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Friday, 30 April 1971

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON (New South Wales) (Minister for Supply) (3.17) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

With the concurrence of honourable senators,I incorporate my second reading speech in Hansard.

The purpose of this Bill is to obtain Parliamentary authority for expenditure in the current financial year for which provision was not made in the Appropriation Act (No. 1) 1970-71. The total appropriations sought in this Bill amount to $120,968,000. The Schedule to this Bill is the same as that contained in the document entitled 'Particulars of Proposed Provision for Additional Expenditure for the Service of the Year Ending 30 June 1971', which was referred on 7th April for examination by the Senate Estimates Committees. Although additional appropriations are being sought, actual expenditure will not exceed the amounts included in Appropriation Act (No.1) 1970-71 by $120,968,000. As a result of measures taken to reduce Commonwealth expenditure this year, and for other reasons, it is expected that savings of about $50m will be available in existing appropriations to offset the additional appropriations now proposed.

It is not possible, for reasons associated with parliamentary control over the appropriation of moneys for specified purposes, to utilise these savings as an offset in the sense that the total new appropriations sought can be reduced to a net figure in this Appropriation Bill. Thus I am seeking parliamentary authority for additional expenditure in the divisions, subdivisions and items set out in the Schedule to the Bill. To the extent that an item of any annual appropriation is unexpended the appropriation lapses at 30th June in accordance with section 36 of the Audit Act 1901-1969. I think that honourable senators should recognise the fact that when the then Prime Minister announced on 16th February the Government's intention to reduce expenditures in 1970-71 by $75m in the remainder of the financial year, the revised Estimates as at December 1970 indicated a net increase of $242m in expenditure since the Budget was prepared. This is the primary reason why, despite the cut-back in

Government spending, it is necessary to ask the Parliament for additional appropriations.

This Bill - and the companion Bill - deals only with annual appropriations of the Consolidated Revenue Fund. It does not deal with special or standing appropriations; nor does it involve the Loan Fund. The reductions announced by the Prime Minister, on the other hand, relate to Commonwealth spending as a whole. In referring to the intended reduction of $75m in total Commonwealth spending, I should make it clear that at the time it was recognised that further commitments would arise and would need to be considered against the background of the Government's decision. Since then, the Government has approved further commitments but, for the most part, these are special appropriations and are thus not included in the Appropriation Bills (No. 3) and (No. 4). As the various items included in this Bill have been examined by the Estimates Committees, I propose to refer only to some of the major provisions.

The additional requirement for departmental salaries is $32. 3m and provides for increases in salaries arising from the national wage case, increases in salaries for the Third Division of the Commonwealth Public Service and increases arising from other arbitration determinations, reclassification of offices and additional staff positions approved earlier in the financial year. Further appropriations totalling $13. 6m are required for departmental administrative expenses, including $2.1m for overseas representation;$1. 5m for rents; $0.5m for consultants and architects fees; and $2.3m for increased allowances and other benefits for overseas officers of the Papua New Guinea Public Service as a result of the flow-on of recent salary increases in the Commonwealth Public Service. The balance is made up of a considerable number of appropriations each of which is less than $500,000.

Additional appropriations amounting to $20m for departmental other services include $1.7m for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation; $1.3m for Commonwealth scholarships; $1.9m for educational purposes in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory mainly for increases in teachers' salaries; $lm for aid to Pakistan and Cambodia; $1.2m for embarkation and passage costs for migrants; $2.5m for broadcasting and television services; $1.2m for war and service pensions and allowances; $1.3m for other repatriation benefits; and $2.8m for grants under the Aged Persons Homes Act. The balance is made up of a number of appropriations each of which is less than $500,000.

Additional appropriations from the Consolidated Revenue Fund totalling $55m are sought for defence services, including about $35m for increases in Services pay and allowances and increases in salaries of civilian staff, arising mainly from the national wage case and other determinations. However, it is expected that there will be savings of $26m in other defence appropriations and $17m in the Loan Fund. In part these arise from a lower than expected rate of expenditure under the United States Defence Credit Agreement and as a result of rephasing of and lags in both orders and deliveries of defence goods; and to agreed reductions in Commonwealth expenditure in response to the request of February 1971. It is expected that total expenditure from the Consolidated Revenue Fund and Loan Fund on defence services in 1970-71 will exceed the Budget estimate by about $12m. I commend the Bill to honourable senators.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In Committee

The Schedule.

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