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Friday, 6 August 1926

Senator GRANT (New South Wales) . - I overlooked the fact, Mr.. President, that, as the mover of the motion, I had: the right of reply, otherwise I should not have interrupted the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce), and been called to order by you. The Minister carefully evaded replying- to the main point which I had raised. His long experience in this Chamber enabled, him to put his case, in such a way as to. cloud the issue. I hope, however, that honorable senators have given close personal attention to the subject-matter of my remarks. The Minister did not sa.y a word about the first re-appraisement of. leasehold values in twenty years' time. Under that system speculation is encouraged. Unfortunately,, the Minister stands for that condition of affairs. He says, he is anxious that all tha profits from the sale of leases at Canberra shall go into the coffers of the commission, but he does not take the necessary steps to ensure that. Why, I do not know. He has informed us that there will be another sale at an early date. If the present regulation as to the re-appraisement stands, we shall have at the next sale of leases a repetition of what occurred* at the first. I know I shall not be in order if I refer at length to the building of cottages for public servants ; but I believe that the fictitious values mentioned by Senator Elliott will probably have some effect on values at subsequent sales of leases for residential purposes. Senator Pearce stated that if speculators secured 10 per cent, on their investment they would regard it- as good business. I invite the Minister to figure out what would be the net return in twelve months on £100 if an investment of £60 on a business site at the first land sale gave a net return of £1,100 to the purchaser in twenty months. It is a simple sum. The return is about 1,100 per cent. That is what the Minister stands for.

Senator Guthrie - What is the honorable senator making out of his block at Manly ?

Senator GRANT - It is highly improper to introduce personal matters in the Senate; but it is quite true that I have a home site at Manly. It is my intention to build on it. Why should not I have two or three homes? The Prime Minister has a magnificent home, and he is building another. Does any one object? Senator Pearce has probably one of the finest seaside homes in the Southern Hemisphere. Good luck to him. Why should not I have a home in a salubrious place like Manly, or anywhere else in the Commonwealth if I wish it? I am delighted that I have to pay my share towards the cost of the Sydney Harbour bridge. My regret is that I am not called upon to pay some share of the cost of the Spit bridge. My allotment at Manly overlooks the Pacific Ocean, and is unequalled in the Southern Hemisphere.

I presume that the Minister, like every one else, desires to see Canberra progress. Therefore, I appeal to him not to allow this obnoxious regulation as to the re-appraisement of the leases stand. If a private owner of land cuts up an estate he does not lay down any regulation as to where building operations shall commence. Sometimes building restrictions are imposed, and occasionally they are set aside by the courts. If a person wishes to build at Canberra he should not be compelled to pay a high premiuim to some one else who has got in ahead of him and purchased all the available blocks. The case mentioned by Senator Elliott is typical of many others. If people have to pay a heavy premium for the limited number of blocks available at Canberra the progress of the city will be retarded. Again I appeal to the Minister to review the decision as to re-appraisements. That is the cause of all the trouble. If the Minister does not accept my suggestion I intend to move for the appointment of a select committee to inquire into and report upon this subject. I ask leave to withdraw my motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

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