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Wednesday, 11 August 1926

Senator GLASGOW (QUEENSLAND) (Minister of Home and Territories) - Probably the honorable senator did, and the Senate was against him. The right honorable the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce), who was then the Minister for Home and Territories, in moving the second reading of the bill to amend the Northern Territory Administration Act, indicated that it was intended to bring in this ordinance to provide the machinery for granting freeholds, under certain conditions, in respect of agricultural, garden and town lands, but not in respect of pastoral lands. The respective advantages of freehold and leasehold tenure were exhaustively discussed by both Houses in the debate on that bill. This ordinance to which Senator Grant objects amends the Crown Lands Ordinance of 1924-25, by providing for the granting of freehold, subject to certain prescribed conditions in respect of garden, town, and agricultural lands, and also of tropical lands north of the sixteenth parallel. The freehold of garden lands of a maximum area of 10 acres within 10 miles of any town or town site will be granted only in cases where the land has been securely fenced, and where one-third of it has been cultivated continuously at least two years. The applicant must also erect on the land buildings of the value of at least £50, must reside permanently on it, and pay all moneys due in respect of the area. An applicant for the freehold of town lands must fence the area, and erect within the first twelve months a residence at least £50 in value; he must have resided on it continuously for twelve months prior to the application for the grant of the freehold, and must pay all moneys due in respect of it. In no case will the price be less than £5 a block.. For agricultural lands the principal conditions required of an applicant are that he must fence the whole of the land, cultivate not less than one-tenth of the area; stock it under conditions as prescribed, erect a residence and buildings of the value of at least £50, pay all moneys due in respect of it, and agree to a purchase price of not less than 2s. 6d . an acre. The maximum area of Class 1 land will be 1,288 acres, and of Class 2 land, 2,560 acres. Any company registered in the Northern Territory may apply to the Minister for a grant of the freehold of tropical land north of the sixteenth parallel not exceeding an aggregate area of 20,000 acres. Applications will be forwarded by the Minister to the Land Board, which, if it approves of the application, may notify the company and prepare and execute an agreement in the terms of the second schedule of the ordinance. The freehold of tropical lands will be granted only in accordance with the provisions of the agreement, and all agreements must be laid before both Houses of Parliament. No transfer of any agreement will be permitted except to a company, and with the consent of the Minister, and no company shall be permitted to hold or acquire more than 20,000 acres. If the terms of the agreement are not complied with the land may be resumed. The ordinance gives effect to the statement of policy by the Minister for Home and Territories when moving the second reading of the bill to amend the Northern Territory Administration Act of 1911. I trust, therefore, that the Senate will not agree to the motion.

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