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Tuesday, 15 March 1932

Mr FRANCIS (Moreton) (Assistant Minister) . - I point out to the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) that proposed new subsection1c applies only to dwelling houses that the commission has entered and taken possession of, and does not apply to residences which are still occupied by the original owners. The honorable member's remarks, therefore, have no application to section 36 of the principal act which is now being amended. They would have been appropriate perhaps if applied to section 31, but we have concluded our consideration of the amendments to that section. In any case, the officers of the War Service Homes Commission would not be likely to take action with regard to the renovation of a house which is still in occupation of the original purchaser, unless it was in a state of very serious disrepair. But with houses which have been abandoned the position is different.

Mr Gregory - It might be essential to effect renovations and repairs to such a house in order to get a tenant or make a sale

Mr FRANCIS - That is so. In such cases it is in the interests of the former owner of the house that it should be put into a condition to make the sale of it possible. I assure the honorable member for Hunter that the Government is giving every possible consideration to the circumstances of occupants of war service home who are in difficulties. If the work of these men has been rationed their payments are dealt with accordingly.

Mr Lane - If an abandoned house is renovated by the commission and subsequently sold for £100 more than it would otherwise have brought, it is surely beneficial to the former owner.

Mr FRANCIS - Yes, because he would have more prospect of increasing his equity in the home.

Mr James - In the event of an abandoned house being renovated and repaired would the amount spent on such work be debited to the former owner ?

Mr FRANCIS - It would be debited against the sale price.

Mr Beasley - But supposing no sale were effected?

Mr FRANCIS - In that case the cost is debited in the accounts of the Commissioner of War Service Homes against" that property, and if the house which is subsequently sold has been acquired on mortgage the mortgagor obtains the benefit of the sale, if it is more than his indebtedness. If the home were held under the rent pur chase or contract of sale system the interest of the purchaser in the home would cease upon the cancellation of the contract, and he would not receive any benefit from the sale.

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