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Friday, 2 July 1920

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) . - After the interesting events of the day it is too late now to start on fresh business. In moving -

That the House do now adjourn,

I should like to convey to honorable members a piece of pleasant information concerning the financial transactions of the year, which ended on the 30th June. To my way of thinking the year's operations have ended satisfactorily in every way. Our revenues have increased remarkably; from Customs and Excise we received this year £4,000,000 in excess of the Budget Estimate. I have always believed that the Budget Estimates were on the conservative side, the anticipated receipts being nearly always exceeded; I have rarely known them in my twenty years' esperience in this House to be overestimated.

Mr Tudor - The receipts have never been so great as they were last year.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - They have never reached anything like the colossal proportions of last year's figures. We received last year, in Customs and Excise revenue, £21,640,000, or £3,890,000 in excess of the Budget Estimate. No doubt the new Tariff accounts, in some measure, for that increase, but high prices are, I think, largely expressed in the figures. I am glad to be able to announce that the income tax receipts for the year totalled £12,850,000. We anticipated receiving from that source only £10,500,000, so that the increase over the Budget figures was £2,350,000. Many arrears from past years have been paid into revenue. That speaks volumes for the spirit of our people, who, notwithstanding the ravaging drought which has raged over a large part of the continent, have stood up to their responsibilities in this way, and paid amounts that were due from former years. No doubt high prices have again helped, and I apprehend that we may look forward to continued high prices for primary products for some time to come.

Mr.Riley. - I hope the Acting Treasurer is wrong.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Navy) - I know of some honorable members in the Comer here who hope that I am right. When we hear of butter being sold in London at 240s. per cwt., we can still anticipate a distinct rise in the prices of some things. The reason is that, to-day, the world is still hungry, and many coun tries are in want of those thingswhich we, in this happy land, have in abundance. I think we should congratulate ourselves, not only upon our attainments during the lastfinancial year, but upon the prospects for the future. Of course, the expenditure also was greatly in excess of the Budget anticipations. That was due largely to big increases in the war pensions and old-age pensions, but notwithstanding these heavy advances in expenditure, we anticipate that the year's transactions will disclose a credit balance of about £2,000,000. We commenced the financial year with an accumulated surplus of £3,476,478. There is unavoidable delay in completing the accounts for the year, owing to the fact that there are in London huge accounts to be balanced, the final figures of which do not reach us for several days after the financial year has terminated. For that reason the figures I am quoting are only approximate. But we anticipatethat whenall accounts have been balanced we shall have an accumulated surplus of between £5,000;000 and £6,000,000. I am looking forward to the appropriation of that sum in connexion with next year's account towards meeting the heavy expenditure to which we are still liable in consequence of the war. At this moment our attitude should be one of gratification for the manner in which the people have respondedto their liabilities, and particularly for the factthat we live in a country that isso happily circumstanced.

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