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Tuesday, 15 March 1932

Mr SCULLIN (Yarra) .- I suggest to the Minister that the principle that was embodied in the last amendment that was submitted by the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) is worthy of consideration. . I admit that the amendment needs to be re-drafted before it could be embodied in the measure.

A request is being made by those concerned that there should be a general writing down of these properties. 1 said, when Prime Minister, and 1 repeat ii now, that this is not a time for a general re-valuation or writing down of war service homes. We should wait until values regain stability before taking that action, lu the meantime the best that can be done is to administer this department in a humane and lenient way. One particular type of case needs special consideration. Assume that a returned soldier purchases a war service home, say, for £900, and that he improves the property by adding rooms at a cost of £300. He finds later that he cannot continue his payments, and abandons the home. The commission re-possesses itself of the home, and because of a drop in values sells it for £900, that figure being obtained only because of the improvements effected by the late occupant. The commission obtains the amount that it originally put into the property, while the late occupant loses, in addition to other moneys, the £300 expended in improvements. The purpose of the amendment submitted by the honorable member for Hunter was to give such a purchaser at least some return for the improvements effected by him. I suggest that the matter should receive consideration before the hill is submitted to another place. It was in order to focus attention upon the desirability of action along those lines that I and members of my party voted for the amendment. We admit that it needs re-drafting, but we realize that the principle is there.

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