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Tuesday, 19 December 1905

Senator PLAYFORD (South Australia) (Minister of Defence) . - Of course, this question has occupied the attention of the

Government. In the first place, the Victorian Government gave us the use of their printing-office absolutely rent free, and in the second place, they have an exceedingly large plant.

Senator Croft - It is a very poor plant - by comparison, it is almost obsolete.

Senator PLAYFORD - There is a large plant which we use, and they use our plant. Undoubtedly our plant, being modern, is more up to date than the State plant, but the great advantage of the present arrangement to the Commonwealth is that when a rush of work takes place we have an immense plant of which we can avail ourselves. We should have to make a very considerable addition to our present plant in order to cope with a g,!Ut of work. The Treasurer has looked into this matter, and come to the conclusion that the present arrangement is more economical than the establishment of a printing office. We have had a great deal of trouble in connexion with the renting of premises. Melbourne is not' our abiding home; it is only a temporary abode, and we really do not want to erect a big building, to be used for only a short time. It is doubtful whether we could get a useful building for our purpose without having to make considerable alterations therein. So far as I can ascertain, the Departments are getting their work done more economically and better than they could if we were to establish a printing office of our own. But I shall ask the Treasurer to look into the matter again, and see whether, in the circumstances, we could not rent premises, establish our own' office, and do our own work at a reasonable rate. If. however, the State and the Commonwealth' can use a' building equipped with machinery belonging partly to one and partly to the other, and mutually assist each other and work economically, why should we not do so in preference to establishing an institution of our own?

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