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Thursday, 15 December 1983
Page: 3884

Senator MESSNER —I direct a question to the Minister for Social Security. It follows the information that he provided to the Senate yesterday after Question Time. During Estimates committee hearings this year did the Minister make it quite clear that special funds for expenditure in relation to Government programs were to be used, at the direction of the Minister for Finance, to pay for the recruitment and training of staff required for the proposed assets test? How is it that at least 369 new recruits, all of whom are from Victoria, are being paid from the principal salaries appropriation of the Department? Can the Minister explain why payments were not effected in the manner he outlined at the Estimates committee?

Senator GRIMES —Like previous Ministers for Social Security in this place, I do not attempt to keep a daily or weekly tab on just what appropriation what money comes out of. But I appreciate that the question is an important one and I will attempt as soon as possible to get for the honourable senator, from the appropriate section of my Department and probably from the Minister for Finance, the reasons for the allocation of that amount of money from that vote.