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Thursday, 20 May 1965

Senator McKENNA (Tasmania) .- I propose to offer only a few brief comments on the Bill. The Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Henty) detailed to the Senate amounts totalling £126,074,000, which are to be appropriated under this Bill for the ordinary annual services of the Government in 1964-65. He gave us the detail but did not tell us the overall effect that the transactions are likely to have upon the Consolidated Revenue Fund, so I worked it out for myself on the figures supplied. 1 will put my findings on record. The Minister's speech indicated that, in the matter of departmental services, expenditure will increase by £13.6 million but that it is expected that there will be savings, on other heads, of £9.5 million. Under the heading of capital works and services the Bill provides for increased expenditure of £7.790 million, but the Minister said there will be savings on other items of £2.5 million. In the Service departments there will be additional expenditure of £16.2 million and savings of £8.7 million. On business undertakings there will be additional expenditure of £2.6 million and an anticipated saving of £1.7 million. There will be additional expenditure of only £.7 million on Territories and savings of £.2 million. Then there is additional expenditure, under Treasury, of £85 million for the Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve account. By adding together the figures that the Minister gave I reached a total of £125.9 million. That is a little short of the £126.074 million to be appropriated, but I well realise that the difference may have been lost in the calculation by fractional amounts. Taking the figures mentioned in the Bill, the measure authorises the expenditure of an additional £126.074 million and the anticipated savings on other items, not dealt with in the Bill, will amount to some £22.6 million. So it would seem that the net effect on the Consolidated

Revenue Fund will be to increase expenditure to the tune of £103.474 million. It is not unusual to have these variations, because life is not static and new needs develop. Quite a number of the items the Minister referred to are matters which have arisen suddenly during the currency of the year. A feature of the Minister's speech and of the appropriation that appealed to me was the indication of the surplus revenue anticipated. At the time when the Budget was before us it was thought that some £65.2 million would be available for transfer to the Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve. The Minister's speech has now indicated that revenue is likely to exceed that amount by a fairly considerable sum.

The Bill proposes the very important step of appropriating, in advance of anticipated need, another £85 million from Consolidated Revenue, to be transferred to the Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve. That indicates that Consolidated Revenue will exceed the anticipations of the Government by an appreciable sum. At the same time, we are told that the loan proceeds have not realised anticipations, that there will be a considerable fall in them, and that Consolidated Revenue will have to find up to about £85 million to bridge the gap.

I do not want to go into all the uncertainties of the question of how the Budget will come out on 30th June, but from the little that the Minister has said it would appear that the outstanding features of the Budget will be a very substantial increase in revenue and, owing to a falling off in loan proceeds, a decline in loan moneys, the decline having to be made up by the provision of additional revenue from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. I lingered rather long over the last sentence of the Minister's speech, which reads -

It would provide -

He was referring to the additional authority to transfer £85 million from Consolidated Revenue to the Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve - against the most favorable outcome of Consolidated Revenue Fund transactions which could at present be envisaged but should not be taken as meaning that an improvement of this magnitude is expected.

Certainly I had to ponder that for a considerable period. My interpretation - I trust that the Minister will express his view of it - is that the taking of £85 million extra out of revenue is in anticipation of the Government's greatest hopes for increased revenue being received, but we must not take it that the increase will be as high as that - it may be less - and if we now transfer the £85 million we may finish with a deficit on the year. I was rather intrigued with the way in which the proposition was framed and I had to reduce it to express terms of pounds, shillings and pence so that it might penetrate duly.

We do not oppose the Bill. We support it with pleasure.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In Committee.

The Bill.

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