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Tuesday, 30 October 1956

Mr POLLARD (Lalor) .- I wish to direct the attention of the Minister for Immigration (Mr. Townley) to the Altona immigrant hostel. During the last two years, I have made several visits to this hostel and I have been appalled by the conditions that exist there. The place is most unattractive, and the buildings badly need painting. The hostel is unattractive enough to live in, but it is worse if those who have to live there are obliged to reside in buildings that require painting both internally and externally. The accommodation is severely cramped and, generally speaking, the situation there is so bad that numerous complaints have been directed to me. The Ministers Fraternal at Williamstown - a most reputable and responsible body - has communicated with me and informed me that in its opinion conditions are so unsatisfactory that action is badly needed. The ministers themselves have visited the hostel and have suggested thatI should accompany them to confirm their complaints. Although there is no need for me to go to the hostel, as I have already been there on a number of occasions and know that what they have said is correct, I shall visit the place again.

The Altona hostel is worse than the one at Brooklyn, to which I have referred on a number of occasions in this House. The Minister might tell me that there is an immigrants' advisory committee, and that it can consider these matters, and so on, but I do ask him to make this subject a matter for urgent and immediate inquiry. The ministers fraternal that I have already mentioned, is composed of representatives of all the Christian churches, and they have made direct representations to me. I ask the Minister to take appropriate action and ascertain whether improvements can be made to the hostel as a matter of urgency.

Mr HAROLD HOLT (HIGGINS, VICTORIA) - I shall have inquiries made into the matter raised by the honorable member.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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