SECTION 2.

I move amendment 1 : —

Immediately before Section 2 to insert a new Section 2 as follows :—

2.—Where under the provisions of the Damage to Property (Compensation) Act, 1923, the Judge has reported under Section 15 what sum would fairly compensate any person for his loss in respect of the damage or destruction of any building in which report a full reinstatement condition as defined in Section 10 of the said Act is included then if the site of such building is acquired or purchased compulsorily by the Corporation under or in pursuance of this Act the compensation to be awarded by the Arbitrator shall be ascertained by him on the following principle :—

(a) he shall under the Lands Clauses Act as in this Act defined ascertain the value of the site as of the date of the passing of this Act and the value so ascertained is hereafter called the compensation monies;

(b) he shall determine and award the value of each estate, right, and interest claimed in such compensation monies;

(c) upon payment by the Corporation of such compensation monies so determined and awarded by the Arbitrator (such payment to be made in manner provided by the Lands Clauses Acts) the Corporation shall be entitled to the lands represented by such payment;

(d) where part of a site only shall be so acquired or purchased by the Corporation the Arbitrator shall determine and award what is the value of the part of the site so acquired and shall determine and award as in Subsection (b) of this Section as if the value of the part of the site so acquired were a separate site;

(e) the Corporation shall not be bound by any reinstatement condition under Section 15 of the Damage to Property (Compensation) Act, 1923 ;

(f) in ascertaining the value of any site the Arbitrator shall disregard the terms of any report made for payment to any person under the 15th Section of the Damage to Property Act, 1923.

The Local Authority have a certain right when they acquire a portion of a street for the purpose of the improvement of that street, and they think that, where a compensation claim stands for buildings on the sites that they have acquired, that that money should go to the Local Authority, as they have both purchased the site and they lose the rates on the portion of the site that is acquired for the purpose of providing a better thoroughfare in the city. I understand that in the British Reconstruction Act after 1916 this was not allowed, and it was considered rather hard. The widening of Earl Street is, as everybody knows, a very great improvement. A certain site was purchased, the site known as Allen's, for the purpose of widening that corner. Now, the amount of compensation on the Allen site was not allowed to the Corporation for the portion that they acquired but it was allowed for Mr. Murphy when he bought half the Allen site, which half went into what is now Clery's. Mr. Murphy purchased that, and he got half the compensation claim. The Corporation used the other half for the benefit of the city, and they were deprived of compensation. They thought that hard, because they had to pay for acquiring the site, and as well as that, they lost the rates on that portion of it. A similar thing is now to happen in Upper O'Connell Street. I understand that the Tramways Company's premises are about to be purchased. I do not know whether that is true or not. If the Corporation are to widen the street they will have to acquire the site, and having acquired the site they will have to pay a great deal of money for it, and they will lose the rates on that portion ; and they consider that they should have the amount guaranteed for compensation given to them in lieu of this loss which they undergo for the betterment of the city. That is, in reality, my amendment.

Would you explain the way the amendment works out, because it is a little difficult to follow it ?

The amendment is drawn by a lawyer, and I have given you my views. The amendment is drawn by Mr. Rice, the Law Agent. Is there anything in the legal draft of the amendment contrary to what I have said ?

The legal effect of the amendment seems to be to limit the amount of compensation that the owner of the plot that is compulsorily acquired can get to the mere value of the site.

The Corporation want, if possible, to get the building portion of it.

Although it is not spent on building ?

But the ground is acquired for the benefit of the thoroughfare.

They want to get portion of the building compensation, but not for the purpose of being spent on building.

No, to be spent in widening the street.

It would be difficult to estimate the value of that. How could one compare the compensation which a man would get to erect a building on a site with the rate of compensation which an individual would get who would not erect a building, but merely leave the site a thoroughfare ?

It is not an individual. It is the Local Authority. They take this for the betterment of the city.

But you are depriving the individual who was going to erect the building of something.

Mr. Smith has a grocery shop which is burned down. He does not propose to rebuild on that site, but proposes to build on some other site. How is he affected by that amendment if you give to the Corporation compensation that you would otherwise give to him for the building ? Is that the proposal ?

I do not think there is compensation for building anywhere except on the site.

The compensation must be spent on the site of the previous building and in the Sackville Street area all that is granted in compensation must be spent on rebuilding in that area.

Does he get compensation for disturbance ?

No, only an ex-gratia grant from the Government, and it must be spent on rebuilding.

Mrs. Wyse-Power's proposal is that where the Corporation come in and compulsorily take away from an individual a site that he has got compensation to rebuild on, they are not only to take away from him part of the site or the whole of it, but they are going also to get from him either a portion or the whole of the money which has been granted on the understanding that it is to be spent on rebuilding.

The way you would have to consider that would be : how much the Local Authority would pay for the piece of ground compared with what the amount of the compensation grant was. Would we have any idea of that ?

Would not that be settled if the case was tried as between the Corporation and the owner of the land which was going to be taken ?

Yes ; but is there any arrangement for that at all except by some form of amendment being introduced ?

Under the Bill as it stands, is there any mode of fixing the price that the Corporation must pay for the compulsorily acquired plot ? There is. The provisions of the Land Clauses Act are incorporated in this Bill, and they provide that if you cannot agree about the price you refer the matter to an arbitrator. And what this amendment of yours seems to me to do is to bind the arbitrator when the matter comes to him, and to exclude everything except the value of the mere site. Whereas the man has a right to the site, the right of a free grant of money, and the right of getting a loan from the Corporation ; and you should not deprive him of that right.

The rights of the Corporation will get all their weight at the Inquiry at which will be considered what everybody concerned has either to pay or to get for the plot which the Coporation are going to acquire.

When this goes before the arbitrator he will take into account all the advantages that the owner of the site has and what he would get if he sold the site in the open market. This amendment would deprive him of the price that he would otherwise get from the arbitrator and leave him nothing but the bare site.

Under the 1916 Reconstruction Act, no money was available at all unless you absolutely built on the site. Now the citizens concluded that it was right to widen Earl Street, and somebody else's right had to go.

When you do take a right you ought to pay for it.

Don't you realise that it was a good thing to widen Earl Street ? In the same way it is acknowledged a good thing to widen this thoroughfare by the side of the Gresham Hotel up to St. Thomas' Church, and to make a decent thoroughfare there instead of the old laneway. In order to do that, the money of the Local Authority has to be spent in acquiring the site ; and as well as acquiring the site, they lose the taxes on whatever site they purchase for ever. There are no more taxes paid there.

It is a desperately costly transaction.

Compensation should be given to the Local Authority for this public expenditure for the public good. How would you get that in ? I am in the hands of the Committee if they think with me that it is right to do this

Would you do that at the expense of the individual or the expense of the community ?

If you could persuade the Government to contribute out of the money that they would pay for rebuilding and that they will not now have to pay for rebuilding, the difference between the old site value and what the owner ought to get, that would be most excellent.

That is what is desirable, and that is just the thing.

This amendment does not do that.

It takes away from the individual who owns the site some right to moneys which would be paid to him by the State if this amendment was not there, and it widens the street at the expense of the individual instead of at the expense of the community ; and I don't think we have a right to do that. I think that is what Senator Yeats meant. We would be treating the individual who happens to face the street that is going to be widened in one way, and taking from him something which will not be taken away from the individual who gets Compensation in a part of the street that is not going to be widened.

I understand that the widening of O'Connell Street entirely depends upon the purchase of the Tramways site at the corner of the street that runs up to the Pro-Cathedral —Cathedral Street. And I understand that it is practically done. I understand that if the deal has not actually taken place it has very nearly taken place.

Gloucester Street is to be widened, too ?

Have they dealt with the Tramways people ?

I would not like to be positive about it. If the Tramways Company had sold their right, they cannot get a building grant, and the Corporation ought to get it then.

The Corporation do not want to pay for bricks and mortar which are not there.

I have no right to take part in the discussion ; I am only keeping it going. I have no vote. I only want to keep you right where there is any legal question.

The only question before the Committee is : are we interfering with private rights or are we not ? That is the whole point.

Who will settle that ?

What do you think yourself ?

If anyone sells a site, and if the compensation money is not coming to that person, it ought to go to the people who acquired the site for a great public purpose.

Is it not obvious that it ought to come out of the pockets of the Government, who are to be relieved from this ex-gratia grant ?

What we are all driving at, I take it, is that the Corporation ought to have the right to acquire a site to widen a street ; and it ought to be perfectly clear that they have the right to go before an arbitration, as it exists in every case now, and to have it decided who is to bear the cost of that widening and who is to be paid for this land or site that is taken away. If there is in this Bill a Clause, as I think the Chairman stated there was, which gave the Corporation the right to apply for arbitration to decide what they ought to pay for the land that they want to put into the street, then I take it that all the things that we are talking of—the right of the individual and the right of the Corporation—will come before that Arbitration Board.

That is quite right.

That seems to be the legal and the right way.

But what we are going on is this : if the Corporation are going to get the site they have to pay a certain sum of money to certain people. No compensation money is paid for that site, but the compensation money is there, and I want to try and get some of it from the Government for the Local Authority. We hope to get it even though the Commissioners are there.

That is not the effect of your amendment.

It is the intended .

You wish to get from the Government a sum of money as against the individual owner whom you are disturbing. Is it your view that the individual owner should be compensated in full, and that in addition to that, certain monies should be awarded to the Corporation ?

No. As a result of the arbitration the Corporation would pay a certain amount out of their purse. Now, there is a grant attached to that site—a building grant. The building is not going to be erected, because the site is used for widening the street. In order to help the Local Authority——

But surely the individual whom you have disturbed would build a house somewhere else ?

Supposing that he had arranged to build a three-storeyed house, and you take away a certain number of feet, and he finds it necessary to build two additional storeys in order to provide the accommodation taken away from the ground floor, he undoubtedly will need money for that. That is a case in which you take part of the site. If you take the whole site, it is quite a simple question.

In one case you might want part of the site and in another case the whole of the site.

And then the whole of the building money. Is that what the Corporation want ?

No, not the whole of it, but a consideration on account of the price they have to pay for the site and for compensating the owner for disturbance.

Suppose you take ten feet away from the front of a man's plot, and he has to build on what is left of his plot and go up two or three stories. You mean taking the whole site ?

The whole site.

I am only beginning to understand what the amendment means. If you take the whole site there will be no building on that site, and the Corporation want to get a grant of some of the money.

The Corporation want to acquire a certain site where there was formerly a premises, with the object of widening the street. There is attached to that site a building grant passed through the Courts. The Corporation will have to acquire the whole plot ; therefore, there won't be any house built on it. The Corporation by arbitrating will buy that plot from the owners, and at the Arbitration Court the fair value will be decided. On that site there is a building grant, and the Corporation say that they ought to be entitled to some of the building grant of that site to enable them to proceed with the scheme.

But, Senator Farren, there is more than the value of the site vested in the owner, because he has got the site, he has got the right of a free grant of money, and if he has not the money of his own necessary to build all that he wants, he can get a loan from the Corporation. These are the rights attached to the site, and if you had them in the market you would get more than the site value. If Mrs. Power's amendment were adopted, the arbitrator could only give the owner the site value and not the market value. That is the legal effect of the whole of it, and I do not think that is what was intended by the amendment.

No. Those are the lawyer's words.

The Senators are harder to satisfy than the lawyers. That amendment does not ask us to compensate the Corporation for the loss of the building. All that it asks us to do is to enable the Corporation to acquire the property by paying the value of the site, and it leaves the question as between the original owner and the Government for compensation—it leaves that question open between the Government and the Corporation.

I find that under special circumstances a man could build elsewhere.

Yes, under the ordinary Compensation Bill that we passed some while ago.

Could you explain your amendment with regard to St. Thomas' Church, which is going to be removed altogether ? They are going to rebuild on the side of the new street on another site. The street is going through the Church, and the Church will be removed and will be rebuilt on a site on one side of the new street. How will your amendment apply there ?

I should certainly say the compensation grant will apply there.

The Church Authorities expect to get the whole grant.

Yes, certainly. They have taken their frontage into the new thoroughfare instead of Marlborough Street.

I do not see how the Corporation could claim any of that at all.

No, not at all.

If they compulsorily remove a man from a site, cannot he get another site ?

That is all arranged by arbitration. (To Mr Burke) : Are you satisfied, Minister, with the amendment ?

No. There are a couple of little things in it that we thought it better to amend. First of all, Sub-section (e) is unnecessary, because it is not proposed to acquire any property in respect of which decrees have been given, but only cases of " reports " under Section 15 of the Damage to Property (Compensation) Act. In these cases the reinstatement clause has no binding effect on anyone, and is merely a recommendation of the Judge. We discussed this amendment with the Ministry of Finance, and they are afraid that if the amendment passed they might be open to pay the full reinstatement value of the property of buildings which are not going to be rebuilt, and they considered that that would not be quite fair, and that they should be only asked to pay the compensation value of the building at the time that it was destroyed, and we have drafted an amendment.

It may cost a man a great deal more to build now than at another time.

But he is not going to rebuild.

(referring to the Government amendment) : If you look at the words, “ and the site or any part of the site,” that would probably give them the right attached to the site, the right to get money and money to rebuild, if you would accept that amendment as an alternative amendment.

It says that the Corporation must be bound by the award of the arbitrator.

Once you go into an arbitration you must abide by it.

Clause 3 of the amendment is to enable the Minister for Finance to find out how much he should pay in compensation.

How does Clause 3 come into effect as part of the Bill ? It says : " and shall report to the Minister for Finance the value as so fixed and determined." Why is that to be put in ?

Otherwise the Minister for Finance would have no data to go on.

Nothing official laid before him ?

Would you be satisfied with the alternative amendment ?

I would. I think it gives us all we want.

May I take it that your amendment is withdrawn and we will put this one ?

I am quite clear when it is a question that the whole site is going to be taken, but look at (d) of the original amendment : " Where part of a site only shall be so acquired or purchased by the Corporation." That is not included in the new amendment.

If Senator Jameson thinks that this point ought to be added——

I think the Government amendment deals with all that, and that you can apply it either to a whole site or part of a site.

Mrs. Wyse-Power's amendment is withdrawn by consent, and it is proposed immediately before Section 2 to insert a new Section as follows :—

2.—Where under the provisions of Section 15 of the said Damage to Property (Compensation) Act, 1923, a report in writing in respect of the damage or destruction of any building has been made by a Judge to the Minister for Finance and the site or any part of the site of such building is acquired or purchased compulsorily by the Corporation under this Act :

(1) The arbitrator shall fix and determine the value at the date of the passing of this Act of the estate, right or interest in such site or part thereof of any person claiming to be interested therein and such value shall be the compensation to be awarded by the arbitrator to such person in respect of such compulsory purchase or acquisition.

(2) The Corporation shall be entitled to such site or part thereof after paying to every person claiming to be interested therein the compensation awarded by the arbitrator to such person under this Sub-section.

(3) The arbitrator shall, if so required by the Minister for Finance, also fix and determine the value of every such estate, right or interest immediately before the damage or destruction in respect of which such report has been made by a judge to the Ministry of Finance, and shall report to the Minister for Finance the value as so fixed and determined.

Question : " That the amendment pass," put and agreed to.
Question : " That Section 2 stand part of the Bill," put and agreed.

That will now be Section 2, and the former Section 2 will be Section 3.