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Wednesday, 31 October 1956

Mr Luchetti (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) i asked the Minister representing the Minister for National Development, upon notice -

1.   What has been the movement of population from the country to the capital cities throughout the Commonwealth during the past five years?

2.   What has been the net percentage gain of population throughout Australia during the past five years in (a) rural areas (b) urban areas, and (c) capital cities?

3.   How many new factories and industries have been commenced throughout the Commonwealth during the past five years, showing separately the numbers in country centres and capital cities?

4.   What Government surveys have been made in relation to decentralization during the past five years?

5.   What direct votes of Commonwealth funds are made available to country area development throughout Australia?

Mr Beale - The Minister for National Development has furnished the following replies: - 1 and 2. There are no statistics available regarding the movement or percentage gain of population between urban and rural areas during the past five years. The population at successive censuses is classified into " divisions of State " - i.e. metropolitan, urban, other urban and rural, but the growth of urbanization and variations in the pattern of the local government system (on which the classification is mainly based) make precise comparisons impossible. The Bureau of Census and Statistics, by making various adjustments to the 1947 figures, has produced the following approximations of population change between 1947 and 1954:-


From time to time articles and maps purporting to describe population change in greater detail have appeared in various publications. They should be treated with caution, bearing in mind the limitations of the basic data, which all must use. The Atlas of Australian Resources, which is prepared by my department, gives an indication of population distribution at 1947 and population change between 1933 and 1947 in two maps and their accompanying commentaries, "Population Density and Distribution " and " Population Increase and Decrease ". Similar information on the bases of the 1954 Census is being compiled and will be incorporated in a map in this atlas in due course. Copies of the atlas are held in the Parliamentary Library.

3.   Information published by the Bureau of Census and Statistics shows the net increase in the number of factories in the Commonwealth over the five years ended 30th July, 1955. In 1949-50 the total number of factories was 41,592, while in 1954-55 the number was 51,056, an overall increase of 9,464 or 22.7 per cent. Factories associated with the processing of industrial metals and the manufacture of machines and conveyances were responsible for the largest increase in this number, having risen by 44 per cent. in the five years since 1949-50. However, statistics showing the breakup of these figures for metropolitan and country areas are not available.

4.   Several surveys have been made by Commonwealth authorities in recent years with a view to decentralization and the use of underdeveloped areas. Surveys which have been published from 1951 onwards include - Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization: Survey of the Katherine-Darwin Region, Survey of the Townsville-Bowen Region, and Survey of the Barkly Region. In addition the Commonwealth Government has sponsored studies relating to decentralization by various State universities. The State Governments, particularly in New South Wales and Victoria, have also been active in examining resources with a view to decentralization. Publications released since 1951 include-

New South Wales -

Premier's Department -

The New England Region, Preliminary

Survey of Resources.

The Upper Hunter Region Preliminary Survey of Resources.

Newcastle Regional Development Committee -

Report on the proposed Future Development of the Newcastle Region. 1955

Victoria -

Central Planning Authority. - Resources Surveys of Upper Goulburn Region, Mallee Region, Loddon Region, and East Gippsland Region.

5.   The principal votes of Commonwealth funds which may be regarded as being available for expenditure in country areas are listed below. It is, of course, largely an arbitrary matter as to what is regarded as directly available for country area development.


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