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Thursday, 23 June 1949

Mr LEMMON (Forrest) (Minister for Works and Housing) .- The Government cannot accept the amendment.

The right honorable member for Cowper (Sir Earle Page) has stated that under this clause, the Parliament will not have an opportunity to control expenditure by the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority, but the facts are that the money required for the permanent structure will be appropriated by the Parliament each' year. In other words, a programme of works will be set out for five or ten years, and each year, the Parliament will be asked to appropriate money for the purposes of that work. Subclause 1 is required to permit the authority to carry out incidental work when the appropriation has not been sufficient. It is common practice to allow a constructing authority of the magnitude of the proposed Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority to have power to borrow money on overdraft.

Mr Anthony - Will the Treasurer make appropriations in addition to that form of borrowing?

Mr LEMMON - - Yes, an appropriation will be made each year. A farmer uses a bank overdraft as a matter of convenience. The principle is the same in respect of this authority. The total amount of the proposed expenditure on capital works will be appropriated1 each year, but the authority will have power, subject to the approval of the Treasurer, to borrow money on overdraft for certain purposes.

Mr Anthony - What clause provides that the Parliament shall make an appropriation each year for the work?

Mr LEMMON - I direct attention to sub-clause 2 of this clause, which reads as follows : -

The Treasurer may, out of moneys appropriated by the Parliament for the purposes of this Act, make advances to the Authority of such amounts and upon such terms a* lie thinks fit.

That is how the Government proposes to handle the expenditure.

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