Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 15 May 1928

Mr ANSTEY (BOURKE, VICTORIA) asked the Minister for Home and Territories, upon notice -

1.   Has his attention been drawn to a statement in the press of the 8th instant that the Federal Capital Commission claimed that certain evidence tendered to the Public Accounts Committee in regard to Canberra was false and that, in consequence, the Commission contemplated placing the matter before the Crown Law authorities?

2.   Is it a fact that the publication of this threat may have a detrimental effect on the investigations of that committee?

3.   Will he take immediate action to see that witnesses giving evidence unfavorable to the Commission are given the same opportunity (without fear of legal proceedings) as others to present their case?

4.   Is the Public Accounts Committee giving an opportunity to the Commission to answer any charges made against it; if so, what is the reason for the Commission taking up such an attitude?

Sir NEVILLE HOWSE - The replies to the honorable member's questions are as follow: - ]. Yes.

2.   It is not considered that the investigations of the committee are likely to be prejudiced.

3.   No action appears to be necessary.

4.   Presumably, yes. The matter originated out of an inquiry addressed to the Commission by a press representative, but the Commission advises that the press report does not express clearly the purport of the Commission's reply, which was to the effect that it waB considering the question of obtaining legal opinion as to whether certain evidence constituted perjury or not. The Commission explains, in this connexion, that it was concerned not so much with the attacks on itself, to which it will reply in due course, as with the effect upon the public mind of untrue statements in regard to Canberra.

On the 10th May the honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. McGrath) asked me the following questions: -

1.   Is it a fact that residents in the Federal Capital Territory, many of whom are at pre sent paying £104 to £208 per annum rental have been served with rating charges of 4d in the £1 for general rates, and 2d. in the £1 for lighting, on a pro rata, basis, to the end of last year?

2.   Is it also a fact that with each notice was an intimation that if the rates were not paid within 30 days, 10 per cent, would be added; if so, what is the reason for penalizing those who are unable to pay on such short notice ?

3.   Is it intended to impose further charges for sewerage, water, and road rates; if so, what rates are to be applied, and from what date?

4.   Is it a fact that those rates will make tenants liable for amounts up to £25 per annum?

5.   What further charges, in addition to those mentioned above, will have to be met by persons residing in the Federal Capital Territory?

6.   Under what ordinance are tenants made liable for rates?

7.   Is it a fact that in no other part of Australia are tenants held responsible for the payment of rates?

8.   Has legal opinion been obtained as to the legality of making tenants, and not the owners of the land, liable for rates as well as rent; does the Government endorse the action of the Commission, and will they support the Commission should any legal proceedings be taken by residents in regard to these charges?

9.   Is it a fact that the values of certain allotments of land at Eastlake are being increased by the Commission for rating purposes, and that lessees have been advised that, if dissatisfied, they may appeal to the Commission ?

10.   Does this mean that the authority which fixed the values will decide the appeal; ii so, will the Minister remedy what appears to be an injustice?

I am now in a position to supply him with the following answers : -

1.   Yes.

2.   Yes. The penalty is provided for in section 15 (3) of the Hates Ordinance 1920, for the Territory for the Seat of Government.

3.   Bates for sewerage and water will be * imposed, but these have not yet been struck; they will be in respect of the year 1928. There is no power to strike any special road rate.

4.   See answer to No. 3.

5.   Owners of leases under the City Area Leases Ordinance, or similar ordinances, will be required to contribute half the cost of providing kerbing and guttering and permanent footpaths when constructed. In the case of persons who are tenants of Commission houses, the cost of such services - excluding permanent footpaths - is included in the capital cost on which the present rental is based. No other rates are payable under present conditions.

6.   The Rates Ordinance 1926, and the Building and Services Ordinance 1924-1925.

7.   No.

8.   Legal opinion has not been obtained on the point, as the ordinance provides that the occupier, lessee, or holder of the land is liable for the rates. It is the duty of the Government to uphold the action of the Commission in all cases where such action is taken pursuant to the requirements of the law.

9.   Yes; in accordance with the requirement of the Bates Ordinance that' a valuation shall be made from time to time. Section 8 of the ordinance provides for appeals to the Commission from any such assessment.

10.   Yes. The appeals have not yet been dealt with, and there is consequently no indi-. cation that injustice is likely to be done. If the system should be shown to work unfairly, consideration will bo given to the question of providing any necessary remedy.

Suggest corrections