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Tuesday, 13 November 1973
Page: 3210


Mr CREAN (Melbourne Ports) (Treasurer) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

We have introduced Supply Bill (No. 3) 1973-74 in order to obtain further appropriations totalling $35,944,000. These are needed to enable urgent payments to be made pending the passage of Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1973-74. In previous years, the Appropriation Bills have usually been dealt with and passed a good deal earlier than this. A recent exception was in 1971, and additional supply was obtained then. I mention also that since Appropriation Bills have to be passed by both Houses - the Senate as well as the House of Representatives - the operation of the Senate Estimates Committees is a factor to be considered. I understand that the Senate Estimates Committees will not finish their deliberations until at least the end of this week.

Supply Act (No. 1) 1973-74 appropriated a total of $1,556,348,000 for salaries, administrative expenses and other services of departments in the period 1 July 1973 to 30 November 1973. In a number of instances, and for a variety of reasons, these appropriations have proved insufficient.

Salary increases amounting to some $46m which have had to be paid in the supply period have been funded under section 4 of the Supply Act (No. 1) 1973-74, but there are some substantial salary requirements which cannot be met from that provision, such as salary increases to staffs of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, the Australian National University and the Australian Broadcasting Control Board. These amounted to $5,288,000. Not only have there been substantial increases in rates of pay, but also staff changes resulting from the re-structuring of departments, the establishment of new departments and an increased tempo of activity have put additional pressures on the supply appropriations.

In other areas, too, the level of expenditure has been higher than could have been reasonably anticipated. For example, the Department of Education requires an additional $1,834,000 to meet payments under the assistance scheme for isolated school children, and for Aboriginal secondary grants and study grants. In those cases, the numbers of applicants coming forward during the period have been greater than was estimated.

The Department of the Army requires a further $3,733,000 to meet additional gratuity payments and bonuses on re-engagement as well as to compensate for an under-estimate due to a change, as from 1 July, in the method of accounting for recoveries of charges for rations and quarters. For similar reasons an additional $2,243,000 is being sought for the Department of Air. An amount of $2,691,800 is required also to meet a claim from the State of Victoria for advances for servicemen's housing - a claim which normally is made much later in the financial year.

The remaining items detailed in the Schedule to the Bill are in general required to cover costs of staff increases and underestimates of other requirements pending the availability of the amounts included in the Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1973-74. I commend the Bill to honourable members. I seek leave for the debate to continue.







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