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Friday, 30 May 1902

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not object to this gratuity, if the work done is worth the money. I wish to point out, however, that £30,000 is a very large sum to have to pay to the State of Victoria for our printing.

Sir George Turner - It is not paid to the State of Victoria ; it is paid in wages and for material. All we pay to the State of Victoria is £3,600.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does the Treasurer know what the cost of printing will be during an ordinary session? If we have to pay £30,000 a year to get our printing done by the Victorian office, the sooner we get a department of our own the better.

Sir George Turner - The cost would be nothing like £30,000 in an ordinary year, when Parliament would probably sit only six months, whereas we have already been sitting for more than twelve months.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The expenditure uponprinting is bound to increase in any case. We have inaugurated a Public Works department for which a great deal of lithographic and photographic work will require to be done, and this will tend to increase the cost of printing.

Sir George Turner - That work will be done by the State, and we shall pay the actual cost of it. The States have had to do the work in the past.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The point is that we shall have to foot the bill, and the printing department is certain to grow to very large proportions. It is time that the Treasurer seriously considered whether he should not take steps to inaugurate a Commonwealth printing department.

Sir George Turner - If honorable members fix upon the federal capital site we shall commence to build a printing-office at once.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It will take two or three years to make the preliminary arrangements, because it will be necessary to secure a good man to report as to the best class of plant to employ, and to generally organize the department. We find that the printing of Hansard and the Parliamentary papers alone costs £30,000 a year, and we shall probably find that this item will be increased by 50 per cent. in two or three years. I do not believe in paying the States to do work of this kind, and I can see no economy in the present arrangement, because, apparently, everything is charged for at the highest possible rates. The printingofficein New South Wales costs about£60, 000 per annum, and must do at least three or four times as much work as that for which we are paying in connexion with the printing ofHansard and the Parliamentary papers. I am not saying that the New South Wales printing-office would do the work more cheaply than it is now done by the Victorian department, nor do I say that the Victorian Government are overcharging us. What I maintain is that we should study economy by establishing a printing-office, over which we should have absolute control.

I find that there is one item here for the cost of a machine, and I should like to know if that belongs to the Federal Government.

Sir George Turner - Yes ; it is ours absolutely, and it saves a lot of money. It is operated by our own officers.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I thought we had no men of our own.

Sir George Turner - Of course we have. We have our. own printers and bookbinders.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Do they work for the State also?

Sir George Turner - No ; but they are under the control of the Government Printer.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The sooner we inaugurate a printing department of our own the better. The cost of the printing will increase as the functions of the Federal Parliament multiply, and we should have some check upon our printing establishment so as to exercise control over its expansion.

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