No. 7, Financial
30th January 1866
1. Resuming the subject of my Despatch No 4 of 23rd January 1866, I have the honor to submit for your information the following account of the further proceedings of the Legislative Assembly in relation to the Estimates of Expenditure for 1866 gathered from the Reports in the local newspapersextractsManuscript image extracts from which I enclose.
2. By the statement which I now transmit the Assembly appear to have reconsidered the vote by which the duty of the Treasurer was to be performed by the Harbour Master, and to have voted a salary of $1700 (£350) for the former, and a like sum for the latter (being $300 more than the amount proposed) and have "amalgamated" the Harbour Master and Postmaster. The salary of the Treasurer is thus reduced to the same amount as that of the ClerkofManuscript image of the Legislative Assembly.
3. The Assembly have concurred in my recommendation for the employment of the steam tug for the conveyance of coast Mails—they have voted the pay of her crew and have largely increased the sum proposed for her fuel and stores, under the head of "Surveyor General," but have disallowed the sum proposed for the particular service upon which she will be employed, viz, "Conveyance of Mails between Victoria and Comox"—thusManuscript imagethus improperly increasing and diminishing the expenditure under the respective heads of service.
4. The salary of another School Teacher is raised. The Vote for Victoria Hospital is further increased from $5000 (£1030) to $8000 (£1649). This Hospital I may observe is an institution the expenditure for which is wholly beyond the control of the Executive Government.
5. The item for clothing for Police is disallowed with aviewManuscript image view to its being sold to the Municipal Authorities of Victoria who are to be empowered to manage the Police Department by a Bill as yet not even introduced, and which may never become law—but leaving out of sight altogether the fact that the sum proposed was for the clothing of the Police throughout the Colony and not for Victoria only—and that the clothing having been purchased upon the faith of a vote of last year, the disallowance of this vote is in effect a repudiationofManuscript image of a Public Debt. The sum proposed for clothing for Prisoners has been reduced by one fourth and that for clothing for Warders disallowed. Votes of money have until now been annually granted under each of these heads, the Police and Warders being allowed clothing as part of their emoluments. I found that the clothing procurable in the Colony was unsuitable unless made expressly, when its cost would be manifold that of clothing procuredfromManuscript image from England and accordingly I forwarded a Requisition for a supply in my Despatch No 7 dated 24th January 1865.
6. Whatever may be the object of these proceedings the results of them if carried into effect, are very obvious, namely, that the only paid Magistrate provided for, and the Police (an Inspector, Serjeant and five men) should be exempted from all Executive control and placed at the disposal of the City Council, a Body who have heretoforeshownManuscript image shown a greater tendency to violate than to uphold the law.
7. The vote proposed for provisions for prisoners is reduced by nearly one half regardless of the fact that the estimate was for the probable number of prisoners at the actual cost.
8. The small sum of $500 (£103) proposed for miscellaneous charitable purposes is disallowed, thus leaving the Executive Government without any means of relieving cases of casualandManuscript image and occasional distress in a Colony where there is no legal provision of any kind for poor or destitute persons.
9. The small amount of $600 (£123) for a tower for a fogbell at Race Rocks Lighthouse is disallowed notwithstanding the fact that the fog bell was procured from England at the instance of the Lighthouse Commissioners among whom at the time were two of the Naval Officers on the station—that it was intended for the benefit of shipping in a dangerous locality where fogsandManuscript image and strong currents are prevalent—and that in the absence of the means to place it in position, it will together with its machinery lie useless and deteriorating.
10. The vote for Indians which was in the first instance disallowed has now been passed at the reduced amount of $500 (£103) a sum wholly insufficient to meet expenditure in connection with the Native Tribes and which must often be incurred on grounds of public policy.
11. TheManuscript image
11. The sums proposed under the head of "Education" which were in the first instance reduced or disallowed have been since voted in full, and the total amount now voted for Education (inclusive of the sums by which some of the proposed votes were increased and of sums voted without being proposed at all) viz, $16,630 (£3408) is equal to nearly one twelfth of the estimated Revenue and when divided by the maximum number (404) of children attending theschoolsManuscript image schools gives as the average cost to the public of the education of each child, no less a sum that $41.16 (£8.10s nearly) per annum.
12. In conclusion I would call your attention to the fact that in addition to the foregoing, the Assembly have, under the head of "Roads, Streets, and Bridges," voted ten sums of money not proposed to them in the Estimates or initiated by the Governor, amounting in all to $42,800 (£8824). ThesevotesManuscript image votes appear to have been come to by a process which can only be described as a general scramble among the Members of the Assembly.
13. The Assembly do not propose to meet this expenditure by appropriations out of the incoming Revenue but by "loan or bonds not payable before the expiration of five or more years or by issuing Exchequer Bills drawing interest," an arrangement in which I need scarcely observe I feel it impossibletoManuscript image to concur having regard to the extent to which the finances of the Colony have already been crippled and burdened by the £40,000 loan and the debt to the Bank (upon both of which I have already commented) and by the interest payable thereon.
I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient Servant
A.E. Kennedy
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
See minute 12 Apl with 3765.
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Statement in regard to the Estimates for 1866 showing the proposed votes and the decision of the Legislative Assembly thereupon.
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Newspaper clippings, British Colonist 25, 27, 30 January and Chronicle 25, 27, 30 January, reporting the debates over the Estimates for 1866 and the various amendments made by the Legislative Assembly (six pages).