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Tuesday, 21 May 1957

Mr FAIRHALL (PATERSON, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Interior) - It is quite true that Sir William Holford, who is Professor of

Town Planning at London University, has been commissioned by the Commonwealth to review the Canberra town plan. Sir William will arrive here on about 10th June and will spend two or three weeks, I think, on his on the spot investigations. He will then return to London to prepare his report, lt is quite true that the original plan of Canberra resulted from a competition which was won by Walter Burley Griffin, who was an American town planner. 1 think that if the honorable gentleman reads the records he will find that Walter Burley Griffin's work and proposals did not pass without a good deal of scathing criticism and a good deal of compromise. I think he will also find that, due to the terms and conditions of the competition and one or two other things that happened at that time, quite a number of prominent town planners who might have joined in the competition refrained from doing so. It can be generally said that we are quite aware of the fact that Australia tends to develop more along American lines than British lines.

At the same time, however, the principles of town planning are universal, and I have no doubt that Sir William Holford is not only capable of applying his tremendous experience to this particular problem in the Australian background, but as he has done so much work in other countries he will also give us views which are not likely to follow an English pattern. It is quite true that we have not investigated the possibility of bringing an American town planner of comparable experience here, but I think it is a job for one man. Otherwise, we would find a whole series of disagreements, and we would rather avoid that. The honorable gentleman will understand that any alteration to the gazetted town plan of Canberra must first pass the scrutiny of the Parliament, a fact which would give the honorable gentleman an opportunity to submit his own ideas on the subject.

On the question of the use of parklands, it is interesting to note that, in fact, there has been no dedication of parklands in Canberra up to the moment. A tremendous amount of open space is being used for sporting and recreational purposes. The tendency is for the public to come to regard these areas as parks, and that is one of the reasons why we felt that it was timely for the whole matter to be looked at by a competent town planner. The honorable member may rest assured that we will handle the matter with extreme care.

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