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Friday, 10 October 1902

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - If I were to submit full details of the proposed scheme I. should occupy a considerable time, but in view of the statements made in reference to the direction in which retrenchment should take place 1 think it is due to myself that I should present a summary of the proposed scheme. On referring to Hansard I find that last week I stated -

I undertake to reduce the expenditure for the present year as stated, and to reduce the Estimates for next year by £62,000...... I give my word, which I hope the committee will accept . . . that the reductions will be made, not in the direction which some honorable members seem to fear, but mainly in the expenses of the administration staff. I cannot give particulars now, but I shall take care that the spirit of the debate to-night is reflected in the reductions, and that honorable members shall not be in any way hoodwinked or misled.

Later on I said -

The Estimates include rifles and warlike stores, but do not embrace the construction and maintenance of works. The leader of the Opposition says that it is desired that the reduction which is to be effected this year shall not apply to the provision which is mode for warlike stores. That is not intended, and will not be done. Next year a little more or a little less money may be appropriated for warlike stores, according to the requirements of the year. I reduced the amounts provided on the Estimates for the purchase of warlike stores quite as low as I felt justified in doing, and the reductions to be made in accordance 'with the wish of the House will be effected in connexion with the administration, from the Head-quarters Staff downwards.

That is the gist of what I said. I do not want honorable members to think that the whole reduction can be made in the cost of the administrative staff. In order to show that this i3 so, I have had prepared a' return showing the cost of the administrative staff, including all" permanently employed officers and non-commissioned officers, other than permanent artillery and permanent engineers. The total is £72,148, including State staffs; and it is manifest that, on such a sum, it would be quite impossible to make a reduction of £62,000. I have received from the General Officer Commanding, a report suggesting reductions in order to effect a saving of £62,000. A summary of that report shows that it is proposed to reduce the Head-quarters Staff by two officers and one clerk. In each of two of the States, a commanding officer has been retired under the provision as to age limit, but I do not think I ought to mention names. In the administrative and instructional staff it is proposed to do away with ten positions for commissioned officers, made up of four in New South Wales, two in Victoria, and one each in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania. Of these ten positions, four are already vacant, so that only six officers would retire. It is proposed to dispense with the. services of fourteen warrant and non-commissioned officers, made up of nine in New South Wales, two in Queensland, one in South Australia, and two in Tasmania ; and to reduce the establishment of the permanent artillery by ten officers and 363 non-commissioned officers and men. The establishment of the artillery is now short by seven officer's, and about 100 men, and these vacancies, which would not be refilled, are included in the proposed reductions. The establishment of the permanent artillery would then remain at 33 officers, and 660 non-commissioned officers and men. It is proposed to reduce the permanent engineers by three officers - two of these positions are at present vacant - and by four noncommissioned officers and men. A reduction in contingencies is expected by £6,436 ; in the cost of camps of instruction, £6,025 ; and in expenditure on uniforms for reservists, New South Wales, £800.

Mr Crouch - Are there no reductions in the civil branch 1

Sir WILLIAM LYNE - -I believe it is proposed to dispense with one or two clerks in the civil branch. I have told the General Officer Commanding that the Headquarters Staff, and also the Head-quarters Staffs in the States must "be still further reduced to a considerable extent. I have suggested that a conference should be held, or that the General Officer Commanding should devise some more simple method of dealing with the business, especially in the States, so as not to necessitate the passing of so many papers, which compels the employment of numerous clerks.I give the House this information in order to protect myself, and to show what steps have been taken in regard to the recommendations already made.

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