§ 36 Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) whether he can say if the New South Wales Government are proposing to expend a sum approaching £20,000,000 on settling ex-soldiers in that State; if so, will he say whether the 857 scheme is open to ex-Service men from this country; should that be the case, is the Imperial Government prepared to assist the New South Wales Government, financially or otherwise, in carrying out their scheme; (2) whether His Majesty's Government are now prepared to consider the setting up of an Imperial Migration Board in London to deal with emigration and land settlement after the War; (3) whether he is aware that the Commonwealth of Australia have embarked on a land scheme involving an expenditure of £20,000,000, extending over a period of three or four years, for the settlement of ex-soldiers; can he say whether that scheme includes the settlement of soldiers from this country; if so, whether the Imperial Government propose to make any contribution by loan or otherwise to the scheme; (4) whether he is aware that an Act has been passed by the Government of British Columbia making provision for the granting of homesteads and homestead loans to ex-soldiers and sailors; whether he can say if these Grants are available only for ex-Service men who enlisted in British Columbia, or are they open to ex-Service men who have enlisted in any other part of the Empire; if the provisions of the Act do extend to ex-Service men from this country, will he say what, if any, assistance the Home Government proposes to give these men to enable them to migrate to British Columbia, so as to take advantage of the opportunities afforded them by the British Columbia Act; and (5) whether the resolution passed in May last at the Australian Premiers' Conference, held at Adelaide, asking the British authorities to create a suitable organisation to cooperate with the Agents-General to bring before the soldiers who contemplate emigration the advantages to them and to Imperial interests of making their homes in the Dominions, and to arrange with the State Governments for their immigration, as they can be satisfactorily absorbed, has yet been communicated to His Majesty's Government; and, if so, what steps it is proposed to take in the matter?
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the COLONIES (Mr. Bonar Law)
The subject of emigration and land settlement after the War, and of the machinery which may be required in connection therewith, is receiving the most careful consideration on the part of His Majesty's Government, but I am not prepared at present to make any more definite statement on the subject.
858 As regards the detailed questions asked by my hon. Friend, the answers are as follows:
The Australian Commonwealth and States Governments have under consideration the adoption of an extensive scheme for the settlement of ex-soldiers on the land; but, so far as the information at present available shows, the scheme is only intended to apply to Australian soldiers.
I am not aware that the Government of Mew South Wales is comtemplating any equally extensive scheme, but I believe that the irrigation settlements already existing in that State are being enlarged, and that it is hoped to make provision in the State for about 1,000 soldier settlers during the next two years. I understand that the State Government desires to treat suitable ex-Service men of the Imperial forces in all matters of Government employment on the same footing as their own ex-soldiers.
I have not yet received officially the resolution passed at the Conference of Australian State Premiers held at Adelaide last May, though, as I informed my hon. Friend on 31st May, I have seen a report of it in the Press.
I have not yet received a copy of the Act passed by the Government of British Columbia, but the Bill which I have seen gives rights to free homseteads only to soldiers who went to thee War from British Columbia. I understand, however, from the Report of the Returned Soldiers' Aid Commission (British Columbia) that it is contemplated that the benefits which the Act confers should ultimately be extended to other ex-Service men.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that after the Crimean War the Prince Regent, by Order in Council, directed that every officer should have 300 acres in Canada and every soldier 100 acres? Does not the right hon. Gentleman contemplate something of the kind, amalgamating some scheme of the Government with these schemes brought forward by the Dominion Governments?
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I can only say the Government thoroughly realise the importance of this subject, and are in communication with the Dominions.