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Wednesday, 2 March 1932

Mr STACEY (Adelaide) .- As a supporter of a government pledged to a policy of strict governmental economy, I have no hesitation in bringing before the notice of honorable members the undue loss of revenue at Canberra. From page 47 of the statement of expenditure from loan fund, Federal Capital Territory, it will be seen that the year's expenditure for administration, including interest and sinking fund payments, amounted to £650,827, while the ordinary revenue derived from rent, rates, fees, and services, &c, amounted to £180,168, or a deficiency of £470,659. Adding loss on hotels, &c, £52,740, and on transport, £9,013, the total charge to the taxpayers is £532,412 compared with a loss of £347,354 last year; the increase being £185,085. I wish to refer at this stage to the serious loss incurred on the hotels. As the Government is pledged to economy in governmental expenditure, I suggest that a select committee representative of both sides of the House be appointed to make an investigation and report to the House as to the advisability of handing over the control of the hotels to private enterprise. This is another instance in which it is clear that the Government is better out of business. Assuming that the initialcost of the hotels Canberra and Kurrajong would be about £127,000, interest at 5 per cent. per annum would amount to £6,350. Allowing £5,000 for depreciation and contingencies for the year, the handing over of the hotels free of rent to private enterprise would save the taxpayers £41,000. I believe that every honorable member on this side of the House is with me in my effort to reduce governmental expenditure at Canberra.

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