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Wednesday, 26 March 1941

Senator McBRIDE (South Australia) (Minister for Supply and Development) . - The conditions mentioned by Senator Allan MacDonald operate under an agreement arrived at between the States concerned and the Commonwealth. Until the States actually use the annexes, no interest is charged, but when used by the States, the interest payable will be 4 per cent, for ten years, at the end of which period the annexes will be handed over to theStates. Depreciation is written off at the rate of 10 per cent, per annum. That arrangement was approved by the States, and I suggest that it is a very good arrangement from their point of view. Ten per cent, depreciation is a very high rate for annexes and plant of that kind.

Senator Allan MacDonald - It is a reasonable rate.

Senator McBRIDE - It is a very generous rate, and the States themselves apparently think so, because they have agreed to the conditions.

Senator Allan MacDonald - Much of the machinery will not last more than ten years.

Senator McBRIDE - I think it can be assumed that most of it will last much longer than ten years.

On the 13th March, Senator Darcey asked the Minister representing the Treasurer the following question, upon notice: -

Is it a fact that since the war started the private banks have taken up £32,000,000 of government securities and £23,000,000 of treasury-bills, a total of £55,000,000, and that during that time the Commonwealth Bank has reduced its holding of government securities by£ 9,200,000?

The Treasurer has supplied the following answer : -

The latest issue of the Commonwealth Bank's Statistical Bulletin shows that between August, 1939, and January, 1941, the trading banks increased their holdings of government securities and treasury-bills by £34.2m. and £21.6m. respectively. Apart from short-term treasury-bills, the holdings of which fluctuate between the Commonwealth Bank and the trading banks, the amount of government securities held by the Commonwealth Bank and the Commonwealth Savings Bank has increased since the outbreak of war.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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