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without purchase. The area so disposed of has not been inconsiderable in several provinces :

State.

Area.

Area alienated
or in process
of alienation.

Area leased.

Area neither

alienated nor leased.

acres.

acres.

acres.

New South Wales
Victoria
Queensland
South Australia
Western Australia
Tasmania

Commonwealth
New Zealand

Australasia

acres, 198,848,000 48,003,857 | 126,938,678 23,905,465

56, 245,760 23,770,519 17,161,359 15,313,882 427,838,080 16,325, 132 279,986,645 131,526,303 578,361,600 14,181, 108 191,552,174 372,628,318 624,588,800 6,816,334 97,455,927 520,316,539

16,778,000 4,893,961 1,470,621 10,413,418 1,902,660,240 113,990,911 714,565,404 1,074,103, 925

66,861,440 23,969,677 15,916,779 26,974,994 1,969,521,680 137,960,588 730,482,183 1,101,078,909

The proportions which these figures bear to the total area of each province are shown below :

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The figures in the foregoing table disclose many grounds for congratulation. Of 1,902 million acres which comprise the area of the Commonwealth, 829 millions, or 43-54 per cent., are under occupation for productive purposes, and of an extent of 1,969 millions, the area of Australasia, no less than 868 millions, or 44:09 per cent., are similarly occupied, and there is every probability that this area will be greatly added to in the near future. New South Wales shows the least area returning no revenue, for out of nearly 200 million acres only 24 million remain unoccupied, and much of this is represented by lands which the State has reserved from occupation, and which are used for travelling stock or for various public purposes, including lands reserved for future settlement along the track of the great trunk line of railways. The state of Tasmania has 62 per cent of its area unoccupied, the western part of the island being so rugged as to forbid settlement. Settlement in Western Australia is only in its initial stage ; much of the area of the State is practically unknown, and a large part of what is known is thought to be little worth settlement. Much the same thing was

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confidently predicted of western New South Wales and South Australia though, as subsequent events proved, the forebodings were untrue. South Australia, including the Northern Territory, only 35.67 per cent is in occupation. New Zealand, favoured also with a beneficent climate. has nearly half its area not utilised-a circumstance entirely due to the mountainous character of its territory.

The practice of sales by auction without conditions of settlement was a necessary part of the system of land legislation which prevailed in most of the provinces ; but this ready means of raising revenue offered the temptation to the Governments, where land was freely saleable, to obtain revenue in an easy fashion. The result of the system was not long in making itself felt, for pastoralists and others desirous oi accumulating large estates were able to take advantage of such sales, and of the ready manner in which transfers of land conditionally purchased could be made, to acquire large holdings, and in this manner the obvious intentions of the Lands Acts were defeated. Notwithstanding failures in this respect, the Acts have otherwise been successful, as will appear from the following table, as well as from other pages in this volume. It is unfortunate that detailed information regarding settlement can only be given for three of the states of the Commonwealth, viz., New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, and for New Zealand, and that in respect of Western Australia the information is deficient in regard to the area of the holdings. The figures given for Western Australia in the table refer to the year 1900, for South Australia to the Census year of 1891, and New South Wales and New Zealand to the year 1901 :

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Out of the 46,617,825 acres set down to New South Wales in the foregoing, 42,598,221 acres are in the actual occupation of the owners, and 4,019,604 acres® are held under rent. In New Zealand the proportion was not stated at the last Census. In South Australia only 5,510,289 acres are occupied by the owners, while 10,720,399 acres, or 66 per cent., are rented. The most remarkable feature of the table is that in New South Wales about one half the alienated land is owned hy 703 persons or institutions, in South Australia by 1,283, and in New Zealand by less than 500.

479

LOCAL GOVERNMENT.

MUNICIPAL INSTITUTIONS. ONLY of recent years has the question of Local Government received Commonwealth that have adopted general systems being Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, and Tasmania. New Zealand, however, has also for a number of years been divided into districts with local governing powers. It will be noted, from the information given in the following pages, that the Acts controlling Local Government vary considerably, especially as regards the election of representatives and presiding officers, method of valuation, and rating powers; and the particulars available in regard to each State are not sufficiently exhaustive to admit of the making of any effective comparison between the systems of the different provinces.

The first portion of this chapter is devoted to an account of the local bodies operating under the various Municipal Acts, while the particulars relating to Boards and Trusts, for the establishment and control of which special Acts have in most cases been passed, will be found in the

second part.

New South WALES. The first Act providing for the establishment of a Local Council in this State was passed in 1842, when the City of Sydney was incorporated. In 1867, the Municipalities Act became law, but as that Act left it optional for any district to become constituted as a municipality, only a small proportion of the area of the State is incorporated.

Under the provisions of the original Acts, the aldermen were elected by the ratepayers (except in the City of Sydney, where both owners and occupiers voted), and the mayors were chosen by the aldermen. legislation enacted in 1900 the franchise was extended to tenants and lodgers in the city of Sydney, and a similar extension is proposed in the Bill to amend the Municipalities Act of 1867.

The legislation of 1900 and 1901 relating to municipal matters consisted of two important measures, viz., the Sydney Corporation Amending Act and the Municipalities Amendment Bill. Under the provisions of the first-mentioned Act, the City of Sydney is divided into twelve wards, each returning two aldermen, instead of into eight wards, each represented by three aldermen, as heretofore. The mayor is still to be

Ву elected by the aldermen, as the proposal to provide for his election by the citizens was not carried. Other important amendments are those providing (1) for the abolition of auditors elected by citizens, with the substitution of Government inspectors to audit the accounts; and (2) for the resumption of land for the opening or enlarging of streets or public places. The rating powers have not been altered, the general rate remaining at not more than 2s. in the £ of the annual value, but lighting and other special rates may also be imposed, if necessary.

The Municipalities Act of 1867 provided that the general rate should not exceed ls. in the £ of the annual value, but that special rates could be levied, so long as the general and special rates together did not come to more than 2s. in the £. A further charge, limited to 6d. in the £, could be made for street watering, and an additional rate for water supply, where necessary, the amount not to exceed ls. in the £. The amending Bill proposes to give power to the councils to increase the general rate to as much as Is. 6d. in the £ of the annual value if necessary, but the special rates still remain as quoted in the original Act. A most important alteration in the principles of municipal taxation is the authority to be conferred on the municipalities to levy their rates on the unimproved capital value of the land instead of on the annual value of all property, provided that the ratepayers agree to the alteration by a special vote. The assessment of the unimproved value must not exceed 2d. in the £ of the assessed capital value.

The Bill referred to has not yet been passed into law, but was before Parliament when this volume went to press.

New South Wales, as already indicated, is the most backward of the states in regard to local governmment. The principle of self-government is on all sides recognised as a sound one, and various measures to secure its application have from time to time been placed before Parliament, but so far the Legislature has not succeeded in giving effect to the manifest wishes of the constituencies. The total area incorporated at the close of the municipal year 1900 was only 2,849 square miles, so that it will be seen that a large area still remains under the control of the central government in New South Wales. For this some justification is claimed on account of the largeness of the territory and the sparseness of the population residing in the unincorporated areas; but this is hardly tenable, seeing that both these conditions exist to a greater degree in Queensland, where the whole territory is under local government. The total area still unincorporated in New South Wales amounts to 307,851

square miles.

The total capital value of all property in municipalities is returned as £124,546,200, and the annual value as £7,905,760, so that the annual return from property is about 6-35

per

cent. Taking the municipalities as a whole, the following particulars in regard to the number of municipalities, the area incorporated, and the annual and capital values of property assessed for municipal purposes,

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The annual and capital values of Sydney and suburbs since 1891 are shown below:

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A reference to these figures will show the depreciation which has taken place in the value of real estate during the past few years, but it is satisfactory to note that the year 1900 shows an increase compared with the previous year; while the annual value for 1901 exceeds that of any previous year since 1895, and the capital value is higher than in any year since 1896.

The values of five of the principal towns are given in the subjoined table, and for the purposes of comparison, the corresponding figures for 1891 are shown. With regard to Broken Hill, it should be remembered that the mines were not fully developed in 1891, and although the capital value in 1899 had increased by about £364,000, the values in the years 1894 and 1895 were stated to be £2,952,000, and £2,862,000 respectively, but for 1897 the figures declined to £1,232,600, which was practically the value in 1899. The annual and capital values shown for 1900 include the assessments on the output of the silver mines, but the mining companies successfully

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