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Thursday, 30 August 1928

Dr EARLE PAGE - It is a fact of which all the State budgets give proof. It might be urged that this saving has been effected at the expense of deferring the payment of some of the debts, but this is quite a small matter compared with the great- advantages of establishing Sinking Funds on the uniform sound and adequate basis which is provided for in the agreement. The immediate saving to the taxpayer, important as it is, is insignificant beside the benefits that will ultimately accrue from the establishment of the loan transactions of the Commonwealth and the

States on a basis which must inevitably result in the enhancement of our joint credit.

It is a matter for gratification that the vexed problem of Commonwealth and State financial relationship has now been solved by an agreement with the States in which the transfer of debts has been linked up with the payments to the States. The Governments and the Parliaments of the States and the Commonwealth may well view with satisfaction their work in securing this businesslike settlement of the most important branch of our national finance.

It now only remains for the people of Australia to signify their acceptance of the proposed alteration of the Constitution at the forthcoming referendum, so that they will permanently reap the benefit of what has been described, both abroad and in Australia, as the most advanced and statesmanlike financial scheme that has ever been put forward in Australia.

A brief summary of the agreement with supporting tables will be found on pages 118 to 120 of the budget papers.

The States Grant Act 1927 provided a special grant of £378,000 for the State of Tasmania for the financial years 1926- 27 and 1927-28. The question of granting Tasmania further assistance was discussed with the Premier of that State, and as a result of those discussions, the Commonwealth agreed to provide a grant of £220,000 for the current financial year. This substantial reduction on the grant previously paid has been rendered pos.sible as a result of some of the benefits of the financial agreement and the improved financial and industrial position of Tasmania generally. The legislation necessary to appropriate the grant of £220,000 will be introduced in the immediate future.

A royal commission is at present investigating the claim of South Australia for financial assistance from the Commonwealth.

Federal Aid ROADS

The Federal Aid Roads policy adopted in 1926 provides for the Commonwealth finding £20,000,000 and the States £15,000,000 over a period of ten years for the construction of main roads to open up and develop new country, trunk roads between important towns, and arterial roads to carry the concentrated traffic between developmental, main, trunk, and other roads. A programme of road construction covering 893 roads and involving an expenditure of £8,795,984 has already been approved, the allocation of the expenditure between the various types of roads being: -


The mileage of road works completed under the scheme to the 30th June, 192S, was 3,577.

Estimated REVENUE, 1928-29.

Having examined the expenditure under Part I. of the budget, and having ascertained the contributions from general revenue required to meet the deficit on Business Undertakings and Territories of the Commonwealth, and the payments to or for the States, it is clear that the services of the year will require a total revenue of £63,610,000, which it is expected will be derived as follows: -


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