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Friday, 14 May 1915

Senator RUSSELL (Victoria) (Assistant Minister) . - I move -

That this Bill be now read a second time.

The measure provides for the transfer to the Commonwealth of 18,000 acres of land, some privately owned, but the great bulk owned by the State of New South Wales. As honorable senators are aware, when the Federal Territory was transferred from New South Wales to the Commonwealth Government, full powers over all land were vested in the Commonwealth. It has been found advisable that the Federal Government should secure control over the land connecting the Federal Territory with the sea, and, therefore, it is proposed, under this Bill, to vest those powers in the National Government. The Naval College is on the property, and, of course, dockyards and other buildings required for Commonwealth purposes will be constructed in due course. This new territory will come under the provisions of the Commonwealth laws, such as the Commonwealth Arbitration Act and other measures. The Bill practically gives effect to an agreement on the part of New South Wales to transfer certain land to the Commonwealth, and embraces no more and no less than the act of surrendering 18,000 acres of land by New South Wales to the Commonwealth Government. The date upon which it will come into operation will be fixed by proclamation ; but as a similar Bill has passed the New South Wales Parliament it is reasonable to assume that it will come into operation at the earliest possible date after its passage through both Houses of the Federal Parliament. Under the Lands Acquisition Act there is provision to prevent private individuals from obtaining any advantage in the way of unearned increment, and that measure will operate with regard to the present Bill.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

In Committee:

Clause 1 (Short Title).

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