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Tuesday, 8 November 1904

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Home Affairs) . - Perhaps I may add to the explanation I gave when this matter was formerly discussed in a thin Committee by stating, in the first place, that the increases provided for under . the classification scheme will not be paid until honorable members have had an opportunity to approve of the classification.

Sir William Lyne - Then why should we be asked to vote the increases ?

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Home Affairs) - One reason is that it was. thought desirable that honorable members should know the extent of theexpenditure involved under the classification scheme. Another reason is that the Estimates were really prepared by our predecessors, and that if an alteration had been decided uponby us, the reference back to the various Departments would have involved such delay that it would, have been impossibleto present the new Estimates within a reasonable time. Therefore,the increases have been provided for in the

Estimates, but a reduction has been made to cover what may not be paid during the present financial year.

Mr Watson - If the classification be approved of, the increases will have to I e paid as from the beginning of the current financial year.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Home Affairs) - Yes. as from 1st July last. I desire to point out that the whole of the salary increases provided for in Subdivision No. 1 of the Department of .the Public Service Commissioner are not due to the classification scheme. The total of the increases is ,£383, of which amount ,£213 represents increments under the Public Service Act, irrespective of the classification. The Secretary of the Department has no increase. The Registrar has an increase of £20 under the classification scheme, and the Examiner has an increase of .£50, made up of £10 ordinary increase and £40 under the classification scheme.

Mr Tudor - Why should he receive an ordinary increase of ;£io?

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Home Affairs) - That is the ordinary increment. One ' clerk is to receive an increase, not from £260, as would appear from the Estimates, but from .£285 to .£310. That is not exactly a mistake. .£285 was the actual salary received by the officer last year. Honorable members will see that provision was made upon last year's Estimates for increments and adjustment of salaries to the extent of £65, of which £58 was expended, and an ordinary increment of £25 to the officer in question was provided for by that means. Therefore, the actual increase which he is given under the classification is £25. Another clerk for whom £285 is provided is to receive an increase, not under the classification scheme, but by way of ordinary increment, .of £2$. Another clerk who is to receive £260 will derive the benefit of an ordinary increment of ,£15, and an increase by classification of £25. The next item of £210 includes an ordinary increment of .-£20, and a further item of £160 includes an ordinary increment of ,£20. Two clerks, who receive salaries of £60, are entitled to an ordinary increment of ^10 j another in receipt of the same salary is to derive the advantage of an ordinary increment of £8 and a classification increment of £*o. Therefore the increases by classification will amount to £170, and the increments due to statutory advancement to ^213.

Mr Page - That does not affect my objection to Che increments proposed under the classification for the Registrar, the Examiner, and one clerk.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Home Affairs) - I should like to point out that the Commissioner, in forming his staff, had opportunities of selecting from the, whole of the Commonwealth Departments the men whom he deemed best qualified for the work he had to perform. Naturally he chose those who in the judgment of their superior officers were the most able men for his purpose. Their salaries remained at their State levels or-

Mr Tudor - No. The Examiner received only ^200 a year when in .the employ of the State Government.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Home Affairs) - The salaries of some officers remained at their State levels, whilst those of others were increased in proportion to the greater importance of their duties.

Mr Page - The salary of the Examiner has been doubled.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Home Affairs) - I think that I explained that matter to the honorable member the other evening. Upon that occasion I emphasized the qualifications of the Examiner, and the important nature of the work which he has to perform. I also pointed out that he is in receipt of a lower salary than the officer who occupies a similar position in the New South Wales Public Service. When he undertook the classification of the service, the Commissioner had to estimate the value of these officers' work, and I have his assurance that he has placed no higher valuation upon it than he has upon that of the work of other officers in the service. If they have risen more rapidly than have others he explains that it is due to the fact that in his selection he chose officers, not according to their grade in the service previously, but according to their qualifications and capacity. He has now graded them upon those qualifications, and upon the capacity demanded by the work which they are performing. I merely desire to put these facts before the Committee, because some honorable members were absent when I spoke upon this matter upon a previous occasion.

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