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Notes from a speech at the opening of the Bankstown Centre



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NOTES FOR A SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER, MR. E . G . WHITLAM,

Q.C ♦ , M.P., AT THE OPENING OF THE BANKSTOWN CENTRE,

SYDNEY, SATURDAY, 30 JUNE 1973

. ' 1-· · -1 • ' 1 One of the most troublesome features of Australian 1 - ^ t .society has been the way in which our major cities have ·been allowed to sprawl across the landscape without parallel creation of proper facilities for their residents. Sydney and Melbourne particularly have suffered from this lack of planning. People who live away from the inner city suburbs have had to cope with inadequate transport, hospitals, roads and sewerage, to name only a few examples. However, there is probably no better"example than the failure to provide facilities for recreation and the a rts. Sydney undoubtedly suffers from a gross shortage of halls and theatres away from the city centre for these pursuits.This is why the building of the Bankstown Centre is so welcome. In terms of population, Bankstown is the largest municipality or shire in the Sydney metropolitan area. In common with so many other ar e a s , its 170,000 residents have been without a suitable building within which they could enjoy the full variety of the performing · arts, art exhibitions, receptions and so on. From now on they will have such a building. Looking beyond the municipality, the centre will also be within easy reach of the 1 million people who live within a five-mile radius of its site. t

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The building of the centre is also very timely. ·

For it comes at a time when the Australian Government, '

through the Australian Council for the Arts, is examining - %

the facilities in Sydney's western region for recreation

and the a r t s . The Council has arranged for Associate .

Professor Ross Thorne, who heads a special architectual

psychology unit at the University of Sydney, to conduct

a pilot survey of the needs of the region in these fields.

Professor.Thorne, who has made several important inquiries

into the housing of the a r t s , will investigate the types

of leisure and recreation activities i j o w provided in

the area and will forecast what activities will be required

to meet the needs of the local people.

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An important aim of the survey will be to ensure

that we are .guided by the -personal · attitudes and

preferences by the people themselves instead of imposing

pre-conceived notions upon them. We are also anxious to

avoid the wasteful use of land or buildings or the

duplication of facilities. Possible modifications or

extensions of existing buildings, travel arrangements

and the operation o f ‘new facilities will be carefully

studied. In addition, there will be close liaison with

recreation and leisure organisations. · ·

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: ' will supplement its own investigations so that immediate

The Council for the Arts hopes that the survey

m*V " . · · steps can be taken to develop an arts program for the ' % western area of Sydney. The Bankstown Centre will undoubtedly become an important factor in any such program.

In addition to the survey, the Council has established

a Community Arts and Development Fund from which it will

give special support to activities which will enable

• participation in the arts to be spread throughout our

society. The committee, set up to administer the

fund, held its first meeting in Melbourne on Wednesday.

The Council expects to receive applications for assistance

from local government, social services organisations

and other groups of citizens. The fund can be expected

to play an important part in satisfying our . 5 · determination to enable all residents of Sydney to have

access to artistic activities.

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