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Tuesday, 8 November 1904

Mr MCDONALD (Kennedy) - I understood that the honorable and learned member for Parkes wished to know what was the intention of the Government in regard to the post-office clocks which had fallen into disrepair, and I do not think that the Minister has fully answered his question. We have no assurance as to what will be done with the £6,000 provided for supervision of works. We know that, although the States receive certain payments in respect to public works carried out by them on behalf cf the Commonwealth, many of their officers, who have to supervise these works, are practically sweated to a very large extent. They are asked to do a great deal more than they would have had to do had Federation not been established.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Home Affairs) - They used to do all this work before.

Mr MCDONALD - But the Departments are growing, and, apart altogether from increased demands made upon them by their own States, the States officers are being required to attend to additional work for the Commonwealth. Their salaries are not being increased. It seems to me that we should as far as possible appoint Commonwealth officers to supervise all our own works, and that such a system would be more satisfactory than is the present arrangement. We are under an obligation to the States, and while, no doubt, they have been very generous in allowing their officers to attend to any urgent call on the part of the Commonwealth, complaints have beenmade that works which should have been expeditiously carried out have been delayed owing to the failure of the States PublicWorks Departments to prepare the necessary plans. I think it is only reasonable that we should pay the States for services rendered to the Commonwealth, and that, 'in order that we may know the exact cost of Federation, we should require the States to pay for all services rendered to them by the Commonwealth.

Proposed vote agreed to.

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