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Wednesday, 1 October 1902

Mr HENRY WILLIS (ROBERTSON, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I take it that the duty of a superintendent is to supervise the construction of the most extensive works throughout the State. Such a man must have the technical knowledge of a civil engineer; he must be able to take out quantities, know what work should cost, and also know when work is done according to specification. A man may be a "good fellow" and highly respected by the Minister, but it does not follow that he is competent to supervise the construction of public works. That a State like New South Wales should accept an officer at a lower salary than is paid to a similar officer in Victoria is a suggestion which I can scarcely believe is serious ; and £600 a year is little enough for the duties to be performed in the former State. I take it that the officers appointed for the other States will not necessarily be paid much less than is paid to the Superintendents in Victoria and New South Wales, seeing that it is likely they will be transferred from one State to another ; for instance, that the Queensland officer will supervise the Northern Territory and possibly Tasmania, while the South Australian Superintendent will do work for Western Australia. I hope, therefore, that provision has been made for adequately paying these Superintendents, who, unless they have the necessary technical knowledge, will not be fit for the position.

Mr. R.EDWARDS (Oxley). - I take it that the reduction suggested is not intended to apply to the officer appointed for Victoria. If that be so, it is very unfair to the other three Superintendents, and I shall not be able to support the amend-, ment. These are positions of considerable responsibility, and ought to be filled by able men. It is not likely that for £400 a year we shall be able to get capable professional men who have had to spend Some 3'ears in qualifying themselves. If they do accept the position at such a salary they will be dissatisfied and render unwilling and unsatisfactory service. It would be better for the committee to pass the vote as it appears in the Estimates, seeing that on the average it does not amount to £500 for each Superintendent.

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