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Wednesday, 1 August 1906


Senator DOBSON (Tasmania.) . - I thought that Senator Millen was going, to call attention to the fact that 3 per cent. is a very low rate of interest for the Commonwealth to give. I ask the Minister whether he thinks it is fair to give only that rate? I find that in paragraph b of clause 42 31/2 per cent. is mentioned as the basis of the actuarial calculation to be made thereunder, and as no State can now borrow at less than that rate, it is rather unfair to the land-owner to make him take 3 per cent. Whether it is to be 3 per cent. or not, it should run from the date of the acquisition of the land, because the first thing that the Government do is to enter thereon. In Tasmania, for instance, some land was taken just below Hobart for the purpose of a fort. The land-owner came to me to complain that very nearly twelve months before that time the Commonwealth, by surveyors and others, had entered upon his land, and that he had heard no more about the matter. For nearly a year he was in a state of anxiety and uncertainty as to whether he was going to be the owner of the land or not.


Senator Trenwith - That would not hurt him much.


Senator Keating - I think that, as a rule, the land-owners get very liberal compensation.


Senator DOBSON -That all depends upon the arbitrator. I do not think that the Commonwealth should enter upon a man's land to-day, and acquire it twelve months afterwards, thereby preventing him from cultivating it or, perhaps, raising a feeling of uncertainty in his mind as to his position. I am inclined to think that, from the day of entry, the Commonwealth ought to pay compensation. The Minister knows that, generally, a purchaser has to pay interest on his purchase.


Senator Trenwith - Suppose the Commonwealth did enter upon the land, and prevent the owner from putting in a crop. Would not that appear as a claim for compensation ?


Senator DOBSON - It would all depend upon the circumstances of the case.







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