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Tuesday, 27 October 1964
Page: 1321

Senator CANT (Western Australia) . - I wish to refer to Division No. 825 - Real estate management. The expenditure on rent last year was £762,620, and an appropriation of £941,000 is sought for this year. In round figures this represents an increase of £200,000 in rent for premises occupied by the Postal Department. In the building in which the Commonwealth offices are situated in Perth, a sec-tion of the Postal Department is occupying rooms that were previously occupied by the Department of Trade and Industry and by the Department of Primary Industry. [ understand that those Departments moved out of the building because they considered that the rent was too high. Now we find that the Postal Department which operates under business practices, has moved into these premises and, if my information :s correct, is prepared to pay the higher rental.

The Government told the people that in this financial year it would spend an extra £77 million on Post Office services, and it has also said that the amount of capital invested in the Postal Department is £556 million. Yet this year the Department is paying in round figures an additional £1 million in rent. There is no reason to suggest that this amount will not be equalled or exceeded in forthcoming years.

I am particularly concerned with the accommodation in Perth that I have mentioned. It the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Primary Industry considered that the rent was too high, and if they were able to rent cheaper premises elsewhere, why is the Postal Department, which operates on revenue on which interest is charged, paying the high rental? Increased charges have been made for the facilities provided by the Postal Department, with the exception of the ordinary postage services which will be increased as soon as decimal currency is introduced. I am concerned that the rent has increased by approximately £200,000 this year, and I would like to know the reason for the increase.

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