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State Management of Businesses.

$ The State Clothing Factory m Sydney cannot be said to furnish a powerful arguniGnfcror tb9 State management; of business, neither con the Fitzroy Dock m tho eania jilfica. Enquiries have Iteen made into each, and it hc.y been found that tho clothing factory m tho year 1903-4 mi-u'iw a losi of ,£1795, although tine, ie is said, could htivo bof-'n reduced to £693 had the factory tuado all the clothing required by tho Gi>vorniiK.n", and on the basis ot prices piiid under contract ia 1901-2. If; h recomuieud^d by tho Commission, however, that {■'or two yeavs, asa f'urtheC trial, it should receive .the whole of the Government worlc. rtiir, exppcted that theresuit will be more than satisfactory, owiacy to the temptation (hat private contractors have to alum their work and use inferior material. This, however, could surely be remedied by insistence upon fetrict adhertnco to samples under contract. It is stated that tho conditions for work aro sotiiGwhat better than m other places, and this may be used as a set-off against the loss. The Board agrees, however, that the work could have been done at a cheaper rate and turned out up to as high a standard it' it had bewn open to public competition. Evidently the Government's supervision has boon vory ineffective, for, according to the Dock Commission, it is most desirable that the work Bhould be inspected as a yuard ngainst the same tendency. Even so, tho Fitzroy Dock cannot be said to have been a success. It is found that no allowanco has been made for interest on capital, depreciation, rates and taxes, wharfage, supervision, etc. Of course, a Government institution does not pay rates and taxe?, bub for ail that these items ought to be reckoned m the management of an institution of that kind, for they have to be made up m some way or another by the general community. Of course, it is quite right and reasonable that m the case of a combine forcing up prices, such as is the I case m Melbourne at the present time over brieke, the State is perfectly justified m stepping m, as Mr Bent will be if he pursues his scheme of brick making ; but m the case of the clothing trade there does not seßm to be any warrant for the Government; stepping m to do business which it is acknowledged may be done quite as effectively and cheaply by private enterprise. There are enterprises which the State is perfectly justified m taking up, but m these two c^es experience has not proved that ifc has been by any means the wiatst course to pursue. —" Review of Reviews."

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Issue 6584, 31 May 1905

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State Management of Businesses. Ashburton Guardian, Issue 6584, 31 May 1905