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Tuesday, 13 March 1973
Page: 469

Mr CREAN (Melbourne Ports) (Treasurer) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this Bill is; to obtain parliamentary authority for the appropriation of moneys for new and reconstituted departments as a result of the Administrative Arrangement's Order of 20th December 1972. In addition, provision has been made for a further appropriation for the Aboriginal Advancement Trust Account and for an increase is the level of the Advance to the Treasurer. The total appropriations sought in this Bill amount to $56,050,000. Although additional appropriations are being sought, actual expenditure will not exceed the amounts included in Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 1972-73 by $56,050,000. Due to factors which I will explain it is expected that there will be savings of about $24.4m under previous appropriations which are no longer legally available. However, as a matter of law moneys appropriated by Parliament for specific purposes may be used only for those purposes, and savings under appropriations no longer legally available cannot be utilised to reduce to a net figure the appropriations sought in this Bill. Thus I am seeking parliamentary authority for additional expenditure in the divisions, subdivisions and items, set out in the schedule to the Bill.

The Appropriations sought for departmental salaries of $19,468,400 and administrative expenses of $10,731,600 arise from the establishment of new departments and the restructuring of existing departments under the Administrative Arrangements Order of 20th December 1972. It is expected that these expenditures will be offset by savings of some $24.4m in appropriations to departments now abolished or reconstructed. I should explain why the offsetting savings of $24.4m are so much less than the expenditures of $30.2m proposed in the Bill. In the first place, there are no existing appropriations to cover the costs of the central offices of several new departments. Their expenditures, which amount to a modest $572,000 are therefore additional to the 1972-73 Budget figures. In the case of those departments included in the Bills which have taken over existing services it has been necessary to revise their expenditures and include provisions for existing and additional staff at the latest rates of pay and to provide for an increase in their administrative expenses. These amounts, estimated at $4.5m, would normally be included in the additional estimates Bills to be presented to the Parliament In April.

A further appropriation of $10,850,000 has been included in the Bill for the Aboriginal Advancement Trust Account. Of this sum, $7,500,000 will be made available to the States to supplement funds already provided by the Commonwealth to cover expenditures in such fields as housing, education and health. The remaining $3,350,000 is for expenditure by the Commonwealth on its own Aboriginal advancement programs. Eight hundred and fifty thousand dollars of this has been allocated to legal aid for Aborigines. Provision has also been made for an increase of $15m in the, appropriation for the Advance to the Treasurer. The Advance, for which $30m was provided in Appropriation Act No. 1, is to enable the Treasurer to make advances that will be recovered during the financial year or to make moneys available, particulars of which will afterwards be submitted to Parliament or pending the issue of a warrant of the GovernorGeneral specifically applicable to the expenditure. Twelve million dollars has already been issued out of the Advance to meet expenditures incurred both before and after the Government took up office. This leaves $18m for commitments which have to be met before the appropriations from additional estimates become available towards the end of May. I estimate that the requirements of civil departments in that period will be about $23m and, of defence departments, $8m. Details of these expenditures will be included in the additional estimates Bills to be introduced next month.

Since the revised Administrative Arrangements Order came into effect necessary expenditures for the new and reconstituted departments on salaries and administrative expenses were, as a matter of practical expediency and with minor exceptions, charged to existing appropriations including those provided for departments which were abolished. This ceased as at 28th February 1973. The Bill therefore includes clauses validating those expenditures which, for all legal and practical purposes, are deemed as expenditures for the services provided in the Second Schedule to Appropriation Act (No. 1) 1972-73. I commend the Bill to honourable members.

Debate (on motion by Mr Gorton) adjourned.

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