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Thursday, 20 April 1972
Page: 1970

Mr Hayden asked the Minister for Social

Services, upon notice:

Will he provide me with an estimate of the cost of administration of each programme maintained by his Department and in each case indicate the cost expressed as a percentage of (a) the total cost of administration and (b) the total cost of each programme.

Mr Wentworth - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

Estimates and expenditure of the Department are maintained under the Treasury accounting system which does not include costing on a programme basis for this Department. The duties of many staff members, particularly in regional offices, cover functions related to the whole range of the Department's activities. Because of this, costing on a functional basis would be relatively expensive, would require significant additional staff and would not contribute materially to the Department's main administrative objective of progressive improvement in the standard of service to pensioners and other clients. Mainly for these reasons proposals for the introduction of costing on a functional or programme basis as supplementary to Treasury accounting has been deferred in favour of strengthening staff more directly concerned with providing service to the public.

In 1970-71 administrative expenditure of the Department was approximately 2 per cent of expenditure on benefits when payments to various beneficiaries amounted to $l,I32m and administrative costs were $23.9m.

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