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Wednesday, 23 September 1936

Senator ARKINS (New South Wales) . - Although I have not any direct knowledge of the work carried out by the Commonwealth Public Works Committee, I am conversant with the valuable service rendered to the Parliament of New South Wales by a similar committee in that State. The New South Wales committee has been abolished largely in response to the demand for economy, and because it was thought that certain members of Parliament were receiving additional remuneration for the service they rendered. The consequence is that in recent years many millions of pounds have been expended 'on public works on the advice of departmental officers. Such works should have been investigated by a parliamentary committee, and a report submitted to Parliament. The Commonwealth Parliament made a mistake in abolishing the Public Works Committee, because many of the large public works proposed to be undertaken should be scrutinized in order to see if economies cannot be effected. I trust that the Government will invite the Parliament to restore these very valuable adjuncts to Commonwealth administration. The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) should realize that the superstructures of some of the buildings which he says should be built would now be visible had the projects been investigated by a public works committee.

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