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Thursday, 18 September 1958

Mr Cairns s asked the acting Treasurer, upon notice -

1.   What amount of money was paid to the States in 1957-58 upon which they were charged interest?

2.   What rates of interest were charged?

3.   What were the purposes for which this money was paid, and from what sources did the Commonwealth obtain it?

4.   What is the form in which the legal acknowledgment of this debt is expressed?

5.   By whom is this acknowledgment held, and is it held for any purpose other than as security for the debts involved?

Mr Menzies - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: - 1 to 3. Apart from the State Government's share of the proceeds of public loans in Australia and New York, the States were required to meet interest on their share of the proceeds of a special Commonwealth loan raised in June, 1958, and on advances for housing, war service land settlement and rail standardization.

Subscriptions to the special loan totalled £92,000,000 (face value), of which £82,400,000 was invested from the Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve, and £9,600,000 by the National Debt Commission from the Australian currency proceeds of loans from the International Bank. The purpose of the special loan was to complete the approved Loan Council borrowing programme for States' works and housing and to assist in the financing of expenditure on war service land settlement. The net cash proceeds of the loan (£91,381,000) were distributed as follows:-


Rates of interest payable on the amount of the special loan allocated to the States for works purposes were as follows: -


Total housing advances to the States in 1957-58 were £33,160,000 and, in addition, an amount of £1,200,000 was paid to the States from Consolidated Revenue under the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement to provide housing for service personnel. The States pay interest on all of these housing advances at the rate of 4 per cent, per annum.

Advances to the States in 1957-58 for war service land settlement were £8,703,000, including £8,261,000 from the special loan and a further £442,000 from Loan Fund. Of the total amount, £4,989,000 was provided by the Commonwealth to the Governments of South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania, which act as agents of the Commonwealth for purposes of the scheme within those States. These amounts did not therefore involve the States in interest payments to the Commonwealth. The balance of £3,714,000 was made available as repayable, loans to the States of New South Wales and Victoria. These States pay interest on advances at the rate of 3} per cent, per annum. Queensland does not participate in the scheme.

In addition to the amounts mentioned above, an amount of £600,000 was advanced to South Australia during 1957-58 for rail standardization in that State and £470,000 was advanced to Victoria for standardization of the Albury-Melbourne line. These payments were made from Consolidated Revenue. Thirty per cent, of the amount paid to South Australia is repayable to the Commonwealth and bears 'interest at 5 per cent, per annum. New South Wales and Victoria will each repay 15 per cent, of the total funds advanced for the Albury-Melbourne line. The rate of interest has yet to be finalized. 4 and 5. Commonwealth securities were issued to cover subscriptions by the Loan Consolidation and Investment Reserve and the National Debt Commission to the special loan. These securities are inscribed in the name of the Commonwealth Treasurer on behalf of the Reserve and the Commission.

No securities have been issued in respect of other advances to the States mentioned above and the position in these cases is as follows: -

Housing advances - Repayment of these advances is covered by the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement, which is printed as a schedule to the Housing Agreement Act 1956 and which has been ratified by Commonwealth and State legislation.

War service land settlement - Repayment of these advances on the agreed terms is covered by an exchange of correspondence between the Prime Minister and each of the State Premiers concerned.

Rail standardization - Repayment of the advances to South Australia is covered by the Railways Standardization Agreement (South Australia), which has been ratified by both Parliaments. Agreements with similar provisions are expected to be signed with Victoria and New South Wales.

Land Settlement of Ex-servicemen.

Mr Peters s asked the Minister for Primary

Industry, upon notice -

1.   How many ex-servicemen from the last war applied to be registered as applicants for land in each of the States?

2.   How many were (a) declared eligible for settlement, and (b) were settled on the land in each State?

3.   What has been the total expenditure on Soldier Land Settlement in Australia and each State?

4.   What was the highest price per acre paid in each State for land for Soldier Settlement prior to 1948 and subsequently?

Mr McMahon - The answers to the honorable member's questions are as follows: -

1.   The classification of applicants and the allotment of holdings to ex-servicemen under the war service land settlement scheme is undertaken by the States. The information supplied by State authorities is as follows: -


2 (a)-


2 (b)-


There are many reasons for the difference between the number of applicants eligible for holdings and the number settled to date. Many applicants have either changed their minds or have not been prepared to wait for suitable farms to be available; some have either gone on to family properties or have acquired farms of their own independently of the war service land settlement scheme. As many as 14,300 ex-servicemen have received from the Commonwealth loans totalling £10,000,000 for agricultural purposes under the Re-establishment and Employment Act. Moreover, farms in South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania which are occupied by exservicemen, but which have not yet attained the productivity necessary for formal allotment are not included in the above table of applicants settled on holdings. Before the scheme terminates further farms will be available for applicants who may still be interested in obtaining them. Advice from State authorities indicates that in Victoria, Western Australia and Tasmania, the farms at present in sight will satisfy the number of applicants still awaiting farms in those States. In South Australia, sufficient suitable land is not available to meet demand, but an all-out effort is being made this year to obtain as much suitable land as is possible. In New South Wales there is a considerable number awaiting farms, but it is pointed out that those who have been unsuccessful in ballots for blocks on subdivided estates, have also had the opportunity over the years of finding farms for themselves and applying for them to be purchased under the Promotion provisions of the State act.

3.   The total expenditure on the war service land settlement scheme by both Commonwealth and State is as follows: -


4.   The procurement of land for the war service land settlement scheme is the responsibility of the State in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, and the State provides the funds required for this purpose. The Commonwealth has no information as to the highest price paid for land in these States. Funds for the acquisition of properties in South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania are provided by the Commonwealth. The prices paid for properties in these States have been based on fair market value as determined by the chief valuers of the Taxation Department. Though the cost of acquisition of each property is known, the properties have had varying amounts of improvements on them at the time of purchase, and consequently, comparable prices on a per acre figure could only be taken out by a detailed comparative analysis of acquisition prices that has not been undertaken.

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