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Wednesday, 10 October 1973
Page: 1898


Mr KATTER (Kennedy) - I wish to raise 2 matters. I will refer to the first quite briefly. On 26 September last in reply to a question put to him by my Leader, the right honourable member for Richmond (Mr Anthony), the Minister for Labour (Mr Clyde Cameron) stated:

The present scheme has been grossly abused by the Premier of Queensland, to name one who has grossly abused the scheme.

He was referring to the non-metropolitan unemployment relief. He went on to say:

He has used Commonwealth money to channel financial assistance to the Brisbane City Council - the amount is some $280,000 - when the real need in Queensland is in country areas and not in the Brisbane City Council area at all.

In doing so whether knowingly or not he was actually criticising an action taken by the mei.;l:.: .;.:ยป.- io ico'- at the details of the statistics for the electorate of Mallee. I would be pleased to hear any representations from him or from anybody else on what can be done in relation to those individual cases. I ask for leave to incorporate in Hansard the details of the information that I have given.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows) -

 

Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Alderman Clem Jones who I might mention is a personal friend of mine and someone for whom I have almost a real affection. However, if I may I will present the facts to the House.

On 14 February last year the previous Federal Government at the Premier's Conference allotted Queensland an extra $10m including a special grant of $2.<25m for rual unemployment relief. The next day, 15 February, the Australian Labor Party Lord Mayor of Brisbane Alderman Clem Jones stated in the 'Courier-Mail' that the Queensland Premier, Mr Bjelke Petersen, had sold Brisbane right down the line in not demanding money for unemployment relief in Brisbane. Alderman Clem Jones said:

No one denied the need to spend money to relieve unemployment in country areas -

That is typical of him because he is a fairminded man - but Brisbane had almost 50 per cent of Queensland's population and 50 per cent of the unemployed, yet . was not to receive a single cent.

This was last year of course. On 18 February, 3 days later, the Treasurer and Liberal Leader in Queensland, Sir Gordon Chalk, demanded a special grant of $lm for Brisbane unemployed. The next day the then Minister for National Development Mr Swartz said that

 

Queensland could use any or all of its allocation in Brisbane or directed through the Brisbane City Council. That same day Alderman Jones claimed that Mr Bjelke Petersen had stopped the allocation of funds at the Premiers' Conference.

On 23 February last year the Queensland Cabinet approved the granting of funds out of its allocation to the Brisbane City Council to create 500 jobs. The Lord Mayor, Alderman Jones and the then A.L.P. Federal President, Mr Tom Burns, were both quoted as saying that the Premier was interested only in the country and had given the bulk of its funds to country areas. This is in contrast to what was claimed by the Minister for Labour. I just want to clarify the position and put it on record.

The main matter on which I want to speak tonight is the provision of television stations for areas which I and the honourable member for Maranoa (Mr Corbett) represent and also areas represented by the honourable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr Collard) and one or two other honourable members. We have been struggling in our attempts to build up in the minds of the Australian public the fact that the people in these areas are deprived of most amenities. The people in that part of the world have been waiting for 10 to 15 years for any sort of television service. If I am speaking vehemently I am speaking no more vehemently than when I spoke during the course of the term of the previous Government. It is not just a matter of coming forward now and taking pieces off this Government. Like the honourable member for Maranoa, over a period of many years, I have had a consistent point of view on this matter.

Finally, we are told that the areas we rep.resent are to receive the services of a certain number of stations. Admittedly, the stations are not going to be renowned for the areas over which they will provide a television signal and this is most regrettable. However, I suppose we were pleased that we were going to get some sort of television service. I asked question after question on this matter and wrote letters continuously, particularly this year. I think I wrote about 6 letters and telegrams before I was able to get any sort of precise information.

The Minister for the Media (Senator Douglas McClelland) in good faith I am sure, on the advice of the Australian Broadcasting Control Board, gave us details as to when these tele vision stations would be operating in our areas. They were to be installed in the electorate of Kennedy. A program in writing was given to me setting out information quite specifically for which I was most grateful and which I publicised widely because I had previously {been given nebulous information over the whole of this year. At last I was able to tell cur people that they were going to have a television station, after years and years, by December 1973. This was one of the specific details which were provided.

However, quite by chance I have found out something. Let me impress this on the Control Board. I was at a conference last week in Julia Creek and in the text of a telegram dealing with something else - admittedly it dealt with television but not with programming - it was pointed out that some of the stations which had been mentioned would not now be in operation by February 1974. 1 want to voice the most vehement protest about this bungling that has been going on and the way in which the people in these areas have been treated. The honourable member for Maranoa and these people and I have been treated as second rate citizens. First of all we were beggarised around. We received nebulous information - sidestepping information - from the Broadcasting Control Board. Both the responsible Ministers - Sir Alan Hulme and Senator Douglas McClelland - had to base their information on the information they received from the Control Board. I think that the Board had better pull up its socks and it had better treat the people of inland Queensland with a damn sight more respect.

I will now place on record the facts. I do not know whether the honourable member for Maranoa has received subsequent information but we had not received any information regarding this revised programming. I have not received it to this date. I am going to ask why. I am sure that the Minister will demand from the Control Board the reason for this shabby treatment not only of the representatives of thousands of people but also of those people themselves. This is not good enough and I voice my protest. I will certainly take the matter to the Minister and demand a precise statement - there will be no more kidstakes - as to when these stations will go into these areas. I will demand to know the reason why there has been this further delay and also why were were not advised as to why the delay has occurred.







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