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Tuesday, 27 October 1964
Page: 1306

Senator ANDERSON (New South Wales) (Minister for Customs and Excise) . - Senator Wright referred to Division No. 853, sub-division 5, item 16, City Omnibus Service. He drew attention to a book-keeping device whereby a subsidy of £6.1,000 was shown on the side of income and he asked whether the loss of £87,000 on the running of the service, if you took into account the subsidy of £61,000, should have been shown as a loss of £148,000. That was the honorable senator's question, as I understood it.

Senator Wright - No. The real question I asked was whether the actual cost to the taxpayer was the loss of £87,000 plus the subsidy of £61,000.

Senator ANDERSON - That is putting it another way. The answer to the question is that the subsidy of £61,000 is a genuine entry because it is paid from another department in relation to a service that is provided for the transport of children. This amount is transferred from Division No. 856, subdivision 3, item 02 and is to meet the cost of transporting children to and from school. This is an appropriate charge to the education vote. The estimated loss of £79,000 for 1964-65 is attributable to the cost of transporting school children - a service which we subsidise. So, the situation is not quite as grim as appears on the surface.

Senator Tooheyraised a question relating to Lake Burley Griffin, and the unfortunate movement that occurred in the retaining wall. With regard to the stone wall adjacent to the Canberra Yacht Club, there was plenty of evidence during the heavy wind storms that a very long stretch o!f the lake coincided with the direction of the major wind. Quite heavy wave actions were observed, and the waves broke heavily against the new stone wall with water flooding behind the wall where the settling of the filling was taking place. The combined effect of ponding behind the wall and erosion at the tail of the underwater filling led to about 100 feet of this wall collapsing into the lake. The National Capital Development Commission called for an immediate investigation by the designers, and remedial work was arranged for in two stages. The first stage was to protect, by loose stones, the soil behind the broken area of wall. The second stage was to rebuild the wall on a satisfactory extended stone base. In addition, the experience of the considerable wave action on this most exposed section of the lake foreshores indicated the desirability of having some stone rip-rap to break down wave action in front of the wall. This work is proceeding expeditiously also; the cost is estimated to be of the order of £5,000. The work will be completed in two or three weeks depending on weather conditions.

The only other matter with which I wish to deal was raised by Senator Wright under Division No. 853, subdivision 6, item 09, private schools - reimbursement of interest on capital borrowed for construction and extension of school buildings. The amount appropriated for 1964-65 is £106,500. Senator Wright asked under what statute or regulations this reimbursement operated. I am not in a position to answer that question at this stage. I am not aware of any statutory provision under which assistance is provided for private schools. Details of the scheme are not available but can be obtained. Broadly, the arrangement is that the Commonwealth Government reimburses private schools in respect of interest incurred on money borrowed for school construction and extensions. This reimbursement is subject to a certain maximum rate of interest, and a time limit is imposed.

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