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Thursday, 11 November 1948

Mr TURNBULL - How long has price control been lifted?

Mr DALY - It does not matter how long price control has been lifted. As honorable members know, prices are spiralling out of all proportion to what they were when price control was administered by this Government. It is significant that when these facts are being put plainly, organized efforts are made by the Opposition to put speakers off their thoughts, and to try to stifle comment. However, I do not mind reiterating the facts. Whilst the Opposition does not like my approach to the problem, I must say that I was amused by the efforts of honorable members opposite to pass on to this Government the responsibility for the rise that has taken place in building costs. The full responsibility for the rising costs of building materials and other commodities, for- evictions, and for troubles associated with emergency accommodation, rests on the honorable members who sit opposite in this Parliament.

Mr McDonald - What about the introduction of the 40-hour week?

Mr DALY - Despite organized opposion by honorable members opposite over the years to hinder this Government in its efforts to solve this national problem, the record of anti-Labour governments in pre-war years was a sorry one indeed. Following the ratification of the Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement not long ago, this Government has been responsible for breaking all records in Australia for the construction of dwellings. Between 1945-46 and 1947-48, over 91,000 new houses were completed in this country. The Commonwealth and State Housing Agreement commenced to operate in 1945. By the 30th September of this year, under that agreement, approximately 17,000 dwellings were erected. The figures rose from 4,887 in 1946-47 to 6,370 in 1947-48. Those figures show the efforts that are being made by this Government, acting in cooperation with the State governments, to solve the housing problem.

In New South Wales and other States, the people now look to the Government to provide them with houses; In the year.1 before the war, no requests were made to1 the Australian Government or State governments to provide houses for the people. Economic conditions forced young couples to live in the homesof their parents, for they could not afford to rent houses of their own. The position, to-day is entirely different. The policy that was pursued in pre-war years by th*1 anti-Labour parties in the Commonwealth and State Parliaments did not provide for the housing of the people, but now the people realize that their capacity to purchase or rent homes depends in the main upon the activities of the Australian Government and- the State governments. Acting in co-operation with the State governments, this Government has caused thousands of houses to be built throughout Australia. A. system of rental rebates has been instituted, which is something that- was noi thought of by honorable members opposite. It has afforded great relief to many people in the lower income groups, because under it they can afford to occupy adequate and proper accommodation. Throughout the metropolitan area of Sydney, thousands of homes have been erected and are now occupied by happy families in the true Australian fashion.

The Government has been subjected to much criticism by the press in relation to housing. From time to time ballots are conducted in New South Wales for houses built by government enterprise, but the newspapers do not publish the results of those ballots so that people who are sorely in need of a home may know whether they have been successful in obtaining one and when they may occupy it. Some people are prepared to criticize the Government, but are not prepared to offer constructive criticism or to make a practical effort to solve the housing problem. . They content themselves with decrying the efforts of the Commonwealth and the States. I felt that it was necessary to make a few remarks on this subject, and the reactions of honorable members opposite show that even they realize the truth of what I have said. I congratulate the Australian and State governments on their efforts to solve our bousing problem, and I look forward to a continuance of the present progressive housing policy. I trust that the housing target will he achieved and eventually passed.

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