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Thursday, 22 July 1926

Senator CRAWFORD (Queensland) (Honorary Minister) . - I understand that no advances have yet been made out of the vote of £500,000. The conditions under which advances are made are as follow : -

1.   The money will be advanced to the States at not more than 4 per cent, interest.

2.   The States will purchase wire and wire netting as required, and issue it to settlers who apply for it.

3.   The State will charge the settler not more than 5 per cent, interest on the value of the wire or wire netting supplied to him.

4.   The difference of 1 per cent, will be paid into a trust fund, which will be used for the purchase and issue of wire and wire netting to settlers on the same terms and conditions as are provided for wire and wire netting purchased from the advances.

5.   The State will redeem the advances by paying twenty-five (25) half-yearly payments at 2 per cent, per annum.

6.   The settler will redeem his principal liability to the State .by making the same sinking fund payments to the State as the State pays to the Commonwealth.

7.   The State is allowed to charge the settler £1 per mile of wire netting to cover administration expenses and losses. Also, all handling charges and freight up to the point where the settler desires to take delivery will be paid by the settler.

Senator J B Hayes - That scheme differs in some respects from that previously in operation.

Senator CRAWFORD - That is the scheme under which the Commonwealth and the States are at present operating.

Senator SirHENRY BARWELL (South Australia) [4.11]. - Can the Minister (Senator Crawford) give the actual amount expended last year in advances to the States for the purchase of wire and wire netting ? This scheme originated when I was the Leader of the South Australian Government, and we then said that as we had an Advances for Wire Netting Act under which settlers were generously treated, there was no occasion for the Commonwealth to interfere. We contended that it was a matter for the States. The South Australian Government said that as it did not need the advances it was not going to accept them; but we were placed in the unfortunate position of having to contribute towards the costs of administration and the interest charges on the advances made to the other States. Wire and wire netting was supplied to settlers under conditions laid down by the Commonwealth, whereas the South Australian Government was making more liberal advances under its own act. That led to unnecessary duplication. I do not know whether advances are now being made to South Australia, but if not, it is very unfair that that State should have to contribute towards the cost of those made to other States. I do not think it is the duty of the Commonwealth Government to interfere, but I should like to know what expenditure has been incurred, and the extent to which the different States have participated.

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