Opinion Number. 388

Subject

SEAT OF GOVERNMENT WHETHER VARIATION OF BOUNDARY DETAILS IN AGREEMENT TO GRANT LANDS APPROVED BY COMMONWEALTH AND STATE ACTS REQUIRES AMENDING LEGISLATION

Key Legislation

SEAT OF GOVERNMENT ACCEPTANCE ACT 1909, s.3 : SEAT OF GOVERNMENT SURRENDER ACT 1909 (N.S.W.). s. 5

Date
Client
The Secretary, Department of Home Affairs

In the agreement between the Commonwealth and the State of New South Wales in relation to the Seat of Government(1), it is, by clause 5, provided that the State shall grant to the Commonwealth without payment certain lands therein described.

Detailed descriptions of the boundaries of the lands to be granted are set out in the agreement.

The exact boundary lines as detailed in the agreement would, in certain cases, be very difficult and expensive to survey and Mr Scrivener, the surveyor, has suggested a variation of the boundary lines(2) as set out in the agreement.

The agreement has been ratified by an Act of the Commonwealth Parliament(3), and by an Act of the State Parliament.(4)

The matter has been referred to me by the Department of Home Affairs for advice as to the necessity for securing an amendment of the Seat of Government Acceptance Act 1909 in the direction of the alteration of the descriptions.

Unless some alteration in substance is contemplated, I think there is no necessity for any amending legislation.

The proposal, as I understand it, does not contemplate any alteration in substance, but merely a variation in detail of certain boundaries so as to avoid the necessity for an expensive and difficult survey. The land to be granted is, to all intents, the same in area and shape.

It must have been contemplated that some adjustment would be found necessary in carrying out the agreement, and, in my opinion, it is within the power of the two Governments, without additional legislation, to mutually assent to any reasonable adjustments which do not involve a departure from the substance of the agreement.

[Vol. 8, p. 118]

(1) See the Seat o f Government Acceptance Act 1909, First Schedule and the Seat of Government Surrender Act 1909 (N.S.W.), First Schedule.

(2) In respect of the land at Jervis Bay.

(3) Seat of Government Acceptance Act 1909, section 3.

(4) Seat of Government Surrender Act 1909 (N.S.W.), section 5.