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Wednesday, 1 August 1906
Page: 2155

Mr GROOM (Darling Downs) (Minister of Home Affairs) . - I pointed out in my second-reading speech that it was impossible to say exactly what the meteorological service throughout Australia would cost. I might, however, inform the honorable member of the cost of the astronomical and meteorological work carried on bv the States.

Mr Fisher - Have not the Government made an estimate of the cost for themselves ?

Mr GROOM - Only a rough estimate. t So ' far as we can judge, the new service will cost us at least £10,000 per annum. The Meteorological Department .of the United Kingdom involves an annual outlay of £15,639. The cost of the Department will depend upon what it is required to do. It is recognised that, so far as our producers are concerned, the Meteorological Department should provide accurate forecasts in all the States. In this connexion, we realize that our settlements cover an enormous area, and that we have in outlying parts pastoral centres whose very existence depends upon climatic conditions. The movements of stock are to a very large extent affected by the reports as to the weather conditions in various places, and I hope that when the new Department is established weather forecasts will not only be made available in Melbourne and Sydney, but published at every leading Dost-office in the Commonwealth. Honorable members will see by a glance at the subjects enumerated in clause 4 what our ideas are with regard to the scope of the work of the Department. The cost of carrying out this work will depend very greatly on the system of organization adopted throughout the Commonwealth.

Mr Fisher - It is provided in clause .<; that the Commonwealth may enter into an arrangement with the States for the performance of certain services, for which I presume we shall have to pav.

Mr GROOM - At the Premiers' Conference at Hobart it was agreed that the States and the Commonwealth should charge each other for services rendered by them respectively. If the States render us any services in connexion with the Meteorological Department they will no doubt charge us for them, but such items of expenditure will merely involve a cross entry, so far as the whole of Australia is concerned.

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