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Wednesday, 1 October 1902

Mr A C GROOM (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) - I notice that the rent payable by the Commonwealth amounts to £21,200. Out of that sum £12,403 is paid in respect of New South Wales. That seems to me to be altogether out of proportion, and I should like the Minister to give us some information, upon the point.

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The item to which the honorable member refers includes £9,500 for rent of postal buildings in New South Wales.

Mr A C GROOM (FLINDERS, VICTORIA) - Why should we have to pay more in New South Wales than in any of the other States ?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I caused the Postmaster-General to make a special inquiry into the item as affecting New South wales in order to see whether or not any mistake had been made. I thought at first that it represented rent payable to the Railways Commissioners, and fixed by rule of thumb, for railway buildings used also for postal purposes. I find, however, that only a very small proportion of the amount is payable in that way. The bulk of it is payable in respect of rent of post-offices all over New South Wales. The same remark will apply, although not to the same extent, to all the other States. All rents payable in respect of any buildings are brought under the Estimates of the department of Home Affairs. The honorable member will see that the sum of £21,200 represents the cost of buildings rented, not only for my department, but for. all departments.

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