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3-258 (Text)

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author,male,Grant,un addressee
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Clark, 1975
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3-258-plain.txt — 2 KB

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I believe that there are now close upon 20,000 persons holding licences under the 42nd section, the area of their land being about 486,000 acres; and under the 12th section there' are 10,000 or 12,000 persons holding licences for 1,425,000 acres. All this settlement has taken place since the Land Act of 1865 came into operation. The value of the improvements made on the land taken up under the 12th section amounts to £1,500,000. I may also mention, as showing the bona fides of the selectors, that the revenue to be received from rentals (leases and licences) under the sections to which I have referred, for the year 1868, was estimated by the present Government at £220,000, and by the Sladen Government at £205,000; but up to the present time the amount received is £227,000, or £5,000 in excess of our estimate . 
We no longer hear of swagmen tramping from one end of the territory to the other - going from station to station, and from place to place, as mere idlers and loafers. They have now settled down, having got little plots of ground from the Government. We do not now hear of so many wandering miners, many of the mining population having settled down on the land. The settlement which has taken place on the gold-fields is something surprising. By the facilities which have been afforded for settlement of that character some of the best classes of colonists have been attached to our soil, who would otherwise have been wanderers up and down upon the face of the earth. There are also many men - hundreds of them, to my certain knowledge - who, having made money in the colony in business, and in various walks of life, have invested their savings in these holdings, who would otherwise, most probably, have taken themselves and their money out of the colony. These, sir, are the fruits of the legislation which we were enabled to effect by the assistance of the great Liberal party who now sit in this House, who have supported us most disinterestedly, most patriotically, and with great sacrifice to themselves during the last three years. They have not only supported us in our various struggles to accomplish the settlement of the people on the land, but they have supported us in the great constitutional struggles in which this House has been engaged. To them it must be a very pleasant reflection that by their assistance we have at all events been able to accomplish some good. We have not left this colony the worse for being intrusted with the administration of the land law and the general government of the country during the last six years. Our administration is not only bearing fruit now, but I believe it will bear fruit when we are sleeping in the dust.