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Thursday, 10 May 1973
Page: 2032


Mr KERIN (Macarthur) - No piece of legislation so far presented to this Parliament is of more significance than this one to my electorate. The issues that this legislation is directly related to will determine more than any others the quality of life for the overwhelming majority of Australians in our urban areas. And it is to the urban areas and regions that this Government is so concerned to give a new focus in the various planning structures, financial arrangements and areas o( policy-making. The greatest work of man is the building of cities. To build is to plan. Each of the 4 major urban functions - housing, work, transport and recreation - are capable of being planned, but in Australia their individual patterns, relationships and interrelationships have hitherto been determined primarily by the market and by the accidents of history. The political institutions of our country may be classed among the accidents of history, for even when we have deliberately set up institutions as a deliberate exercise, and particularly in the case of the Commonwealth Constitution, we have seen that they cannot and have not been able to cope with urban planning. A social scientist, Sir Geoffrey Vickers, recently warned:

Two doubts seem to shadow the future working of our political institutions. One concerns the institutions needed to make any policy appropriate in scale to the needs of our situation; the other concerns the institutions needed to implement any such policy. Both stem from the increasing complexity of our situation, the increasing speed and unpredictability of its changes and the increasing time-lag needed to make any effective response. Both are enhanced, as well as relieved, by the increasing refinement of the tools which we are evolving to meet our needs. These seem to be blurring the division of function traditionally drawn between policy-making and planning by magnifying functions which fall between the two.

Although he was referring to the British example and although we have an even more complex political situation, what he said is true and what the Government is setting out to do is to tackle policy at the right scale and to provide a means of implementation. Planning must reflect social aims. In the cities of Sydney and Melbourne, given no determined desire to plan for the whole south-east of

Australia, one can expect that they will have to add 5 or 6 million people to their total population by the year 2000. Albury-Wodonga and other urbanisation may syphon off one million people by the year 2000 in much the same way as Canberra is now syphoning off some of the growth of Sydney and Melbourne. Even so, most of those 5 or 6 million people will have to be fitted in or around the existing city frameworks which will continue through this period.

One can define at least 4 kinds of urban growth patterns which will have to be dealt with by the 3 tiers of government in Australia apart from the marginal work that can be done in urban rehabilitation. The 4 patterns are: new towns in town; new towns; old towns expanded; and possibly paired towns. The electorate of Macarthur encompasses the Campbelltown-Camden section of the southwest corridor as defined by the New South Wales State Planning Authority's Sydney Regional Outline Plan. It is claimed that it is the largest new city project in both size and time scale ever undertaken anywhere. The electorate also includes the southern extension of the Wollongong-Port Kembla city area in suburbs such as Dapto, Albion Park and Shellharbour where accelerated urban development is now taking place. The present population of the Campbelltown-Camden area exceeds 33,000 and a population increase of 470,000 is proposed for the year 2000. The phasing of this growth hopes to achieve a population of 185,000 by 1980- but I doubt that this will be achieved by that time, 370,000 by 1990 and nearly half a million by the end of the planning period.

Some idea of the magnitude of this growth can be stressed by looking at the demand for just one item - education. Thirty-six per cent ; of the population in the Campbelltown city 1 area are under 14 years of age. By 1980, if projections hold, there will be an additional requirement for 56 primary schools, 23 secondary schools and at least 1,300 places for students at the tertiary level. A great deal of planning has been done in the Campbelltown area and this goes back to the days of the County of Cumberland. State and local government are combining well to plan in co-ordination the suburb of Macquarie Fields and Commonwealth assistance is essential for such areas in the future. What this Bill is about is the setting up of a structure that will help. '

We should all be clear on the implications of this Bill. The Cities Commission does not just represent a restructuring of the National Urban and Regional Development Authority. NURDA was replaced and boosted by the Government in December 1972 when the Department of Urban and Regional Development was created. The existing structure of NURDA is being transformed by its creation into a commission that will work closely with the Department in the manner decribed by the Minister for Urban and Regional Development in his second-reading speech. NURDA no longer exists in isolation. The Cities Commission will exist in close harmony with the Department of Urban and Regional Development. The functions of the Commission will be to conduct studies of regions, play a key role in the establishment of new cities, act as the major consultant to the Department in physical planning exercises with respect to old and new cities, to provide a fund of consultants and to liaise with other levels of government.

I have spoken of the magnitude of the problem we are faced with and the need for planning structures to be set up at an adequate level. In the Government's view the former NURDA was not adequate for the task that the nation faces. If a regional approach for Australia is properly defined it is likely that the National Capital Development Commission, given its manifest success, could be regarded as a regional planning authority that could cope with many of the range of planning problems before us. Canberra is a new town and most of our planning will be in the context of new towns or old towns expanded. The skills built up in the NCDC will be one of the greatest resources available to the Cities Commission. The Cities Commission will be able to commission NCDC to carry out projects and a'.so and most importantly, to build bridges and co-operate with State and local planning authorities, of which. the New South Wales State Planning Authority is a major body and has considerable expertise. Co-operation and coordination is the name of the game. I am encouraged by comments of prominent people at a recent builders conference. They said, and we all know, that the State governments desire this help from the Federal Government. They said that, by definition, if we are faced with this population expansion by the year 2,000 the resources will be available. The previous NURDA was entirely limited by the fact of Treasury dominance and an overdelayed birth. It was only an advising group and the studies commissioned may well have been wasted unless there was a government prepared to act in urban affairs. We are not simply changing the name. The Cities Commission is now a body linked to a department which will be a strong department. Although the studies carried out by the previous NURDA are still under wraps, they were conceived as excessively physical, that is, for example, engineering feasibility studies.

Some comments have been made on the respective roles of the Department of Urban and Regional Development and the Cities Commission. It is important that there be discussions by qualified people.- It is more important that there be discussions by the many people and bodies concerned for some time with planning as an art and that now we have a government committed to planning, for discussion to centre on the priorities with respect to the forms of planning. What the Government intends in the relationship between the Department and the Commission is quite novel for Australian planning practice. We do not propose that the most sustained work will necessarily be done by the Department but that the Commission will essentially concentrate its expertise on the physical aspects of planning. The desirable social, economic and political goals will be placed where they should be - with the people, their representatives, the Ministry and the Parliament. The Department will be the overall policy maker. It will present to Government a range of alternatives and costs and above all the necessary co-ordination. It will state the rules by which the game should be played, so that the goal will be achieved.

The past practice has been for too much planning in Australia to be concentrated in physical planning terms, such as land use or engineering surveys. This has resulted in planning authorities which have neither bad authority or been able to implement their plans. There has been no real power. The interface between planners and people has not been humane and the only sublimation has been frustration. That the Commission will prevent frustration and that the relationship of the Commission to the Department will be a living one is at the core of and is the strength of this Bill.

The Commission will be created as a specialist body with the Department emerging as a planning authority with broader bases of interest in planning than anything previously created in Australia. Many people are saying that we are acting too fast in too many areas. The simple fact with respect to urban planning and the problems of the cities on which the Government concentrated in the recent election campaign, is that there is great urgency. The pressure for action in my electorate is immense. Australia has been the most urbanised new nation since 1890. The United States of America and Canada, for example, did not catch up until well into the 1920s and later. The urgency for action' is compounded by the neglect of past governments and the problems of State governments in mobilising adequate finance and resources. As it takes 41 to 5 years to produce a block of residential land in the Australian Capital Territory, where there is a proper planning body, it is very apparent that immediate action must be taken in the fringes of existing city areas,' particularly Sydney and Melbourne. 1 now wish to relate what I have said more specifically to the Campbelltown-Camden area and in general to the south-west corridor of Sydney. It is a natural region in terms of any definition for approach to the Commonwealth Grants Commission. A master plan has been completed and awaits implementation. The decision by the Commonwealth to re-examine land availability in the Menai-Holsworthy area caused some delay in the New South Wales State Planning Authority releasing its strategic plan for the development of the area overall. The National Capital Development Committee acted as an agency of the Department of Urban and Regional Development to look at the corridor and to suggest ways in which the Commonwealth could most rapidly assist. The implications of an East Hills to Glenfield rail link also complicate the picture. Holsworthy is seen as a crash program to help ease the acute backlog in low cost housing in the metropolitan area. I have little doubt that the report of the National Capital Development Committee which was prepared in close consultation with the State Planning Authority will come up with the same sort of planning conclusions - an enormous amount of work has already been done - and that it will also concur in respect of the phasing of growth.

I would assume that the Commonwealth has now been presented with a series of recommendations involving a range of costs and that, given the priorities being set by the Department, except in the one set for coordination, will be able to proceed. However, I doubt that there is any way that Commonwealth land will be able to be released quickly, given the development time required, even on land which it owns and which can be developed quicker, lt is essential that work proceed on plans already set out in the considered hope that aspects of overall coordination can rapidly catch up.

It has been lack of co-ordination and direction in Government spending which has been the main limit on private development in the Campbelltown area. The Lend Lease Corporation is developing the largest private estate in Australia in that area and the economic limits to its operations have been set in demand terms by the state of the market, that is, the amount that people can afford, and in supply terms particularly by the rate at which the Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Board can supply water and sewerage, particularly sewerage. One of the priorities of this Government is to see that loan funds at better rates of interest will be made available to semi-government authorities, such as the Metropolitan Water, Sewerage and Drainage Board. The Lend Lease Corporation cannot develop land faster than the constraints placed upon it. It needs to have a supply of land to program its activities but too often delays in the release of land - cause it to accrue speculative profits which it does not wish to set out to make. Although I consider land for lease is a desirable means of placing land within the reach of many, it is essential that those able to afford to buy developed land at cost should be allowed to do so.

Planning itself will bring down costs once services can be phased in. Sound planning can operate under either the leasehold or the freehold system, or a combination of both, provided that there is a strong planning organisation. It seems to me that the best way to handle the development of an area such as the south-west corridor of Sydney is by a development corporation which is present on the site. Spade work and social priorities set by the relevant Commonwealth, State and local government authorities will concentrate on the factors of physical planning, finance, politics and management. I consider only a development corporation can handle all those factors once the real work has to be done. The corporation may consist of any number of people but must be headed by a very' competent person or a small group.

It seems logical to me in the case of Campbelltown and Camden - which is, in American terms, either a free new town or possibly an old town expanded - that there be representatives of local government, business, unions and academics on the corporation in a board role with a manager heading the board, with a staff composed of personnel from the various State and local agencies. I cannot stress too strongly the role of management. Co-operation at all levels of government is essential and is constantly being stressed by this Government. There is an enormous need for co-operation between the relative departments, the Department of Urban and Regional Development and the Department of Transport. Urban transport is one. of the key factors in the development of the CampbelltownCamden area. State and local government authorities have been calling for assistance. Assistance is being offered, but first we must set up the structures which can rationally co-operate with them.

The reason why I am of the opinion that there is a need for a strong manager or team for each development corporation is that it has been demonstrated in the United States and the United Kingdom that success depends ultimately on jobs. The more rapidly a project becomes economically viable the more rapidly social institutions can be set up with respect to the detailed planning. Such social institutions must set out to avoid mistakes of other large housing projects and must include very basic human amenities such as corner shops, shopping centres, transport nodes and child care centres open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to care for the children of working mothers. In May 1969 there were 413,900 families in Australia with children under 12 without a parent during working hours. There is also need for special facilities for handicapped children. There is a great need for social workers in the towns and cities themselves. Industries must be attracted to the Campbelltown area and better commuter facilities must be provided. A local manager of a development corporation would be better able to promote industrialisation.

On the commuter problem, I am yet to be convinced that the New South Wales Railways cannot provide an inter-urban rail service direct to Sydney. The Southern Aurora and other expresses are programmed direct through the metropolitan rail network and it would seem a reasonable proposition that a train servicing Campbelltown could follow or precede one of these express trains in the morning or evening. An immediate measure that can be taken, should be taken and possibly will be recommended to the Government is that telephone charges in the Campbelltown area be levied at Sydney rates. It is essential that they be made at Sydney rates. But there is another way out of the problem. This measure could best be carried out by a specific subsidy to the corporation for telephone subscribers and industries in the corridor. There are many other immediate measures which can be implemented and which have been planned. These include work to start on a technical college, a university - perhaps an open university - a hospital and through town by-passes. Land has been acquired and planning has been made for the Oxley Street by-pass.

Although I have spoken mainly on my electorate, I want to conclude on a general note with respect to urban and regional planning. Many of us would like to marry 12 pretty girls but most of us can handle only one woman. We must concentrate resources on a few cities or regions or nothing will be achieved. I support the Bill with all my heart.







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