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Wednesday, 26 October 1910

Senator McGREGOR (South AustraliaVicePresident of the Executive Council) . - I take it for granted that Senator Millen is in earnest, or he would not speak as he has done. But in the drafting of this Bill it has been made clear that the unimproved value of land is to be taken to be the value of any land in question as if nothing whatever had ever been done to improve it. There is no conflict between the two definitions to which Senator Millen has referred. In many instances improvements tan be made that give no value to land. Vet the owner might claim an allowance for them. If a land-owner were foolish enough to build a windmill where there was no probability of gaining any advantage from wind, and he claimed for improvements because the windmill had cost him £5,000, he would have no right to sustain that claim. I remember that in South Australia a station-owner sank a well at considerable expense. The water was so bad that when he put 3,000 old ewes into the paddock, they died in three weeks from drinking the water. He spent ,£3,000 in constructing tanks and troughs and putting up a windmill. He claimed for those improvements, so-called, though they had added no value to the land. It is to avoid claims of that description that those definitions have been drafted. I am perfectly prepared to take them as they stand.

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