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Wednesday, 19 June 1946

Mr ADERMANN (Maranoa) .- 1 propose to deal briefly with the qualification ' of ex-servicemen to participate in a. ballot for land made available under' the land settlement scheme. A letter has been forwarded to me which deals with the case of two exservicemen who have the necessary qualifications to take up land under the scheme, but who have been precluded from doing so as the result of an unfair and iniquitous ruling on the part of some government, officials. The qualifications laid down by the New South Wales Government are as follows : -

1.   Applicant must hold a qualification certificate issued by the Classification Committee appointed under direction of the Government. (This qualification certificate will not be issued unless the applicant is considered qualified by the committee to have sufficient knowledge of the grazing industry.)

2.   Applicant must not own land of acreage which when aggregated with the area of that which he intends to ballot for exceeds what is considered a. living area.

The two ex-servicemen concerned were, eligible to participate in a ballot, having been issued qualification certificates by the New South Wales Government, but when they desired to ballot for land made available for selection they were told they were not eligible as they lacked experience in districts comparable, with the land which was subject of the ballot. The land involved was located in New South Wales close to the Queensland border, and the two applicants .have spent the whole of their lives, other than the period during which they were in the forces, in the St. George district, just over the Queensland border and close to the land for which the ballot had been arranged. It appears that State barriers are being created and that servicemen who hold the requisite qualification certificates are not eligible to ballot in respect of land beyond the confines of the State in which they reside. That is completely out of step with the principle and the spirit of the re-establishment legislation which was intended to give to all ex-servicemen the same rights, irrespective of where they live. I bring the matter before the Minister in the hope that he will look into it with a view to the rectification of this anomaly.

The amount of the loan is entirely inadequate to meet the needs of an exserviceman about to commence a farming career. It is regrettable that the gag was applied to the re-establishment measure.

Mr SPEAKER - Order! The honorable member may not reflect on a vote of the House.

Mr ADERMANN - But for the application of the gag an amendment would have been moved to increase the amount of the loan. It must be perfectly obvious that no one can buy a block of land for £1,000, and that that money can only he utilized by those who already possess land.

The amendment proposes the appointment of a select committee. I am a member of the Queensland Council of Agriculture, and when discussing soldier land settlement problems' at a meeting of the council I moved to ensure that when land is being selected for subdivision and allocation to ex-servicemen the State Minister for Lands should seek the advice of practical farmers from the district in which the land is situated, men who would know from practical experience what area was needed to ensure that the ex-servicemen would be able to secure a. livelihood from it. In some, areas selected for land settle"ment in Queensland large holdings are needed to secure a livelihood. Only by consulting practical farmers in the area's thrown open for selection can the mistakes of the past be avoided.

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