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Tuesday, 4 September 1906

Senator DOBSON (Tasmania) . - In my second-reading speech I said that in my opinion there is something wrong in the way in which these Estimates are always prepared, inasmuch as the re-votes invariably amount to a very large sum. The Minister will see that in the case of New South Wales we aire asked by the Post and Telegraph Department to re-vote the sum of £8,147, when the new votes amount to only £4,982.

Senator Pearce - That is owing to the fault of the Department of Home Affairs in not getting the money spent within the financial year.

Senator DOBSON - Again, in the case of Victoria, a sum of £13,197 was notspent, and we are asked to pass new votes to the extent of £11,059. My experience of estimates for public works has been that the officers, whether road inspectors or otherwise, put down a number of items which they are informed are wanted ; the Minister goes through the items, and cuts them down, knowing that economy is essential, and then in Cabinet they are cut down again. It appears to me that in the case of the Federal estimates for public works everything" which has been mentioned or suggestion is put down, and that every year we vote thousands of pounds which cannot possibly be expended within the year. In my opinion that system is likely to lead to carelessness and extravagance, and to create in the minds of our citizens the impression that they have only to ask the Government for a post-office or a rifle range when it will be granted. We ought not to vote a large sum if only about onehalf of it can be spent within the year.

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