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Thursday, 27 November 1941

Senator FRASER (Western Australia) (Minister for External Territories) [4.28 J. - I move-

That the bill be now read a second time.

The Supplementary Estimates for the year ended the 30th June, 1940, which have been tabled, cover the items of expenditure for which no specific parliamentary approval has been given, but which were met temporarily from Treasurer's Advance pending submission to Parliament in the form of these Estimates. ,

For the year 1939-40, the usual provision in the Estimates in Chief under the heading " Advance to Treasurer " was increased to £4,000,000 owing to the war. That amount enabled the Treasurer to meet those urgent and essential services, including war expenditure, which could not be foreseen and which, therefore, were not included in the main Estimates. Particulars of this unforeseen expenditure in the form of Supplementary Estimates are now submitted for covering appropriation by Parliament. As copies of these Estimates are being circulated among honorable senators, I do not propose at this stage to refer to the items in detail.

Of the amount of £4,000,000 voted for Treasurer's Advance in 1939-40, £2,239,029 was expended on ordinary departmental services and war services payable from revenue, whilst £126,145 was used for additions, new works and buildings, for which latter sum Supplementary Estimates will shortly be submitted separately.

Although in this bill Parliament is being asked to appropriate £2,239,029, the expenditure for the year was only £1,409,242 more than the total provision for ordinary services in the main Estimates and the additional Estimates of £9,000,000 for war purposes which were introduced in May, 1940. This is because in many instances the new expenditure was made contingent on savings of similar amounts in other items. In other words, straight-out savings were possible. Defence and war services account for £1,715,000 out of the amount of £2,239,029, included in the bill.

Full details of the expenditure which is now submitted for approval have already been furnished to Parliament in the Estimates and budget papers for 1940-41. The Estimates compare the amount voted for 1940-41 with the actual expenditure for 1939-40, whilst the budget papers also record the expenditure.

Details were also included in the Treasurer's financial statement for 1939-40 which has been tabled for the information of honorable senators.

In order that honorable senators will have an assurance that these Estimates are based upon properly audited accounts, it is the practice to await the report of the Auditor-General on the accounts of the year under review. The Treasurer's financial statement, which contains full particulars of these Supplementary Estimates, was forwarded to the Auditor General on the 8th October, 1940, and the Auditor-General's report was laid on the table of the House on the 27th March, 1941.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and passed through its remaining stages without requests or debate.

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