Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 23 August 1973
Page: 277

Mr BONNETT (HERBERT, QUEENSLAND) - My question is directed to the Minister for Northern Development. I ask: What provision was made in the Budget for the Minister's area of responsibility for northern development and what new decisions has the Minister been able to persuade his colleagues to support?

Dr PATTERSON (DAWSON, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for Northern Development) - If the honourable member wishes to read the Budget he will find that a great deal of money has been made available in various fields in the northern part of Australia - in the fields of health, education, Aboriginal development, public works, water conservation--

Mr Malcolm Fraser - What about the Burdekin River?

Dr PATTERSON - The honourable member has not even read the Budget. He asks: 'What about the Burdekin River?' What did the previous government do about the development of the Burdekin River for the last 23 years and how much money did it make available in the last 23 years even for investigations? The answer is precisely nothing. It gave not one cent. Seeing that we are on that subject, who will forget the words of the then Leader of the Australian Country Party in 1949, when he said: 'We will build the Burdekin Dam.' That was in 1949. When this Government came to power some of the first things that I called for were the progressive reports on the Federal evaluation of the Burdekin proposals. I got nothing. There had been no evaluation made by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. In this Budget priority has been given to the Burdekin proposals. A sum of $200,00 has been made available for investigations in this financial year and this will be matched by $200,000 from the Queensland Government. So a sum of $400,000 is to be injected immediately into a top level investigation of the Burdekin proposals. I suggest that the honourable member for Wannon keep quiet in relation to the Burdekin proposal, because his government did precisely nothing about it.

One of the major areas of development in northern Australia will be Townsville. My colleague, the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, has given this a high priority.

He was recently in northern Queensland and saw some of the shocking conditions in Gladstone. What did the previous government do to help local government in Gladstone? What did the previous government do in respect of local government in Townsville? Development will be carried out in these places by the present Government. If honourable members opposite look at the Budget papers they will find that a large amount of money in fact, the greatest amount allocated in any financial period during the last 24 years will be diverted to northern Australia this financial year.

Suggest corrections