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118 Memorandum from Schneider to Watt

Canberra, 31 October 1950

Subject: South-East Asia Technical Assistance Programme—Training Awards

Reference: Your memorandum of 30/10/502

The Board is in general agreement with the principle of offering a number of awards, and of obtaining nominations, before actually reaching a decision as to whether an award will be granted. The Scheme can' only be made to work on the basis that individuals will be allotted to courses for which they are personally fitted.

2. There are, however, certain points which, while they do not directly concern the Board as such, do concern the Board as a member of the Committee set up to advise the Minister on policy. It is important that policy on them should be clarified at this stage. The points are:—

(i) Security.

(ii) Commonwealth Relations with States.

(iii) Allowances under Awards.

(i) Security: It is noted that you propose to have a security check made overseas. This disposes of one aspect of this problem, but another aspect is the approval to placement of Asians in certain fields, e.g., to take examples from the current proposals, in hydro and thermal power generation, manufacture of pharmaceutical products, railway bridge engineering. This matter does not concern the Board directly, but is submitted as a very important aspect of Government, on which a firm decision should be obtained.

(ii) Commonwealth Relations with States: Good relations with State Governments are vital to the success of the Scheme and the Board presumes that the Department has arranged for high level approaches to be made to the States, explaining the importance which the Commonwealth attaches to the Scheme, and indicating clearly the Commonwealth attitude towards costs arising under the Scheme. Unless this is done in advance, there is a danger that adverse reactions in the States will follow if their first advice comes from information published in the press.

(iii) Allowances under Awards: Your proposals for scholarships, junior fellowships, and senior fellowships are for �A300, �A500, �A700 per annum, � respectively, described as a 'net living allowance (i.e., after provision is made for income tax, if levied'. This raises two major points affecting other Commonwealth Departments. The Board considers that the offer should not be made in that form without the prior agreement of the Commissioner of Taxation to its wording. Further, a definite decision should be obtained from Taxation as to policy on the question of whether tax will or will not be levied. The second point concerns Treasury, and deals with the amounts to be fixed. Before offering awards at the rates mentioned, the concurrence of Treasury should first be obtained.

3. The Board feels that, before the Commonwealth is committed to any of the points raised, action on the lines suggested above should be taken. The Board feels that its responsibility, as a member of the policy committee, is to bring under notice any matters which, in its view, may operate against the smooth and effective running of the Scheme, in order that policy may be appropriately determined.

4. Copies of this memorandum have been sent to the other Departments which have been represented on the Committee in the past.

[NAA: A1209, 1957/5406]

1 F.X. Schneider, Secretary, Public Service Board.

2 Not published.

Last Updated: 10 January 2017

Category: International relations

Topic: History