HC Deb 06 June 1898 vol 58 cc719-20
MR. HOGAN (Tipperary, Mid.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has received an application from a British syndicate for the concession of a large tract of territory in New Guinea; whether he can state the actual area applied for and the purposes for which it is sought; and whether he has arrived at a final decision in the matter; and, if not, whether he will consult the Australian Governments that provide the funds for the administration of British New Guinea, and ascertain their views on the proposal?


An application for a concession in British New Guinea was made to me last year on behalf of a British syndicate, and the promoters were referred by me to Sir Hugh Nelson, the Prime Minister of Queensland, who was then in this country, as the Government of that Colony is primarily responsible for the administration of New Guinea. Two gentlemen deputed by the syndicate proceeded with him on his return to Queensland to discuss the matter with the Government of that Colony and the Lieutenant Governor of British New Guinea. An agreement giving the syndicate an option to purchase suitable lands to the extent of 250,000 acres for the purpose of cultivation of rubber and other products, or for mining, was concluded after full discussion at Brisbane, and on its being submitted to me with the draft of an Ordinance of the Legislature of Now Guinea to give effect to it, I intimated to the promoters and to the Government of Queensland that, subject to certain modifications required to protect the Government of British New Guinea, I should be prepared, on receiving an Ordinance passed by the local legislature, with the Amendments required, to advise Her Majesty not to disallow it. The syndicate have agreed to my conditions, and if and when I receive the amended Ordinance it will be my duty to submit it for Her Majesty's pleasure as promised. It is for the Government of Queensland, not for me, to consult the Governments of the other contributing Colonies on matters affecting the administration of British New Guinea.


I should like to ask whether this reply will be reported in full in the newspapers, because we have not heard a word?


Yes, Sir. But it is a very long one.

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