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first to legislate in regard to the matter, and pensions were payable from 1st April, 1898.

Every person in New Zealand, of the full age of sixty-five years, or upwards, is entitled to a pension, provided he has resided continuously in the colony for twenty-five years, certain concessions in regard to residence being made in favour of seamen and others. To be entitled to a pension, a person must not possess an income in excess of £52 a year, nor property exceeding £270 in value. There are also other qualifications, principally affecting good citizenship. The full pension is £18 a year, payable in monthly instalments. For each" £l of income above £34 a year, and for each £15 of property above £50, £1 per annum is declucted from the amount of the pension. In March, 1902, there were 32,000 persons in New Zealand whose ages exceeded sixty-five years, and of these 12,776 had already been granted pensions, 10,900 in the full amount, and 1,876 in sums ranging from £1 to £17. The average pension paid was £17 and the sum payable in respect of all pensions, excluding management, is £217,192. The proportion of the population who claim old age pensions varies according to the locality. This variation is due partly to the differences in the proportion of the persons above the pension age, and partly to the fact that in districts where mining is the chief industry, few persons are able to earn their living after they reach sixty-five years. The proportion of pensioners to the population over sixty-five years of age is about 40 per cent., and the proportion of pensioners to those qualified, both by age and residence, is about 50 per cent. ; but there can be hardly any doubt that both the number of pensioners and the proportion to total population will increase considerably during the next few years.

The old age pension scheme sanctioned by the Parliament of New South Wales specities a pension of £26 a year, diminished by £l for every £l of income above £26 a year, and by £1 for every £15 of property that the pensioner possesses.

Where a husband and wife are each entitled to a pension, the amount is fixed at £19 10s. a year each, unless they are living apart under a decree of the Court or a deed of separation, when the full sum of £26 will be allowed. Persons under 65 years of age but over 60 years are entitled to pensions if they are incapacitated by sickness or injury from earning their livelihood, but debility due merely to age is not considered as an incapacitating sickness.

The pension system came into force on the 1st August, 1901, and at the close of the first pension year there were 22,252 pensions current, representing an annual payment of £531,823 or £23 18s. per pension. There were on 1st August, 1902, 2,656 persons of ages between 60 and 65 years in receipt of pensions, and 19,596 persons of 65 years and upwards. The total population, 65 years and over, was 47,426, so that the proportion receiving pensions was 41•3 per cent. Full pensions of £26 were paid to 15,610 persons, and 3,893 of £19 10s. to married persons, while 2,749 persons received less than full pensions in amounts varying from £1 to £25.

The pension system of Victoria differs very materially from that in operation in New South Wales and New Zealand. The average weekly income of a claimant in Victoria during the six months inmediately preceding the grant of a pension must not have amounted to Es. per week (in New South Wales the sum allowed is £l per week) ; he mus! also have made reasonable efforts to provide for himself, and this is not necessary either in New South Wales or New Zealand, where the pension is granted in consideration of old age, and a citizen may enjoy his pension on attaining the age of 65, whether he is able to work or not ; indeed, the law allows him to supplement his income to the extent of 10s. per week, in the case of New South Wales, and 13s. in that of New Zealand ; the total income enjoyed by the pensioner may, therefore, in these two States, amount to 20s. per week. In Victoria, the amount of pension is determined by the Commissioners appointed to adjudicate on the matter, and 8s. is the maximum allowed ; but the Commissioners have to determine what sum less than 8s. may be reasonable and sufficient to meet the wants of the claimant. Moreover, when a claimant, although he has attained the statutory age of 65 years, appears to be physically capable of earning or partly earning his living, a pension may be refused or fixed at a lower sum than 8s. As noted before, the total income of a pensioner in New South Wales may reach 20s., that is 10s. over and above a full pension ; but in Victoria, the limit of a pensioner's income from all sources is 8s., although, under certain conditions, he may be allowed to earn a sum which, with his pension, will amount to 10s. in all The statutory maximum of pension is diminished by 6d. per week for every £10 of savings accumulated by the claimant, or by the value of the board and lodging which he may receive ; the value of such board and lodging, however, may be taken at any sum not exceeding 5s. per week. Proceedings to obtain an old age pension are usually in open court, but the Commissioners dealing with the claim may dispense with the personal attendance of the claimant where the latter is physically untit, or where the claim is one that obviously should be granted. Relatives-if the father, mother, brother, sister, or child of the claimant-are required to assist in the maintenance of the pensioner, where their means are sufficient to allow them to do so, and they may be brought before the Commissioners' Court to prove their inability to contribute to the maintenance of the pensioner to whom they are said to be related.

It will be seen that, whereas in New South Wales and New Zealand the old age pension is a gift by the State to citizens who have contributed by taxation, and who, as the preamble to the New South Wales Act declares, have during the prime of life helped to bear the public burthens of the State by the payment of taxes, and by opening up its resources by their labour and skill, in Victoria the pension partakes more of the nature of a charitable dole. It is easy to understand, therefore, how it is that in New South Wales there are 22,252 persons who are in receipt of pensions, and in New Zealand 12,776, while in Victoria

the number is only 13,410, although the persons of 65 years and upwards in Victoria number 66,452 compared with 47,426 in New South Wales and 31,965 in New Zealand.

The number of persons of 65 years and upwards in Australasia was, at the beginning of 1902, 184,630, of whom 152,665 resided in the Commonwealth and 31,965 in New Zealand. These figures are deduced from the census returns and are probably in excess of the truth, as a large number of persons, in anticipation of the establishment of a general system of old age pensions, described themselves as over 65 years of age, though in reality they had not reached that age. However, accepting the figures as they stand, the following are the numbers in the various States of the Commonwealth :New South Wales .....

47,426 Victoria

66,452 Queensland ..

13,237 South Australia.

15,029 Western Australia

3,513 Tasmania

7,008

152,665 Proposals have been made from time to time for the Commonwealth Government to institute a system of old age pensions applicable to persons resident in any of the States, an objection to the present State system being that residence of twenty years in the case of Victoria and of twenty-five years in the case of New South Wales is a condition precedent to the granting of a pension. There are a large number of persons who have been twenty-five years in Australia but whose time has been spent in two or more States and who, therefore, would not under

any State system likely to be put into operation be entitled to a State pension. These persons would be eligible under a federal system to receive pensions in virtue of their residence in Australia.

The proportion of the 152,665 persons of 65 years and upwards now in the Commonwealth, who were born or have resided for twenty-five years in Australia, is probably about 84 per cent., and the proportion qualified to receive a pension about 43 per cent., so that if a federal pension scheme had been in operation on 1st January, 1902, there would have been 65,650 pensioners over 65 years of age.

The cost of this scheme, according to the New South Wales rates, would be £1,575,600 per annum, and according to the New Zealand rates, £1,132,500. The New South Wales system, as before stated, provides for pensions to persons between the ages of 60 and 65 years, incapacitated, by reason of physical infirmity from earning their livelihood. If provision were to be made by the Commonwealth for such persons according to the New South Wales scale, the cost of the pension system would be about £1,800,000.

770

ACCUMULATION.

BANKING THE HE laws relating to banks and banking at present in force are

susceptible of great improvement, and in 1893 the failure of many monetary institutions which posed as banks directed attention to the urgent necessity for entirely revising the conditions under which deposits might be taken from the general public, but so far no new legislation has been enacted. All institutions transacting the business of banking are required by law to furnish, in a specified form, quarterly statements of their assets and liabilities, and from these statements and the periodic balance-sheets the tables in this chapter have heen compiled. The returns furnished by the banks, though in compliance with the laws of the States, are by no means satisfactory, being quite unsuited to the modern methods of transacting banking business, and they cannot be accepted without question is indicating the stability or instability of the institutions by which they are issued. As a rule, nothing can be elicited beyond what is shown in the half-yearly or yearly balancesheets. No uniformity is observed as regards the dates of closing the accounts, and the modes of presentation are equally diverse. Important items which should be specifically stated are included with others of minor import, and, in some cases, current accounts are blended with other accounts instead of being separately shown.

The value of the information vouchsafed to the public is illustrated by the fact that it was impossible to obtain from the publications of several institutions suspending payment in 1893 the amount of their liabilities either to the public or the State, and these particulars were never disclosed.

CAPITAL RESOURCES OF BANKS. According to the latest information published, the paid-up capital of the twenty-two banks operating in Australasia is £20,366,153, of which £5,315,744, inclusive of £2,000,000 guaranteed to the Bank of New Zealand by the Government of that colony, has a preferential claim on the protits of the companies. Below will be found a statement of the ordinary and preferential capital of each bank at the date shown, with the amount of the reserve fund of the institution. In the case of several companies which were reconstructed, there are eserves which

are held in suspense pending realisation of assets, and of these no account has been taken in the table :

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Australian Joint Stock Bank (Ld.)

30 June, 1902 1,168,042

1,168,042' *236,887 Bank of Adelaide

31 Mar., 1902 400,000

400,000 185,000 Bank of Australasia

14 Oct., 1901 1,600,000

1,600,000 995,000 Bank of New South Wales

31 Mar., 1902 2,000,000

2,000,000 1,270,000 Bank of New Zealand

31 Mar., 1902 427,320 2,000,000 2,427,320 23,474 Bank of North Queensland (Ld.)

30 June, 1902 100,000

100,000 12,500 Bank of Victoria (Ld.)

30 June, 1902 1,061,250 416,760 1,478,010 130,000 City Bank of Sydney ......

30 June, 1902 400,000

400,000 100,244 Colonial Bank of Australasia (Ld.)

31 Mar., 1902 133,642 304,044 | 437,686 30,000 Commercial Bank of Australia (Ld.) 30 June, 1902 1,132,762 2,117,230 3,249,992 Commercial Banking Co. of Sydney (Ed.).. 30 June, 1902 1,000,000 11,000,000 1,010,000 Commercial Bank of Tasmania (L.) 28 Feb., 1902 141,492

141,492 100,000 English, Scottish, and Australian Bank (Ld.) 30 June, 1901 539,438

539,438 †110,466 London Bank of Australia (Ld.)........ 31 Dec., 1901 743,985 171,930 915,915 National Bank of Australasia (Ld.)

31 Mar., 1902 1,192,440 305,780 1,498,220 60,000 National Bank of New Zealand (Ld.) 31 Mar., 1902 250,000

250,000 110,000 National Bank of Tasmania (Ld.).. 31 May, 1902 152,040

152,040 22,500 Queensland National Bank (Ld.)

30 June, 1902 413,036

413,036

24,000 Royal Bank of Australia (L.)

31 Mar., 1902 150,000

150,000 15,000 Royal Bank of Queensland (Ld.)

30 June, 1902 444,962

444,962 54,000 Union Bank of Australia (Ld.)

31 Aug., 1901 1,500,000

1,500,000 1,000,000 Western Australian Bank

31 Mar., 1902 100,000

100,000 225,000

Includes £184,887, proceeds derived from discharge of B Deposits.

f Includes Capital Reserve Account.

The preceding table shows the position of the capital account at date of balancing; but a number of the banks had made calls on their shareholders which will increase their paid-up capital. The amount of these

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