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Wednesday, 30 November 1983
Page: 3122

Question No. 611

Dr Klugman asked the Special Minister of State, upon notice, on 11 October 1983 :

(1) What has been the total expenditure by the (a) Commonwealth Government and (b) Victorian Government on the Royal Commission into the activities of the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union.

(2) What is the estimated future expenditure by the (a) Commonwealth Government and (b) Victorian Government on the Royal Commission.

(3) In respect of payments to the Royal Commissioner (a) what sum (i) has been paid and (ii) will be paid, (b) on what basis are they made, (c) how do they compare with the cost of a Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria, and (d) have the Royal Commissioner's fees increased since the so-called wages freeze.

Mr Beazley —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) (a) Total identifiable expenditure by the Commonwealth to 30 September 1983 was $7,483,986. This includes assistance to parties appearing before the Royal Commission.

(b) The Victorian Government is meeting the costs of the Victorian Instructing Solicitor and Victorian Police Officers who have been seconded to the Royal Commission. I have no knowledge of the expenditure involved.

(2) (a) An amount of $1,008,708 remained unexpended at 30 September 1983 from that provided in the Budget for the period to 31 December 1983 when the Commission was earlier expected to complete its operations. The estimated cost of the Commission beyond that date is not yet available.

(b) See 1 (b) above.

(3) (a) (i) $1,003,750 to 8 October 1983.

(ii) It is estimated that $97,500 will be met until 31 December 1983.

(b) When Mr F. X. Costigan, QC, was originally appointed as Royal Commissioner on 1 October 1980, the previous Government set a daily fee of $1,200. That Government increased the daily fee to $1,300 on 1 July 1981 and then to $1,500 on 1 February 1982. $1,500 is the current fee.

(c) It has been the policy of successive Victorian Governments not to make Victorian Judges available for Royal Commissions. I understand that the annual salary of a Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria is $76,450 and there is, in addition, an annual allowance of $3,666 payable. The total payments of $80,116 per annum do not of course include any overhead costs.