Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Thursday, 4 August 1904

Mr CULPIN (Brisbane) - I wish to say a word or two upon this question, the settlement of which is to crown the Federal edifice, and to give this Parliament a permanent abiding place. I intend to put forward one or t\vt» considerations to which reference has not been made by those who have preceded me. Each of the State capitals - Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, and Perth - has been excluded, it may be because of their mutual jealousy, from the possibility of being selected as the Capital of Australia. But the AttorneyGeneral of the late Government, speaking before Federation was consummated, pointed out that the land comprising the site of the Commonwealth Capital would be held on an entirely different basis from the tenure of the land on which the capitals of the States are built, because its unearned increment would remain the property of the people of Australia for all time. It is thai consideration which I wish to put before the Committee, and, I think, it should influence us in deciding which site to vote for. In considering how the largest unearned increment can be obtained for the benefit of the people of the Commonwealth, as against private speculators, the question of railway communication must be taken into consideration. lt is, undoubtedly, the fact that the presence of railway communication largely promotes the development of a district. The railways which run so close to the Lyndhurst site have obviously assisted to develop that district, and the honorable member for Canobolas pointed out that no less .than 5,000,000 bushels of wheat were last year grown there. But the fact that that district is so greatly developed, and has such a large production, is not necessarily a reason for selecting it. There may be other sites whose natural productiveness may make them capable of similar development, and if we select one of them for a site, and make a railway to it, we shall bring that development to pass, and largely increase the present value of its lands. The question of centrality is to be considered without reference to present railway communication, and the fact that a proposed site does not now enjoy railway communication, and that if it be chosen for the Seat of Government we shall have to make a railway to it, should not frighten us, if it be otherwise suitable. It has been pointed out that the Lyndhurst site is nearer to Queensland than are the other sites. No doubt it would be of advantage to the representatives of that State if that site were selected, because they could 'reach Brisbane in one day's travelling, whereas it takes them two days to get to Brisbane from Melbourne, and would take two days to travel there from any of the other proposed sites. But that is not an argument for or against the selection of the Lyndhurst site. The question is, which is the best site for the great nation which is to inhabit Australia in the future? The honorable member for Canobolas made a great point of the fact that last year Lyndhurst produced 5,000,000 bushels of wheat, while in the Dalgety district only about 93,000 bushels were grown. In my opinion those facts should induce us to select Dalgety, because unquestionablywhen the grazing land there, on which are now depastured sheep and cattle, is put under cultivation, the Dalgety district will grow as much wheat as the Lyndhurst district now produces, and the unearned increment obtained by the Commonwealth will be larger if Dalgety is selected than it will be if Lyndhurst is chosen. We shall do well to select either Welaregang or Dalgety. I believe that we should be as safe against foreign invasion at either of the sites I have named, as at Lyndhurst. If. we consider the respective merits of the sites in a broad, spirit, and ignore parochial considerations, we shall select the locality which is capable of the greatest improvement. I intend to vote for Dalgety, in the first place, and Welaregang will be my second choice.

Suggest corrections