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Friday, 27 July 1906

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - I desire to draw the attention of the Committee to a rather serious alteration of the law, which is proposed in subclause 2. It says -

The power to take clay, stone, or earth shall not be exercised in respect of any stone or slatequarry or brick-field «n actual work.

That is different from the provision ir» section 53 of the existing Act, which reads as follows : -

Provided that no stone or slate quarry, brickfield, or other like place which, at the . commencement of this Act, is commonly worked or used for getting materials therefrom for the purpose of selling or disposing of the same, shall be taken or used by the Minister for any of purposes lastly hereinbefore mentioned.

The provision in this Bill to exempt only a brick-field o:' quarry in actual work might create an opportunity for injustice or hardship to be inflicted upon private individuals. Within my own knowledge there are many brick-fields which are not always in actual work.

Senator Keating - It is noi' intended that the words " in actual work " shall mean in actual work at the very point of time.

Senator MILLEN - I am sure that the Minister does not desire 10 use any words which would leave room for a very considerable measure of doubt, but wishes to clearly express the intention of the Legislature. There are many brick-fields and quarries which, for various reasons, are worked periodically. Under the existing law where a quarry or brick-field is so worked it is not necessary that it should be in actual work at the date on which the Commonwealth proposes, for a public purpose, to utilize the land. I think that instead of having the shorter provision in sub-clause 2, it would1 have been much better to follow the lines laid down in section 53 of the present Act. I do not propose, unless the Minister is agreeable, to move the adoption of subsection 4 of that section.

Senator Keating - The difference which we really want to effect is that caused by striking out the provision making the commencement of the original Act the determining factor.

Senator MILLEN - Yes. What I imagine the Minister wishes to exclude is a brick-field which has been actually abandoned, and in respect of which, when the Commonwealth intervenes, the owner of the land may put forward a bogus claim. I have no sympathy with anything of that kind. There are brick-fields and quarries which, owing 10 the peculiarity of the district, are only worked at certain periods of the year, but which, to all intents and purposes, are live business concerns. If the Minister is agreeable, I shall move the omission of sub-clause 2 with a view to insert in lieu thereof subsection 4 of section 53 of the Act, minus the words " at the commencement of this Act."

Senator Keating - Do not convert this sub-clause into a proviso, but alter it on the lines of the existing provision.

Senator Sir JOSIAHSYMON (South Australia) [11.34]. - I think that what the Minister means is that we should retain the phraseology of sub-clause 2, but make it read in this way -

The power to take clay, stone, or earth shall not be exercised in respect of any stone or slate quarry, brick-field, or other like place, unless worked or used forgetting materials therefrom for the purpose of selling or disposing of the same.

I move -

That after the word " quarry," in sub-clause 3, the word " or " be left out.

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