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Tuesday, 27 October 1964
Page: 1304

Senator ANDERSON (New South Wales) (Minister for Customs and Excise) . - Senator Dittmer asked a series of questions in relation to the Canberra Community Hospital.

Senator Dittmer - A series of serious questions.

Senator ANDERSON - Yes, a series of serious questions. I have not yet been able to obtain the answers and therefore 1 must accept the honorable senator's offer to answer him in a communication subsequent to this debate. That will be done. Senator Benn asked about the Canberra abattoir services, and I have some information for him. The estimate for 1964-65 is £53,100. This provides for salaries and the general expenses incurred in the day to day running of the abattoirs, and for repairs and maintenance undertaken on account of the abattoirs by the Department of Works. The estimated expenditure for 1964-65 and the cash receipts from the abattoirs operations during 1963-64 are shown. The revenue received is credited to the A.C.T. health revenue. I have a break up of the amounts. The cost of wages and salaries has risen from £18,001 to £20,250, which is a. significant increase..

The cost of coal for power has risen from £4,632 to £6,000. I am taking a few items at random to give the picture. The cost of repairs and maintenance was £5,994 in 1963-64 and the estimate for 1964-65 is £14,800. That is a significant figure, and 1 have a break up of the estimate for this year.

For urgent minor operational and recurring maintenance the estimated cost is £3,000. For minor repairs and maintenance - individual items between certain specified amounts - the total is £4,000. Reroofing of the cattle holding yards will cost £7,000 and reroofing of the by-products section will cost £800. Repairs and maintenance for this financial year will cost £14,800 compared with £5,994 last year. Revenue is obtained from blood and bone, killing charges and so on. lt is £61,950. The number of beasts slaughtered was 132,209. That is the general picture. There has been an increase in the cost of electricity and water, in the cost of repairs and maintenance, in salaries, in the cost of coal and so on.

The honorable senator also asked about the Canberra City Omnibus Service, which :has incurred a loss. That is not peculiar to this service. The loss in 1963-64 was £87,300. lt will be less in 1964-65 because of a fare increase which is allowed for. Fares cannot be increased to a level which will meet all the losses. A substantial fares increase would nullify the prospect of getting close to a balanced budget. The problem confronting the Canberra omnibus service is a problem which confronts all other omnibus services. If you increase fares, you gain something in revenue in that way, but you lose through a drop in patronage. This is a dfficult problem.

The honorable senator referred also to Lake Burley Griffin. There was an underexpenditure last year in this matter because of the delay in the filling of the lake. That there was a delay we all know to be a fact. The lake at the moment is a thing of sheer beauty. Even Senator Benn and I, who are very canny with our money, would reckon any money , spent on Lake Burley Griffin to be money well spent. If the honorable senator wants further information I have some here, but I think I have said enough.

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