COMMONWEALTH IMMUNITY FROM STATE LAWS WHETHER PROPERTY VESTED IN MINISTER FOR REPATRIATION IS SUBJECT TO MUNICIPAL RATES
AUSTRALIAN SOLDIERS' REPATRIATION ACT 1917, s. 5: AUSTRALIAN SOLDIERS' REPATRIATION ACT 1918, s. 3
The Comptroller, Department of Repatriation, has asked for advice as to whether land vested in the Minister for Repatriation is liable to municipal rates.
Under the Australian Soldiers' Repatriation Act as proposed to be amended by the Bill at present before Parliament(1) the Minister is a corporation sole for the purposes of the Act, and in carrying out such purposes is an instrumentality of the Commonwealth.
The High Court in the case of Municipal Council of Sydney v. The Commonwealth 1 C.L.R. 208 held that the levy of a municipal rate is taxation.
Taxation of the property of an instrumentality of the Commonwealth constitutes interference with that instrumentality, and is invalid under the rule laid down in D'Emden v. Pedder 1 C.L.R. 91 at p. 111.
In my opinion, therefore, land vested in the Minister for Repatriation under the Australian Soldiers' Repatriation Act is not liable to municipal rates.
[Vol. 15, p. 438]
(1)Enacted as the Australian Souldiers' Repartiation Act 1918.