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Friday, 27 July 1906

Senator KEATING (Tasmania:) (Honorary Minister) . - This is an obliga-tion which is thrown upon the Minister, and I presume that, as far as possible, he, through his officers, would consult with the individual in case there should be a refractory individual or official.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Or a legitimate difference of opinion.

Senator KEATING - Yes. The obligation to do this thing would come up probably for consideration by a Court.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - But where?

Senator KEATING - In connexion with the compensation that would be claimed.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Not as to the making of a fence.

Senator KEATING - I think so. Suppose, for instance, that the Minister should fail to sufficiently fence, surely that would be damage occasioned by the exercise of the powers conferred in Part III.?

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - The Minister knows that under the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act that is called an accommodation work, and is dealt with by a different tribunal. I only wish to know whether there is a similar provision in the Pill?

Senator KEATING - No.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Will the Minister consider that point?

Senator KEATING - Yes. The individual who felt aggrieved would say that the Minister had exercised the powers under Part III. of the Act, and that the fact 5hat he had not carried out his obligation to sufficiently fence had endamaged him, and, therefore, he would claim compensation in a Court of competent jurisdiction.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - The point would be whether a fence was necessary.

Senator KEATING - The Court would determine whether or not the Minister had fulfilled his obligation. In nearly every instance the officers of the Departments come to some reasonable arrangement with the owner of the land, and very often the provisions of the Act have to be relied upon only when an actual agreement has been entered into.

Senator Sir JOSIAHSYMON (South Australia) [12.35]. - I merely wished tq know what provision was made in respect of what are called and ordinarily understood to be accommodation works. A difference of opinion very rarely arises, because the persons are reasonable in regard to fencing,, and all that kind of thing. But if an occupier or owner should require a certain fence to be erected, and regard it as necessary, and there should happen to le an honest difference between the persons looking after the work and the owner or occupier, who would settle it? I merely suggest to the Minister that he might look into the matter, and see whether there is provision made to meet such a case. I believe he will find that it would not be included in the compensation for damage. This is included in accommodation work's, and is determined usually under the pro.cedue of the States by Justices.

Senator Trenwith - If it were shown that there was insufficient protection, would r.ot that be a ground for asking for further compensation if damage resulted?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - If damage resulted. I ask the honorable senator to look at the wording of the clause. It applies to what is ordinarily called accommodation works, such as, for instance, level crossings in connexion with railways. These have nothing to do with the matter of compensation.

Senator Trenwith - Assuming that the Minister was wrong, and that damage had resulted from his failure to do what the owner required, would there not be ground for a further claim ?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - No. The Minister would say, "I am not going to give damages, because you got your level crossing." That would not be part of the compensation. The owner would have to go to the tribunal created, bring his claim forward, and apply for an order that the Minister should give the accommodation. It is temporary here, but it would be permanent in the case of a railway. That is a different question from compensation. It is a question of whether there is to be an accommodation work for the purpose of facilitating the convenient use of the owner's land. I shall be glad if, when we reach a later part of the Bill, the Minister will intimate what provision is made for settling a dispute.

Clause agreed to.

Clause 27 -

Where any land (other than Crown land of a State) is acquired by compulsory process, the owner of the land shall, if deprived of the land in whole or in part, be entitled to compensation under this Act.

Senator Sir JOSIAHSYMON (South Australia) [12.38]. - In this clause, and in others, it will be as well to leave out the words " of a State " where they come after the expression " Crown land," because the definition of "Crown land" in the interpretation clause renders them unnecessary. I move -

That the words "of a State" be left out.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 28 -

1.   Where any Crown land of a State is ac quired by compulsory process, the State shall, subject to the Constitution, be entitled to compensation under this Act.

2.   The compensation shall be estimated as if the State were the proprietor of an estate in fee-simple in the land, subject to any estate or interest which any person had in the land at the time of its acquisition by the Commonwealth.

3.   The State shall not be entitled to compensation in respect of theloss of any rights of dominion, taxation, or revenue, or in respect of the severance of the land acquired from any other land of the State, or in respect of any injury to any other land of the State.

Amendment (by Senator Sir Josiah

Symon) agreed to -

That the words "of a State," line 1, be left out.

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