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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Mr JOLLY (Lilley) (5:22 AM) .As a matter of interest, I ask the Treasurer what arrangements have been made for making reimbursements to the States in connexion with the new uniform income taxation scheme. I appreciate the fact that the bills embodying this plan have not yet become law, but I assume that it will be necessary to make some payments to the States before the end of the period for which the Government, asks supply.

Mr Chifley - I do not expect to have any difficulty in that respect. We shall be able to pay the States enough to enable them to carry on.

Mr JOLLY - I assume that, as all income taxes will come into the Consolidated Revenue, disbursements to the States will have to be included in the estimates of expenditure to be passed by Parliament. The Treasurer will need approval for any payments that he wishes to make to the States.

Mr Chifley - I remind the honorable member that normally income tax revenue would not be received by the States until early in 1943. Therefore, I do not anticipate any trouble, but if payments have to be made they will come from Treasurer's Advances.

Mr JOLLY - I urge that an adequate check be made of all items of the huge amount of expenditure earmarked for the purpose of the war.

Mr Conelan - Can not the Parliamentary Committee on War Expenditure do that?

Mr JOLLY - No. As a member of the committee I have had an opportunity to investigate war expenditure, and I appreciate the difficulty of obtaining the necessary staff to carry out an adequate check. 1 recall that, in one case which came to the committee's notice, a proposal for the expenditure of £6,000 on a war project, which was approved by another government, eventually cost the country £34,000. When the committee drew attention to the fact, the Government took action.

Mr Dedman - Nothing like that happens now.

Mr JOLLY - The committee's investigations have shown that a close chock is not made of war expenditure. There are indications that the nation is not obtaining full value for the money that it is expending. The Auditor-General complains that his staff is inadequate to provide a close check on this expenditure, but that staff merely checks expenditure after it has been made. I contend that we should maintain a close watch on war expenditure as it is made. It is no good to learn afterwards that money has been wasted. We should take steps to prevent extravagant expenditure.

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