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Thursday, 6 October 1927

Sale of Leases: Commission Paid to Agents - Shareholders in Local Investment and Trading Concerns - Residences - Pastoral and Farming Leases - Swimming Baths -Fly Screen Doors.

Senator Sir WILLIAM GLASGOW - Yesterday Senator Elliott asked the following questions : -

1.   With reference to a promise given by the then Minister for Home and Territories (Senator Sir William Glasgow) on the 24th March last, in reply to a question relating to the sale of business sites in Canberra, that he would discuss the matter with the Federal Capital Commission, will the Minister concerned inform the Senate of the result of such discussion ?

2.   What were the number and upset prices of business sites offered for sale by the Federal Capital Commission at its last sale?

3.   What number was sold, andat what prices ?

4.   How is the great excess over the upset prices accounted for?

5.   In view of the result, what modifications of the Federal Capital Commission's policy is proposed ?

I am now in a position to advise the honorable senator as follows: -

1.   The matter was discussed with the Chief Commissioner, Federal Capital Commission;, but it was not considered that there shouldbe any alteration in the method of assessing the upset prices of business blocks. The upset prices, put on the allotments in the 1928 sales were arrived at by expert valuators, after consideration of the results of the 1924 sales and other factors which affect laud values. At the last auction sale in April, 1927, the upset prices were exceeded in practically all cases. The results of the April sale indicate that the number of blocks then offered amply met the existing demand, no private requirements being shut out as far as could be ascertained by the Commission.

2.   Twenty blocks offered - Civic Centre, Section 1 -


Motor Service Station, Eastlake -

Upset, £2,000.

Minor Industrial Sites, Ainslie. -

Section 28, Block 2.- Upset, £1,500.

Section 28, Block 3. - Upset, £1,500.

Section 28, Block 4. - Upset, £1,500.

Section 28, Block 5.- Upset, £1,500.

Boarding House Sites -

Section 18, Block 1.- Upset, £1,000.

Section 19, Block 1. - Upset, £1,000.

Section 57, Block 1.- Upset, £1,000.

3.   Twenty blocks sold - Civic Centre, Section1


Motor Service Station, Eastlake -

Sold at £11,300.

Minor Industrial Sites, Ainslie -

Section 28, Block 2.- Sold at £2,200.

Section 28, Block 3.- Sold at £2,000.

Section 28, Block 4.- Sold at £1 , 800.

Section 28, Block 5.- Sold at £1,900.

Boarding House Sites -

Section 18, Block l.-Sold at £1,100.

Section 19, Block 1.- Sold at f 1,100.

Section 57, Block 1.- Sold at £1,100.

4.   The excess over the upset prices at the April sale can only be attributed to the keenness of the competition for the particular blocks offered.

5.   See answer to No. 1.

Yesterday Senator DUNCAN asked the following questions: -

1.   Is it a fact that practically all sites in Canberra, whether residential or business sites, have been disposed of through one firm or company of agents?

2.   If so, what is the amount of commission which has been paid, and/or which is now due and owing by the commission to such agents?

3.   What is the reason for granting such agents a monopoly in this respect?

4.   Is it a fact that a member or members of such firm of estate agents is or are also a director or directors and/or large shareholders in certain buildingsand/or investment companies which have purchased or dealt very largely in lands acquired from the commission through such agents?

5.   Is it a fact that a number of public servants and/or servants of the Federal Capital Commission are also large shareholders in one or more of such concerns?

6.   How many blocks in the " Civic " Centre were submitted for sale at the last Bale of business sites?

7.   How many of such blocks were purchased by any, and which of the aforesaid concerns in which public servants or servants of the commission are interested?

8.   Is one of such concerns carrying on a motor garage firm or company ?

9.   Is it a fact that a rival motor garage, the site for which was purchased at a very large price, has been notified by the commission that it will not bc permitted to carry out repair work?

10.   If so, will this prohibition have the effect of giving a monopoly of such repair work to the concern referred to in Question No. 8?

The following particulars have now been received from the Federal Capital Commission : -

1   . The agents for the first sale were a Sydney firm of auctioneers acting in conjunction with a firm established at Canberra. Subsequent sales have been carried out by the Canberra firm.



3.   The fact that it is the only firm of auctioneers established at Canberra and that two members of the firm are returned soldiers.

4.   Yes, but the blocks were obtained as u result of public auction.

5.   Several members of the commission's staff and other public servants arc shareholders, hut their total holdings represent only £0,550 out of a nominal capital of £100,000.

6.   12.

7.   Two blocks by the Canberra Building and Investment Company Limited.

8.   No.

9.   The site which is apparently referred to is that for a motor service station. The conditions ofsale- which were read out at the sale - provided that no repairs other than running adjustments could be undertaken, and that the lessee could not be permitted to garage cars at the station.

10.   No.

Yesterday Senator GRANT asked the following questions: -

1.   How many building sites have been leased within the Capital area?

2.   What is the total annual rental received for these?

3.   How many residences have been erected by the commission?

4.   What is the total cost of the residences erected ?

5.   How many of these are occupied?

6.   How many are in course of erection?

7.   What is the total rental as fixed by the commission for the completed residences unoccupied ?

8.   How many of these have been allotted?

9.   What is the rental as fixed by the commission for the residences allotted and unoccupied ?

10.   How many residences have been erected by private enterprise?

11.   What is the total - (a) number, (b) area, (c) rental, of the (a) pastoral,(b) farming, (c) other areas leased by the commission ?

12.   What is the area of - (a) the Capital site, (b) Federal Capital Territory not leased ?

The following information has now been received from the Federal Capital Commission : -

1.   447.

2.   £13,549.

3.   393.

4.   £555,112.

5.   304.

6.   176.

7.   £10,813 per annum.

8.   44.

9.   £3,291 per annum.

10.   128.

11.   Pastoral and farming and other areas leased by the commission -

(a)   Number 360 447 city blocks,

(b)   Area 186,000 acres £13,549

(c)   Rental £39,900 12. (a) 50,960 acres; (b) 339,040 acres exclusive of unlcased lands within city area.

Yesterday Senator Needham asked the following questions: -

1.   Will the Prime Minister now take into consideration the request contained in my letter to him, dated 6th April last, that swimming baths be erected at Canberra?

2.   In view of the fact that summer is rapidly approaching, will the Minister, if he favorably considers the matter, see that the work is put in hand immediately, in order that the baths may be completed this year?

I desire now to state that this matter has been taken up with the Federal Capital Commission, which has advised my colleague, the Minister for Home and Territories, as follow: -

1.   That it is quite in sympathy with the proposal, which it already had in mind as a future work.

2.   That the provision of swimming baths has had to be deferred in view of the necessity for the design and construction of many other urgent works. The commission regrets that it will not be able to complete the baths in time for the summer months, but will put the work in hand as soon as possible.

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