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Friday, 11 September 1942

Senator ASHLEY - The Minister for the Navy has supplied the following answers : -

1.   Yes. The dependants of only one member of the canteen staff qualified as in 2. below.

2.   Whilst not technically members of the naval forces, members of the canteen staff of His Majesty's Australian ships do in fact form part of the fighting organization of the ship and are detailed for action stations in common with members of the naval forces. In view of the fact that non-combatants such as Bed Cross, Salvation Army and Young Mens Christian Association officials attached to the fighting forces are eligible for pensions, the Government gave a similar approval for members of the canteen staffs provided it was established that the dependants were in necessitous circumstances. In the case referred to above the maximum pension is being paid, i.e., £4 4s. per fortnight for the widow and £1 per fortnight for the child.

Senator LAMP asked the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy, upon notice -

1.   Is it a fact that canteens are let by tender on His Majesty's Australian ships?

2.   If so, why?

3.   Will the Minister review this policy with a view to having an up-to-date canteen system conducted by the Navy Department?

Senator ASHLEY - The Minister for the Navy has supplied the following answers : -

1.   Yes. The practice is for applications to be invited from persons willing to conduct the canteen. The applicant whose qualifications are most suitable is chosen. He pays a standard rental on a per capita basis according to the number in the ship's complement. The rental is credited to the ship's fund and used for the welfare of the men. Prices are controlled through a canteen committee, and tenure is subject to satisfactory service. In small ships, however, the canteen is conducted bya canteen committee, on a co-operative basis. 2.Experience has proved that this system is suitable to the naval service.

3.   The whole question of service canteens was recently reviewed for consideration of Cabinet and the present arrangements applying were approved.

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