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Thursday, 18 August 1960

Mr THOMPSON (Port Adelaide) . - I present the following report of the Public Accounts Committee: -

Forty-seventh Report - Broadcasting and Television Services (underspending of Capital Works and Services Division No. 58 - Item 1).

This report, based upon public inquiries undertaken by the committee late in 1959, deals with the programme for new transmission buildings, equipment and so forth for the national broadcasting service and, in particular, examines the substantial underspending of the Budget appropriations for this programme in the three financial years 1956-57, 1957-58, and 1958-59. These appropriations are an element of the Commonwealth civil works programme.

The report reflects a state of affairs not infrequently disclosed by the committee's regular and detailed investigations into the underspending of particular Budget appropriations. In this instance, we have concluded that the main reasons for the underspending in the three financial years in question were deficiencies in the preliminary planning of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board and the Postmaster-General's Department, and the failure of these authorities to comply strictly with the forward planning and programming arrangements associated with the civil works programme. The committee is of the opinion, too, that strained relationships in these particular matters between the PostmasterGeneral's Department and the Treasury have not assisted the situation.

However, we consider that, with better use of the forward planning arrangements and a greater degree of co-operation between all the parties concerned, a recurrence of the persistent and substantial underspending of this vote should be prevented.

I commend the report to honorable members and move -

That the paper be printed.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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