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Wednesday, 18 November 1936

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister for External Affairs) [10.7].- I move-

That the bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this bill is to grant financial assistance amounting to £500,000 to the States. This grant will be made from the excess revenue of 1935-36, as forecast in the budget speech. The grant, which is nonrecurring, is to be distributed among the States on the basis of population. The amount to be received by each State is as follows : -


The grant is being made under circumstances somewhat different from those of the non-recurring grants made in 1934-35 and 1935-36. The grants then made, namely, £2,000,000 and £500,000 respectively, were given to relieve the budget deficits of the States, but relief in that direction is not now so urgently required. In this connexion it is interesting to note that the State deficits, which were at the. peak of £18,310,000 in 1931-32, were reduced to- £3,810,000 in 1934-35, aud approximately £2,430,000 in 1935-36, while it is expected; that in 1936-37 even r lie last-mentioned figure will be very greatly reduced. . lt is now not possible to borrow moneys' for Government purposes with the same facility us it was two or three years ago, and the -Commonwealth is therefore making the grant as a relief to i lie borrowing position of the States. The Commonwealth makes no stipulation as to whether the money should be taken to revenue account or to loan account; but it does stipulate that it should be used as an offset to borrowing, either for works or for revenue deficits. No condition to' this effect has, however, been inserted in the bill. No other condition is imposed on the grant.

Debate (on- motion by Senator Collings) adjourned.

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