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Wednesday, 16 November 1938

Mr Casey y. - On Wednesday, the 9th November, the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Makin), asked the Treasurer the following questions, upon notice : -

1.   How many persons are engaged at present with the National Insurance Branch?

2.   How many have been transferred from the following departments: - Prime Minister's Department, Pensions Branch, Taxation Branch, other branches of the Treasury, Audit Office, and Trade and Customs Department?

The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows. -

1.   Permanent, 92; temporary and exempt, 11.



Canberra: Allowance to Residents in Government Hostels.

Mr Lyons - On the 20th October, the honorable member for Griffith (Mr. Baker) asked the following question, without notice : -

Will the Acting Leader of the House State whether it is a fact that female members of the Commonwealth Public Service residing in government-controlled hostels in Canberra, receive an allowance of 5s. a week, whereas others who are unable to obtain accommodation in such establishments and are thus obliged to reside in private establishments, do not receive the additional amount? If this be the case, will the right honorable gentleman approach the Commonwealth Public Service Board and make arrangements with it for the payment of the allowance to all female members of the Commonwealth Public Service who have to reside in Canberra?

I desire to inform the honorable member that female officers of the Commonwealth Public Service receiving not more than £250 per annum who reside at a Commonwealth hotel or boarding house in Canberra receive an allowance at -the rate of £13 per annum in accordance with Public Service Regulation 97b (3). The regulation does not apply to persons residing elsewhere than at Commonwealth establishments, and those persons are. not therefore eligible to receive the allowance mentioned. The Commonwealth boarding establishments in Canberra at the present time are Hotel Kurrajong and Gorman House. At the former place the minimum rate of board is 36s. a week: at the latter 30s. a week, hut guests who pay that rate are required to clean and look after their own rooms. In present circumstances the provision for payment of the allowance is being continued at the two establishments mentioned, hut its extension to cases in which female officers board privately is not contemplated.

Shipbuilding Industry: Departmental Report.'

Mr Lyons s. - On the 8th November, the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley) asked me the following question, without notice : -

Can the Prime Minister make available a report which the Customs Department possesses in regard to the question of shipbuilding in Australia? A report on this subject, I believe, was submitted by an officer of the department a little while ago.

As promised, I have looked into the honorable member's request. The position is that, following the receipt of a Tariff Board report in connexion with shipbuilding, the Department, of Trade and Customs had inquiries made in order to obtain information additional to that contained in the Tariff Board's report. This additional information ha.s since been obtained. The Government expects to deal with this question- and to indicate its intentions in regard thereto at an early date, after which the tabling of the Tariff Board's report may be expected.

Co-ordination of Defence Services.

Mr Lyons - On the 10th November, the honorable member for Watson (Mr. Jennings) asked me the following question, without notice: -

Will the Prime Minister state what is the attitude of the Commonwealth towards the suggestion made yesterday in the Parliament of New South Wales by Brigadier-General Lloyd, that there should be a State Minister for Co-ordination of Defence Services and Supplies?

T have now had an opportunity of looking into the suggestion of Brigadier-General Lloyd, that there should be a State Minister for Co-ordination of Defence Services and Supplies. Under the Constitution, defence is a Commonwealth responsibility, and it is considered that there is no need for a State Minister for this purpose. In regard to the co-ordination of defence services and supplies, I would point out that, as the fighting services and the Munitions Supply Board are included in the one Defence Ministry, adequate means for the fullest co-operation already exist.

Public Telephones.

Mr Archie Cameron n. - On the 8th November, the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) made certain inquiries as to the conditions governing the installation of public telephones.

I am now in a position to inform the honorable member that applications for additional public telephone facilities are dealt with in accordance With the standard basis outlined below : -


If the estimated revenue is insufficient to justify the facility, the residents should be given the opportunity to make good the deficiency from year to year

Technical Training of Unemployed Youths.

Mr Casey y. - On the 10th November, the honorable member for Fawkner (Mi. Holt) asked the following question, without notice: -

In the last financial year, this Parliament voted the sum of £200,000 for the technical training of unemployed young men, of which £57,000 was apportioned to the State of Victoria, the Government of that State undertaking to .provide a similar amount. From information supplied to me, I find that in that ' financial year, only £3,048 was expended by the Government of Victoria on this account, and that since then only £11,952 has been expended on the purpose for which the money was provided. Can the Treasurer indicate whether any attempt is made by his department to supervise the expenditure of thin money, to see that it is devoted to the Purpose for which it is intended 1

The information desired by the honorable member is as follows: -

The Commonwealth lias been in constant touch with the State governments regarding the schemes in connexion with which the Commonwealth grant for the technical training of unemployed youths is being utilized and has received reports in . relation to the progress of the schemes and the expenditure thereon. All amounts expended in this connexion are subject to the usual audit by the State Auditor-General.

In order that the Commonwealth may be in a position to decide upon the amount required from time to time to enable the schemes to proceed, the States have been asked to furnish a statement at the end of each quarter indicating the expenditure up to that date, the amount of the Commonwealth and State grants remaining unexpended, and an estimate of expenditure for the following three months.

In regard to the case of Victoria, I would invite attention to the reply given by me on the 3rd November to a question by the honorable member. It was then explained that, owing to the preliminary work involved, the Victorian Government had been unable to commence the work of training until March, 1938, but that 650 youths were undergoing training, and new classes were being formed as rapidly as accommodation and machinery could be made available.

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