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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Senator McBRIDE (South Australia) (5:19 AM) . - I move -

That the words and figures " New South Wales, £15,356,000 " be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words and figures "New South Wales, £13,726,000."

On the information available to us, it appears that the Government has not taken into consideration the relief which has been aff orded the Government of New South Wales in respect of social services which have already been taken over by the Commonwealth Government and other services which will be taken over by the Commonwealth as from the 1st July next. In the financial years 1939-40 and 1940-41, the cost of the State child endowment scheme to the Government of New South Wales was £1,337.020 and £1.337,489 respectively, and the cost of widows' pensions to that Government in 1939-40 and 1940-41 was £630,721 and £609,037 respectively. The State will also be saved a considerable sum in respect of the cost of administration of those schemes. The total cost to the State Government in respect of both those services in the years 1939-40 and 1940-41 was £2,0S0,000 and £2,032,000 respectively, or an average expenditure for the two years of £2,056,000. The special committee recognized that relief had been given to the States in respect of that expenditure, and it recommended to the Government, which accepted the recommendation, that an amount of £427,000 be deducted from the amount of compensation to be paid to New South Wales. However, no explanation has been given - and, so far as I know, there is no explanation available - as to why the balance of the expenditure of which the State has been relieved has not been deducted from the amount of its compensation. I also draw attention to the fact that, as the result of Commonwealth war expenditure in New South Wales, the State Government has been relieved of considerable expenditure in respect of other social services. Is 1939-40, the State unemployment relief tax yielded £5,588,696, and in 1940-41, £6,341,836. In the former year, an amount of £2,200,000 was expended from that revenue for works undertaken to afford relief for the unemployed, £370,000 for food relief, £100,000 for clothing, and £603,000 on relief work provided by the Sydney Water Board. I am informed that in that year £5,819,000 was expended in the provision of relief for the unemployed. It must be admitted that the unemployed problem has now practically ceased to exist in New South Wales. 1 admit that it is difficult to ascertain exactly the amount of relief afforded to the State in this respect, and, consequently, I do not include any amount in respect of that item in the sum by which I propose the amount of compensation to be paid to that State under this measure be reduced. However, for the reasons I have given, we are justified in asking the Government to reduce the amount of compensation to New South Wales by £1,630,000.

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