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Thursday, 31 May 1928

Mr BRUCE - On the 29th March the honorable member for Melbourne (Dr. Maloney) referred to the practice of obtaining land, in the Union of South Africa as to the allocation of land on the discovery of a new diamond field, and suggested that consideration be given to the adoption of a similar practice in the event of pil-bearing areas being discovered in Australia. A copy of the Precious Stones Act 1927, of the Union of South Africa has been received from the Government of that dominion. The act in question provides, inter alia, for the making of regulations prescribing that any prospector shall pay a share of the proceeds of any precious stones into the Consolidated Revenue Fund, and for the Crown to receive a share of the realized profits derived from the working of certain mines. The rights accruing to the discoverer, the land-owner, and the Crown, respectively, in the event of a payable discovery of precious stones do not appear, however, to be as set out by the honorable member. As the allocation and control of mining land in the States come solely within the jurisdiction of the State Governments, the Commonwealth is only in a position to consider the honorable member's suggestion so far as it relates to mining legislation in the territories under the control of the Commonwealth. Provision exists in the legislation of the Commonwealth Territories relating to mineral oil, for the reservation of any area from inclusion in any licence or lease, and for the payment to the Administration of a royalty of 5 per cent, of the gross value of all crude oil produced by the lessee of a mineral oil lease. It is considered that these provisions are adequate for present requirements.

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