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Wednesday, 9 November 1910
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Senator RAE (New South Wales) . - I have no desire to delay the passing of the Bill, but it occurs to me that, although an improvement may have cost a considerable sum, its value may not represent anything like that sum. A land-owner may have erected a costly building upon his land - a building which would be useless to the Government when it was acquired.

For example, he may build a highlyornamental mansion-

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - Why should he not be paid its value?

Senator RAE - I am merely pointing out that the cost of an improvement does not necessarily represent its value.

Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERTGOULD (New South Wales) [8.31},- If the Government see fit to resume land, the least they can do is to compensate the owner by giving him the value of the improvements which he has placed upon it. Surely they do not wish to rob him of what he has spent upon the land while it was his own, and while he was at liberty to do what he chose with it ! Even if he has erected the highly-ornamental building of which Senator Rae has spoken, he ought to be paid its value to him, irrespective of whether it represents a large or a small sum. That is a fair principle to apply, so far as compensation for improvements is concerned. But I would direct attention to the fact that, under this Bill, the Government will be able to say to a freeholder in twenty or thirty years' time, " We are going to resume your land, and we will compensate you for it by paying you an amount equal to its value twenty or thirty years ago." As a matter of fact, its value twenty or thirty years hence may be considerably more than its value at Ihe present juncture. Surely we shall be going to extremes if we permit the Government to say to a land-owner, " We intend to ante-date the value of your land for a term of years." I would further remind honorable senators that if an owner wished lo sell his land in such circumstances, he would not be able to get for it more than it was worth to-day. I really think that some period should be specified within which it should be necessary for the Government to exercise their powers of resumption. I think that a term of two or three years should be fixed. However much we may believe in the principle of land nationalization, the rights of the individual must be considered. Consequently, some time limit should be imposed, within which it should be necessary for the Government to exercise their power to resume land at its value at the time of the passing of this Act.

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