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Wednesday, 7 December 1927

Senator CRAWFORD (Queensland) (Honorary Minister) . - I wish, first, to say a few words with respect to the statements that have been made regarding the cost of converting Yarralumla into a residence for the GovernorGeneral. As honorable senators are aware, I represent in this chamber the Minister for Works and Railways, who is a member of another place. I have no doubt that they also are aware that the work at Yarralumla, and in other parts of the Federal Capital Territory, is not the responsibility of the Minister for Works and Railways, but of the Federal Capital Commission, which is under the Minister for Home and Territories. I shall bring to the notice of that Minister the representations that have been made, and I see no reason to doubt that the matter will be investigated, and that the information which honorable senators seek will be furnished to them.

The vote for the conveyance of members of Parliament and others represents an increase on last year's provision of £6,950. During the financial year, 1926-27, the annual charge for a member's pass was increased from £120 to £150, to date from the 2nd October, 1926. The payment of £120 on behalf of each member was made from the year's appropriation, pending a decision by Cabinet in regard to the increased rate. On these Estimates provision has been made for a further increase, to £160, from the 1st July, 1927, together with the arrears due in respect of the 1926-27 increase. Honorable senators will thus see that an additional £40 per member, together with arrears, has had to be provided for.

Senator Payne - The States were given an extra £60 a member two years ago.

Senator CRAWFORD - The provision for the maintenance of members' rooms represents an increase of £4,010. That increase is due to the establishment of rooms for the use of members in Temple Court, Melbourne. The estimated expenses in connexion with the establishment of those rooms are as follow : -


To that amount has to be added the sum of £S72 for rent of rooms, Commonwealth Bank, Sydney, which was previously charged to rent of buildings, Prime Minister's Department. It has been provided for under this subdivision in consequence of a Treasury direction that all expense in connexion with the maintenance of members' rooms must be shown under that heading. The actual amount required to meet rentals in respect of properties occupied by Government departments is £80,715, which is £14,925 in excess of the appropriation for 1926-27. The amount of the vote is £5,000 less than the total of the liabilities, but it is anticipated that this saving .can be effected because the accounts for the month of June are not submitted until the following month. The increase of £14,925 is due principally to the heavy rentals that have to be paid for office accommodation for "the departments at Canberra. The following Canberra rentals will be necessary for the first year, but at the end of that term they will be subject to review in the light of the experience gained : -


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