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THE PRELL PLAN. I Federal Cabinet's Inquiry.
Proposals for the inauguration of a land settlement scheme in the Federal Capital Territory, which are shortly to be considered bv the Federal Cabinet are bnsed on plans submitted by Mr CE Prell of Gundowringa The Prime Minister (Mr Lyons) some time ago visited Gundowringa, which Is situated between Goulburn andCiookwcll and inspected the work being carried out by Mr Prell Mr Lyons has now arranged that when the next meeting of the Federal Cabinet is held at Canberia the whole of the members of the Cabinet will motor to Gundowringa and Inspect
Mr Prell holds the view that many previ- ous land settlement schemes have no1 suc- ceeded because the settlers had received in- adequate training, or there was insufficiently rigorous selection of settlers, or some of the lands resumed were unsuitable or finally because heavy development charges crippled the settlers Mr Prell's own work at Gun- dowringa has been mainly in the improvement of pastures, which has inn eased the carrying capacity of the property, and the average wool production He considers that theie is enor- mous scope for improvements on the Table- lands, bv simllai methods, on country with rainfall of, say, betwepn 20 and 30 lnchp« per annum The basis of his scheme is that nny land developed to a carrying capacity ot three sheep to the acre will be capable of suppoitlng a man and his family at a reason- able standard of living on an area of not moie
than 200 acres
The plans submitted by Mr Prcll to the Fedeial Government provide for the applica- tion of the scheme to pastoral as distinct from agricultural, country, it being claimed that on country improved by his methods fat lamb raising can be profitably cal ried out in conjunction with wool production The scheme It Is urged would make possible land settle- ment foi small holders on a laige scale undei conditions giving a return équivalent to the basic wage in the cities One of the essen- tials of the scheme is the thorough training of every sutler before he takes over the land
Although the plan envisages the provision by the Government of a large sum of money for the resumption of areas selected for de loptrent, the actual management would be largely in private hands For this purpose Mr Prell favours the formation of a land settlement committee, comprising a managlnp director, with a thorough knowledge of pas- ture improvement, and three private citizens with a knowledge of pasture conditions The Minister for Lands, or, in the case of the rpderal Government, the Minister for the Interior, would also be an ex-offlcio member of the committee Local land settlement committees would be formed to control the scheme in particular districts Splected apDli cants would îecelve 10/ a week wages, In addi- tion to their keep, and would be employed on the property during the five years develop- mental period They would be thoroughly trained In all aspects of property manage- ment and pasture Improvement, and aurlng the five years necessary for the transfer from natural to Improved grasses the whole area would be developed as one property, without any relation to its subsequent subdivision
At the end of the developmental period of five years, the capital expenditure for each property would be divided amongst the num- ber of settlers receiving living ureas, and intei est on this capital at 4 per cent would be charged, while the principal would be repaid
over 30 years
Dr. I. Clunles Ross, of the McMoster Animal
Health Laboratory, University of Sydney, who has been especially interested in the Prel! Plan, estimates that the initial capital outlay and working expenses for a property of 10,000 acres would be about £55,000. He further estimates that with land resumed for £4/10/ an acre, which in the developmental years has been found capable of improvement from one to two and a half or three sheep to the acre, with an increase In wool production from 8J to 111 lb per sheep, the individual settler, after paying all Interest and working costs, would receive a net profit of £176 per
Land settlement, it is realised by the Federal Government, is primarily a matter for the States. The question for decision by the Federal Cabinet is whether Mr. Prell's plan shall be inaugurated on an experimental basis in the Federal Capital Territory. As a preliminary to a decision by the Cabinet, his proposals are being examined by the Council for Sclentlflo and Industrial Resesrch.