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Wednesday, 24 October 1973
Page: 2579

Mr MATHEWS (CASEY, VICTORIA) - I preface my question to the Minister for Urban and Regional Development by congratulating him on the magnificent personal achievement symbolised by yesterday's signing of the Albury-Wodonga agreement. I ask him a question about the Government's plans to purchase, subdivide, service and make available at cost residential land. What has been the progress in the negotiations which have been taking place? When does he anticipate legislation to be introduced in the State Parliaments? When does he expect the program to begin to bite on the price of residential land?

Mr UREN (REID, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Urban and Regional Development) - For the past 9 months officers of my Department have been negotiating with the States in regard to the Prime Minister's promise to set up land commissions. The land commissions will vary from State to State. It has been agreed now by the respective State Ministers that land commissions or their equivalent will be set up in each State. We hope that the matter will be finalised and legislation introduced before the end of this session. We hope that we will then be able to get under way with .the spending of some of the $30m that has been made available in this year's Budget. The States will be able to enter into contracts for up to $60m this year.

There has been good understanding between the States and the Australian Government on this matter. At first there was a lot of confusion over the level at which we should stabilise land prices. The problem is - whether in respect to the land commissions or our new city development proposals - that once the Australian or State governments notify their intention to nominate an area for study land speculators are able to capitalise on this knowledge. All the State governments have now agreed that there will be a form of land price stabilisation. That does not mean price control. What it means, in the case of AlburyWodonga, is that we will stabilise land prices as agreed between the Australian Government and the 2 State governments as at 3 October 1972. The price increase that would otherwise follow from the announcements by those governments of their intention to enter into these growth areas will not foe taken into consideration. The Victorian Government has already introduced legislation into the Victorian Parliament. The New South Wales Government has notified its intention to do so in the cases of Albury, Bathurst-Orange, the Campbelltown corridor and Wyong-Gosford. There has even been good understanding between the Australian Government and the Queensland Government. Might I say that there has been a remarkable achievement by the Australian and State governments in respect to urban affairs.

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