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Thursday, 5 March 1970

Mr ANTHONY (Richmond) (Minister for Primary Industry) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

This Bill provides for the raising of loan moneys amounting to $4,500,000 for war service land settlement in the States of Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania during the 1969-70 financial year. As honourable members are aware the Commonwealth is responsible for the provision of the whole of the capital moneys required for the war service land settlement scheme in those three States. It is anticipated the money will be made available in the following approximate amounts: Western Australia, $1,900,000; South Australia, $1,946,000; and Tasmania, $654,000.

Just over $4m of this money is needed to meet the requirements of settlers for working expenses and for stock, plant and, where necessary, the replacement of plant purchased previously. This $4m is expected to be matched by the receipts for repayment of advances made to settlers during earlier years of the scheme. These repayments are, of course, paid to the credit of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Honourable members will recall that one of the basic principles of the scheme was the concept that lack of capital was not to debar an otherwise eligible ex-serviceman from participating in war service land settlement. In fact, most settlers have borrowed their full financial requirements from the settlement authorities. The authorities for their part accepted a charge over the assets concerned as security for the money advanced. Many settlers, particularly those allotted farms in the more recent years, have as yet been unable to improve their financial position to the stage where they can operate without further borrowing. Since they are generally not in a position to offer acceptable security to banks, stock firms or other lending institutions, they still need to have recourse to credit from within the scheme. About $490,000 of the $4,500,000 will be needed for development work mainly on block drainage of irrigated holdings at Loxton and Cooltong in South Australia and for limited farm reconstruction work on some farms created from large-scale developmental projects where those farms have not achieved the level of productivity desired under the scheme.

A small sum will be charged under the heading of 'acquisition', being costs associated with perfecting the titles of lands already paid for and developed, or payments required as a result of minor changes in area found on survey. 1 commend the Bill to honourable members.

Debate (on motion by Dr Patterson) adjourned.

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