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Thursday, 27 April 1961


Mr ERWIN (Ballaarat) .- After listening to the statements of the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard), I am inclined to believe that he is a warmonger. He mentioned the gun cotton area which was established at Ballarat during wartime. The flax mill was also built there during the war. He boasted that this was a flourishing area during the war. He said that the Labour Government established some kind of paper mill there. I want to tell the House that the paper mill established by the Labour Government was almost defunct until the Liberal Government came into office.. I am very pleased to say that establishments in the gun cotton area and the pulp and paper mill are expanding.

It is true that we disposed of the sulphuric acid plant to Imperial Chemical Industries of Australia and New Zealand Limited, but this is a flourishing plant employing many men. In the same area we have Mintex Proprietary Limited, which manufactures brake linings for the whole of Australia. We have one of the first Cleveland group of manufacturing companies in Ballarat expanding and employing many men. All these industries have been established during the last five years. Also established in Ballarat in this time is the great American Timken tapered roller bearing company. Villiers Australia Proprietary Limited, manufacturers of internal combustion engines, have also been established there.

I remind the House that the British Nylon Spinners (Australia) Proprietary Limited, a £2,000,000 industry, was prepared to come to Ballarat. It selected a site there and was ready to establish the plant. The honorable member for Lalor knows very well that the Cain Government in Victoria refused to grant any transport concessions. All the poppycock used by the honorable member in his speech to-night was most insincere. This is a typical election stunt that we witness when we get near election time. Nothing was said about the fact that the Bolte Government appointed an all-party committee to consider the decentralization of population. That committee has only recently submitted its report. More decentralization has taken place in Victoria since the present Liberal Government assumed office in that State than ever took place under Labour governments. The development of the port of Portland was never thought of by Labour governments. As the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Forbes) pointed out, we face certain problems with respect to decentralization but none of those problems was mentioned by honorable members opposite this morning. We know that during a visit to Ballarat by the honorable member for Lalor things got too hot for him and he had to leave in a hurry, although I do not know why.

I cannot understand the twaddle that was uttered by honorable members opposite this morning. There was no meaning to their arguments. We have seen things of this kind happening on other occasions as elections have drawn near. Honorable members opposite seek to jump on the band-wagon of decentralization. They seem to think that if an industry is prepared to establish itself in Australia all that a government need do is hold a gun at that industry's head and tell it where it should go. What nonsense. We know that Tom Playford would be only too happy to have any industry in South Australia. Honorable members opposite are very insincere. They have no idea what they are talking about. They have no idea how to achieve proper decentralization.

We on this side of the chamber have ideas and we are putting them into practice. We must realize that the responsibility for decentralization rests with the States. I would support any move to help the States in respect of decentralization but we must remember that the responsibility rests with the States. Honorable members opposite are attempting to lay the blame for lack of decentralization at the door of the Commonwealth. If we were to accede to the wishes of the Opposition we would need to grasp more control from the States. The Opposition had no argument to offer this morning. I appreciate what the honorable member for Barker said; he knows something about decentralization. The honorable member for Wannon (Mr. Malcolm Fraser) has done a great deal about decentralization in his area. Wherever we have Liberal governments we have progress and development, and people are ready to spend money. People will not spend money when a Labour government is in power. Wherever we see a Liberal administration we see money pouring into the country because the people have confidence in Liberal administrations. They know that a Liberal government will encourage and assist industries to expand. Under Liberal governments Australia has expanded and developed far more than it ever did under Labour administrations.







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