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Wednesday, 21 October 1964

Senator COOKE (Western Australia) . - I wish to refer to Division No. 896 - Miscellaneous Services. In his report for the year ended 30th June 1964 the AuditorGeneral directed attention to the present transitional stage of Papua and New Guinea. He stated -

Section 8 of the Act provides that both Territories shall continue to be Territories under the authority of the Commonwealth and the identity and status of Papua as a Possession of the Crown and the identity and status of the Territory of New Guinea as a trust Territory shall continue to be maintained.

The Act referred to is the Papua and New Guinea Act 1949-1963. The AuditorGeneral continued -

In accordance with section 1 1 there shall be expended in each year, upon the administration, welfare and development of the Territory of New Guinea, an amount which is not less than the total amount of public revenue raised during the year in respect of that Territory.

Receipts from public revenues of the Territories are available for expenditure and a grant to the Administration towards expenses is made by the Commonwealth.

The grant has been audited, and the figures set out in the Auditor-General's report agree with the figures contained in the Estimates. I have noted that in addition to the grant, in 1963 the Department of Works spent £2,637,534 and the Department of Civil Aviation spent £1,187,069 in the Territory. The figure for the Department of Works includes £1,482,275 capital expenditure, of which £416,086 was spent on behalf of the Department of Civil Aviation. Can the Minister inform the Committee what was the total expenditure in Papua and New Guinea last year, including the additional amounts to which the Auditor-General has referred? Is there to be an allocation to Papua and New Guinea in addition to the grant which is shown in the Estimates? Can the Minister inform the Committee what public revenue is raised in New Guinea? How is the ratio of expenditure as provided for in the Act being maintained? Papua and New Guinea is -going through a period of transition towards, we are told by the Government, self-government and indepen dence. To what degree is that trend reflected in the revenue collected and in the moneys expended in the Territory? What is the proportion of Australia's contribution to Papua and New Guinea to the public revenue raised in the Territory, which is now administered by the House of Assembly and provided by Australian taxpayers?

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