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Wednesday, 22 August 1906

Mr REID (East Sydney) .- I should like to point out a rather unsatisfactory feature in connexion with these Estimates. I 'refer to the fact that votes are passed, and that the conduct of the Department seems to show either that they ask for a much larger sum than is necessary, or that they are neglectful of their duty in that they fail to carry out works for which Parliament has made provision. The subdivison relating to Tasmania, which is now under consideration, shows the same disproportion as exists in connexion with the total sum for the division. Last year, under this subdivision, £3,196 was asked for by the Government as a sum . which it would be proper to expend in the twelve months ending 30th June, 1906. The actual expenditure, however, amounted to only £1,373. In these circumstances, we either voted more than twice the amount that was required, or works which ought to have been constructed have not yet been carried out. . The same observation will apply to the whole of these Estimates. We voted for these services last year £66,500, but only £33,000 was actually expended. The result is that re-votes amounting to £22.500 are sought by the Government. I have two suggestions to make. Either the Government should not ask for more than thev can spend during the financial vear, or, having asked for and! obtained a certain vote, thev should see that it is expended - not recklessly, but in carrying out the works of which Parliament has approved. When votes are not expended the finances of the States are sometimes seriouslv disarranged - disarranged occasionally to the advantage of the States Treasurers, and sometimes to their disadvantage.

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