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Wednesday, 29 June 1938

Mr E J HARRISON (Went worth) . - The House is indebted to the honorable member for Parkes (Sir Charles Marr) for having brought this matter before it. Because honorable members, generally, live in the capital cities of the States, they do not become aware of the departures that are made from the statutory plan of the city which must eventually become the first city of the Commonwealth. The Minister for the Interior (Mr. McEwen) said that the alteration complained of by the honorable member for Parkes was not the only departure that had been made from the plan. Whether or not the present Minister was the first Minister to be responsible for altering , the plan does not concern me. Nor does it concern me that the present Minister has authorized a departure of only 200 or 300 yards, whereas the honorable member for Parkes, when he was Minister, was responsible for a departure involving a number of acres. What does concern me is the fact that successive Ministers have altered the statutory plan to a great degree. On whose recommendation did those Ministers induce the Government to depart from the Griffin plan? The danger involved in making these departures is that Canberra may become a victim of the lack of ordered townplanning that has characterized our State capitals. Any one who knows anything at all about town planning, must look with horror upon the various capital cities of Australia. Sydney is a case in point. As a matter of fact I have read recently a criticism of the design of the garden city of Adelaide. Melbourne has also been criticized. The criticism of Adelaide was that the military man who laid out Adelaide marshalled his streets in ranks and dressed them by the right in the approved military fashion. The critic facetiously added that the only thing that the designer had forgotten was the circular outline of the drum. Otherwise he would have had a perfect city. The history of the development of our cities is a sorry one and it is likely to be repeated in Canberra if certain public servants start to insert their inexperienced fingers into townplanning. The facts that have emerged from the discussion to-day are: first, that the Griffin plan has been departed from by successive Ministers, and, secondly, that tenders have been called and work has been started contrary to the statute before the necessary papers have been tabled in this House and before the consent of this House has been obtained. The Minister chided the honorable member for Parkes with not understanding the position and said that he did not know the procedure. The Minister has violated the procedure in permitting work to be done without the approval of Parliament. Hehas been most culpable in this matter.

Mr Barnard - Not the present Minister.

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