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Thursday, 25 November 1965

Mr JONES (Newcastle) .- Once again we have listened to a McCarthy-like speech by one of the young Fascists of the Liberal Party. If they had their way, we would be erecting the concentration camps for which one Mr. Adolf Hitler was famous. But I wish to deal with something that is of national importance, and here I express my appreciation to the Minister for National Development (Mr. Fairbairn) for being present in the House. I advised him earlier this morning that I proposed to speak. The matter to which I wish to refer is the over-centralisation of industry and development in the metropolis of Sydney and the failure of the New South Wales Government and this Commonwealth Government to give some assistance towards the completion of the railway line from Sandy Hollow to Maryvale.

One of the things which have prompted me to speak this morning is the number of reports appearing in the Sydney Press. I refer in particular to a report that appeared in the "Sydney Morning Herald" and all the other Sydney newspapers on 9th November of a speech delivered by the Chief Planner of the New South Wales State Planning Authority, Mr. C. E. Ferrier. Amongst other things, this gentleman is reported as having said -

Sydney was almost at the limit of its present rail transport, water and sewerage services. Extension of all services would cost an extra £1,000 million every seven years for the expected population increase of 200,000 in that period.

Let me emphasise that. The extension of all services will cost an extra £1,000 million every seven years. Mr. Ferrier went on to say -

Overtaxed public transport systems would soon be incapable of moving peak-hour traffic without staggered working hours.

Road and expressway systems now planned, designed for a population of only three million, would have to carry five million people by the end of the century.

I remind honorable members that this statement was made by the Chief Planner of the New South Wales State Planning Authority. Therefore I assume that it is made with some authority and some knowledge of what we can expect in Sydney in the very near future.

I refer also to a statement by the former Premier of New South Wales, Mr. J. B. Renshaw, M.L.A., on 11th March of this year when he outlined what his party proposed to do about the development of transport in Sydney. His proposal has been accepted and adopted by the present Government led by Mr. Askin. It provides for an expenditure of £80.5 million in six years on the development of the Sydney rail- way system. It also envisages the expenditure of £32 million in the next six years on expressway construction. Yet, when State and Federal parliamentary representatives of the Hunter Valley and adjoining electorates asked the State Government to make approximately £10 million available for the completion of the railway line from Sandy Hollow to Maryvale, they received an unfavourable reply. They were told that there was no money available for this work. Yet, as I have pointed out, £112 million is to be made available in the next six years for the development of the rail and road systems of Sydney.

Mr. Ferrierhas stated that the State Government will have to find £1,000 million every seven years for the development of roads, railways, sewerage and other community services and amenities. This can mean only a continuation of the present trend of over-centralisation. The present populations of Sydney and Melbourne represent 39.2 per cent, of the total Australian population. Members of the Country Party talk about decentralisation. They have five Ministers in the Common wealth Government and they have substantial representation in the New South Wales Government. How much money do the Governments supported by these men make available for the decentralisation of industry?

I believe that if the money were made available to complete the railway between Sandy Hollow and Maryvale - I have spoken on this subject previously in this chamber - it would help to bring about some decentralisation. Not satisfied with proposing to spend a huge sum of money on roads and other facilities in Sydney, the State Government has asked the New South Wales Maritime Services Board to investigate the siting of new terminals in Sydney Harbour for containerised cargoes, and it is now talking about developing Botany Bay as a satellite harbour for Sydney. All these things are helping to concentrate an excessive number of people in the Sydney metropolitan area. If the Government were genuine in its desire for decentralisation, the adoption of my suggestion would go a long way towards achieving that objective.

It has been stated by the bureaucrats of the New South Wales railways that the line from Sandy Hollow to Maryvale would not be a paying proposition. But I remind honorable members that a former Minister for Transport in New South Wales had this to say about the eastern suburbs railway project -

The railway is not expected to pay, but no railway in the world that I know of pays.

Apparently it is quite all right to develop new non-paying railway lines in Sydney, but it is not good policy to apply that principle to non-metropolitan railways. This Parliament can be expected to make a reasonable grant towards meeting our defence commitments. Nobody can deny that to have only one railway line connecting the southwestern, central western and north western areas of New South Wales with the seaboard - that which passes through Lithgow - is not in the best interests of the defence of this country. That this is unwise was clearly demonstrated in the recent air exercise carried out by the Royal Australian Air Force when aircraft theoretically destroyed a number of road and rail bridges in the Sydney and Newcastle areas.

For defence reasons, this Government has a responsibility in this matter. It should offer the New South Wales Government a reasonable grant to encourage it 10 help meet our defence commitments by completing this alternative route from the inland areas of New South Wales to the coast. Just as the Commonwealth Government made £20 million available to the Queensland Government for the modernisation of the railway line between Townsville and Mount lsa, so should it indicate to the New South Wales Government that it is prepared to make available special loan moneys - apart from normal loan allocations - to enable this work to be completed. It is almost completed now. The provision of a grant would enable the State Government to proceed with the work. I am not making an unreasonable request.

The Government realised about three years ago that there was urgent need to modernise three New South Wales ports - Sydney, Newcastle and Port Kembla. It made grants plus loan allocations for deepening work and certain other improvements. There are a number of precedents to support the claim that this Government has a responsibility to help. Therefore I emphasise that as a defence measure the Commonwealth Government must make available special loan funds for the completion of the Sandy Hollow-Maryvale railway line, just as it has made funds available for other works.

There is an urgent need for the completion of this line. This must be admitted when I point out that Newcastle's secondary industries alone import from the western part of New South Wales 275,750 tons of ore for the steel works and the Sulphide Corporation Pty. Ltd. If the line were constructed, products such as wool, wheat and other cereals, meat and other rural products, which we export could be shipped through the port of Newcastle and thus relieve much of the present congestion in Sydney Harbour. Backloading comprising 72,000 tons of fertiliser and other general rural requirements such as steel, pipes, wire, fence posts, masonite, machinery and general merchandise, is all passing through Sydney at the present time and adding to the congestion on the already overloaded railway system of the Sydney metropolitan area. Completion of the Sandy HollowMaryvale line at a cost of only £10 million, compared to the proposed expenditure of over £112 million in the Sydney area, would do much to meet the problems of defence and decentralisation.

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