Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/640

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


292 THE BRITISH EMPIRE: — QUEENSLAND

The chief items ot expenditure during 1897-98 were as under : — Interest on public debt, 1,324,333^. ; endowments to municipalities and divisional boards, 63,0101. ; public instruction, 247,473Z. ; colonial treasurer's depart- ment, 167,385^. ; secretary of public lands department, 84,014Z. ; department of agriculture, 37,280Z. ; cost of working railways, 684,566Z. ; posts and tele- graphs department, 313,610Z. The total expenditure from loans mostly on public works was 937,066^., of which the following are the principal items : — On railways, 626,974Z. ; electric telegraphs, 36,101Z. ; on harbours and rivers, 11,717^ ; defence, 3,875Z. ; water supply, 7,598Z. ; loans to local bodies, 116,877Z. ; public works' building, 12,274Z. ; advances under Sugar Works Guarantee Act, 70,016Z.

The estimated revenue for 1898-99 was 3,882,360Z., and the estimated expen- diture 3,866,507Z. The estimated value of the landed property of the colony in 1896, as taken for purposes of assessment under the several Acts for providing Local Government, was 41,733,530Z. This includes lands leased from the Crown for pastoral purposes, the lessees' interest in which has been capitalised for assessment purposes at 6,727,653Z., but is exclusive of unoccu- pied Crown lands, lands the property of local bodies, reserves for public pur- poses, and lands upon which are erected buildings for public worship.

The public debt of the colony amounted, on December 31, 1897, to the sum of 33,498,414?.

Defence.

The defence of the colony was provided for by an Act passed in 1884, by which, in addition to fully paid militia and volunteer corps to be maintained and assisted by the Government, every man (with a very few exceptions) between the ages of 18 and 60 is liable for military service under this Act. The Government have organised a drilled force of 2,800 men, about 130 of whom are fully paid regulars ; some 2,000 militia, paid for each day's drill ; the rest volunteers, assisted with uniform, &c. Naval defences are pro- vided for by two gunboats, two torpedo boats, and a picket-boat and five naval brigades. In addition, some of the tugs built for the harbour service are fitted with a bow gun for service if required. Queensland contributes to the pay- ment made by the Australian colonies to the Imperial Goveniment for the maintenance of the auxiliary cruisers and gunboats. {See post under 'Australian Defence.') The Queensland Government gun-vessels are the Gayundah and Paluma (450 tons), sister vessels, launched in 1884, and the Otter, Bonito and Stingaree, ranging between 290 and 450 tons.

Production and Industry.

Of the total area of the colony, 12,959,694 acres have been alienated : in process of alienation, under deferred payment system, are 1,854,399, leaving 413,023,987 acres still the property of the Crown, or about 97 per cent, of the total area of the colony. The receipts from the sale of land up to the end of 1897 amounted to 7,757,207Z. Under a Land Act passed in 1887, pro- vision is made for both conditional and unconditional selection ; under the latter land can be purchased at prices from 13s. id. per acre, payable by tweuty annual instalments. Conditional selection is the more general ; homestead farms, agricultural farms, grazing farms, and grazing homesteads can be selected. Homestead farms up to 160 acres, if occupied by selector personally for five years, may be secured in freehold at 2s. 6d. per acre, payable in ten annual instalments ; but, if conditions have been performed, the pur- chase may be completed and a title obtained at the end of five years. Agri- cultural farms can be acquired by a 20 years' lease with right of purchase ; maximum area, 1,280 acres; annual rent one-fortieth of the purchase price