 287 of the Estimates. Corresponding details are set out in the schedule to the Appropriation (Works and Buildings) Bill.

Thisbill deals only with the new works chargeable to the revenue account. A further bill will be submitted later to provide for certain works expenditure which the Government proposes should be paid for out of loan moneys. The total proposed expenditure on public works, &c, in 1936-37, as detailed in the budget speech and in the Estimates, is £7,684,305, as compared with £5,236,537 actually expended last financial year, an increase of £2,447,768. New expenditure is to be provided for as follows : -

The bill now submitted proposes an appropriation from revenue for new works as follows: -

The increase of the proposed appropriation for revenue works in the current year over expenditure in 1935-36 is £953,297.

The amount required for defence is £1,117,772 and is in addition to the amount of £1,952,000 which will be expended from the Defence Trust Account which, as honorable senators know, is financed from the excess revenue receipts of previous years.

The appropriation recommended for postal works is £1,750,000. A much greater amount could profitably be devoted to this service which is definitely reproductive. The necessity, however, for a balanced programme, with due regard to all interests, forbids a greater allocation to these works. A further £600,000 for postal works will be included in the works loan hill for the year. The total proposed expenditure for postal, telegraphic and telephonic works is thus £2,350,000.

The increase of £278,709 in the provision for territory works is due mostly to the necessity for a developmental policy in regard to both the Federal Capital



Territory and the Northern Territory. It is proposed to inaugurate a programme of works, extending over some years, with a view to the eventual transfer of all Commonwealth departments to Canberra. Additional funds are also being provided for the development of the Northern Territory, particularly in respect of mining. Full information with regard to the specific works proposed to be undertaken during this year will be made available, if desired, during the committee stage of the bill.

For many years it has been the practice to deal with the new works proposals of the Government as soon as possible after the budget speech hasbeen delivered, and without waiting for the general budget debate. This course is being followed by the Government this year in view of the desirability of commencing the proposed new works at an early date. Having regard to the fact that the total proposed expenditure on public works considerably exceeds that of last year, it is particularly desirable that the new works should bo considered promptly. I commend the proposals of the Government to the Senate.

Debate (on motion by Senator Colli ngs) adjourned.

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