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Speech for the opening of the Senior Management Program in Local Government at the Canberra College of Advanced Education



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SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER, MR, E.G . WHITLAM, Q .C ., M .P ., FOR THE OPENING OF THE SENIOR MANAGEMENT PROGRAM IN LOCAL ■ v ' GOVERNMENT AT THE CANBERRA COLLEGE OF ADVANCED EDUCATION, MONDAY, A MARCH 1 9 / 4 ....... - ' .

I WELCOME THE INAUGURATION OF T H IS , IMPORTANT COURSE

IN T H IS IMPORTANT SUBJECT AT T H IS IMPORTANT IN S T IT U T IO N .

I f I HAVE ONE COMPLAINT AGAINST AUSTRALIAN ·

IN S T IT U T IO N S OF TERTIARY EDUCATION I T IS T H IS : THEY HAVE

b t t U KtMAftKABLY SLOW TO RECOGNISE THE VALUE OF PRACTICAL

t r a i n i n g i n Go v e r n m e n t a n d p u b l ic a d m i n i s t r a t i o n . I c a n

ILLUSTRATE T H IS BY RECALLING MY OWN DAYS AS A STUDENT.

I n t h o s e d a y s , a n d in d e e d u n t i l q u i t e r e c e n t l y , t h e r e

WERE PLENTY OF COURSES IN P O L IT IC A L SCIENCE BUT NO COURSES

IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT; THERE WERE COURSES IN M E D IC IN E BUT

NONE IN HOSPITAL A D M IN ISTR A TIO N ; THERE WERE COURSES IN

EDUCATION BUT NONE IN U N IV E R S ITY A D M IN ISTR A TIO N . THERE

WAS A STRONG TEMPTATION - AND I SUSPECT THERE IS A TEMPTATION

NOW - TO REGARD THESE PRACTICAL SUBJECTS AS THE PROVINCE OF

AMATEURS, BENEATH THE D IG N IT Y OF THE TRUE SCHOLAR AND A WASTE

OF TIM E FOR THE BORN LEADER. YET TODAY, IF WE TAKE THOSE

SAME THREE CONTEMPORARY D IS C IP L IN E S - LOCAL GOVERNMENT,

HOSPITAL ADM INISTRATIO N AND U N IV E R S ITY AD M INISTRATIO N - WE

FIN D COURSES READILY AVAILABLE IN U N IV E R S IT IE S AND COLLEGES

t h r o u g h o u t Au s t r a l i a ,

- 2-

I T IS A MEASURE OF THE IMPORTANCE NOW ACCORDED TO SUCH

S T U D IE S , A RECOGNITION OF THE GROWING COMPLEXITY AND

SO PH ISTIC ATIO N OF MODERN GOVERNMENT AND SOCIAL ORGANISATION,

THAT WE ARE INAUGURATING T H IS SENIOR MANAGEMENT PROGRAM IN

LOCAL GOVERNMENT AT THE CANBERRA COLLEGE OF ADVANCED '

Ed u c a t io n , ■ ' '

Two WEEKS AGO I SPOKE TO MEMBERS OF THE IN S T IT U T E o f Mu n i c i p a l Ad m i n i s t r a t i o n i n Me l b o u r n e a n d g a v e a n a c c o u n t

• · Λ · · . .

o f t h e Go v e r n m e n t ' s i n i t i a t i v e s on b e h a l f o f l o c a l g o v e r n m e n t ,

I t s t r u c k me t h a t so m u ch o f m y Go v e r n m e n t ' s h o p e s a n d '

AMBITIONS FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT DEPENDED NOT JUST ON WHAT

Go v e r n m e n t s c an d o , b u t on t h e c a l ib r e a n d e x p e r ie n c e o f t h e

MEN AND WOMEN WHO ADM INISTER C IT IE S , SHIRES AND M U N IC IP A L IT IE S

FROM DAY TO DAY, I t IS ESSENTIAL THAT LOCAL GOVERNMENT BODIES

SHOULD BE RUN BY PEOPLE WITH RIGOROUS PRACTICAL TR A IN IN G IN

LOCAL GOVERNMENT A D M IN IS TR A TIO N , T H IS IS NO TASK FOR THE

AMATEUR OR THE D ILE TTA N TE , We ACCEPT THE IMPORTANCE OF

SYSTEMATIC STUDIES FOR THE PROFESSIONAL MAN, AND THE

BUSINESSMAN, WHY. HAS IT TAKEN SO LONG TO RECOGNISE THAT

SUCH TRAINING IS ESSENTIAL FOR THE ADMINISTRATOR IN LOCAL

GOVERNMENT,. FOR THE LEADER IN PUBLIC L IF E AS WELL AS FOR THE

LEADER IN COMMERCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL L IF E ?

- 3-

T H IS COURSE IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT COULD HARDLY HAVE

COME AT A MORE OPPORTUNE T IM E . ΪΗ Ε YEAR AHEAD W IL L BE AN

EVENTFUL ONE - PERHAPS A FATEFUL ONE - FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT

i n Au s t r a l i a . I d o n ' t t h i n k a n y o f y o u w o u l d q u a r r e l w it h

THE EMPHASIS MY GOVERNMENT HAS GIVEN TO BETTER LOCAL

GOVERNMENT OR DOUBT THE STRENGTH OF OUR RESOLVE IN T H IS

F IE L D . W E WANT TO ELEVATE LOCAL GOVERNMENT TO IT S RIGHTFUL

PLACE AS A FULL AND EQUAL PARTNER IN THE FEDERAL SYSTEM.·

I t i s n o t s im p l y a m a t t e r o f p r o v i d i n g m o r e m o n e y , t h o u g h

MORE MONEY IS CERTAINLY NEEDED. We ARE CONCERNED - AS YOU

ARE - WITH THE TRUE STATUS OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND IT S

ULTIMATE IMPACT ON OUR L IV E S . I f OUR REFERENDUM IS CARRIED

NEXT MAY - AND THERE SHOULD BE L IT T L E NEED FOR ME IN T H IS

COMPANY TO EXPLAIN OUR REFERENDUM PROPOSALS - THE NATIONAL

Go v e r n m e n t w i l l b e e m p o w e r e d t o r a i s e m o n e y f o r l o c a l

; !.ϋ!··! m i i-ii , J .Ui s I ix I mn t I HAT MONEY IN DIRECT

DEALINGS BETWEEN" LOCAL'GuVE'RNMENT AND THE COMMONWEALTH?-

I n that way, local government will have direct access to

THE FIN A N C IA L RESOURCES OF THE NATION. IT S ESSENTIAL PLACE

AS THE THIRD T IE R OF GOVERNMENT W ILL BE ENTRENCHED IN THE

Co n s t i t u t i o n fo r t h e f i r s t t i m e . W e w i l l b e a b l e t o b a l a n c e

THE FUNCTIONS AND FINANCES O F T H E THREE D IV IS IO N S OF GOVERNMENT

AND MAKE POSSIBLE A RATIONAL CO-ORDINATION BETWEEN THEM.

* -4- ;

A l r e a d y m y Go v e r n m e n t h a s t a k e n s e v e r a l p r a c t ic a l

STEPS TO PLACE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ON A MORE SECURE FOOTING.

On e o f our f i r s t a c t io n s l a s t y e a r was t o w id e n t h e c h a r t e r

o f t h e Co m m o n w e a lth Gr a n t s Co m m is s io n t o e n a b l e i t t o h e a r

APPLICATIO NS FROM LOCAL GOVERNMENT REGIONS FOR GRANTS UNDER

S e c t io n 96 o f t h e Co n s t i t u t i o n . I n t h i s way we h o p e t o . m a k e

t h e Co m m is s io n a s e f f e c t i v e i n r e d u c in g i n e q u a l i t i e s b e t w e e n

REGIONS W IT H IN THE STATES AS IT HAS BEEN IN REDUCING .

IN E Q U A L IT IE S BETWEEN THE STATES THEMSELVES. THE F IR S T '

APPLICATIONS FOR ASSISTANCE HAVE BEEN RECEIVED AND HEARINGS

W IL L BEGIN SHORTLY. OUR SECOND IN IT IA T IV E WAS TO SEEK A VO ICE

AND A VOTE FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT ON THE LOAN COUNCIL. We

RAISED T H IS PROPOSAL - A PROPOSAL CONSISTENT WITH THE POLICY

o f t h e La b o r Pa r t y a n d our m a n d a t e fr o m t h e p e o p l e - a t t h e

Co n s t i t u t i o n a l Co n v e n t io n l a s t S e p t e m b e r ; a n d I r e m in d y o u t h a t

i t w as a t t h e e x p r e s s i n s i s t e n c e o f my Go v e r n m e n t t h a t

r e p r e s e n t a t iv e s o f l o c a l g o v e r n m e n t w ere a d m it t e d t o t h a t

Co n v e n t io n . We r a i s e d t h e p r o p o s a l a g a in a t a s p e c ia l

c o n f e r e n c e o f t h e Pr e m ie r s i n Oc t o b e r . T h e i n a b i l i t y o f t h e

Pr e m ie r s t o r e a c h u n a n i m i t y on o u r p r o p o s a l o b l ig e d us t o

SEEK A REFERENDUM - A REFERENDUM TO REMOVE ALL CONSTITUTIONAL

OBSTACLES TO THE RATIONAL CO-ORDINATION OF LOCAL, STATE AND

f e d e r a l g o v e r n m e n t i n Au s t r a l i a .

- 5-

- I AM FIRMLY CONVINCED THAT UNLESS THAT REFERENDUM

IS CARRIED LOCAL GOVERNMENT IN AUSTRALIA W IL L REMAIN IN IT S

PRESENT S T R A IT -JA C K E T , IT S PRESENT STATE OF PERMANENT

F IN A N C IA L C R IS IS , A POOR RELATION OF STATE GOVERNMENTS THAT

LACK THE MEANS TO G IV E LOCAL GOVERNMENT THE RESOURCES IT

NEEDS. WE CAN G IVE LOCAL GOVERNMENT THE MEANS TO DO IT S JOB,.

W e c a n g i v e i t t h e s t a t u s a n d a u t o n o m y i t d e s e r v e s . W e c a n

ENSURE IT S RIGHTFUL PLACE - NOT AS AN APPENDAGE OF THE STATES,

NOT AS AN APPENDAGE OF THE COMMONWEALTH - BUT AS AN EQUAL

PARTNER WITH BOTH IN THE FEDERAL SYSTEM. No ONE KNOWS BETTER

THAN YOU PEOPLE IN T H IS ROOM, AND ESPECIALLY THE DEDICATED

MEN AND WOMEN WHO HAVE UNDERTAKEN T H IS F IR S T COURSE IN LOCAL

GOVERNMENT AT T H IS COLLEGE, THE FRUSTRATIONS AND D IF F IC U L T IE S

OF THE CAREER YOU HAVE CHOSEN. I BE LIEVE THAT IF YOUR CAREERS

ARE TO BE FULLY REWARDING, IF YOUR STUDIES AT T H IS COLLEGE

ARE TO BE TRULY MEANINGFUL AND VALUABLE TO YOU AND SO C IE TY ,

THEN TOGETHER WE MUST WORK FOR A NEW DEAL FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT

A NEW DEAL THAT W IL L ENSURE IT S FIRM PLACE IN THE CONSTITUTION

AND IN THE FEDERAL SYSTEM.

I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT THE REAL FUTURE OF LOCAL

GOVERNMENT, IT S REAL SUCCESS, IT S RELEVANCE AND A D A P T A B IL IT Y ,

IT S PO PULARITY, IT S A B IL IT Y TO INVOLVE C IT IZ E N S AND TO ENGAGE

TH EIR EFFORTS AND SYMPATHIES, W IL L DEPEND LARGELY ON THE

PEOPLE WHO ADMINISTER LOCAL GOVERNMENT ON A D A IL Y B A S IS .

Lo c a l Go v e r n m e n t i s c o n c e r n e d d i r e c t l y w it h o u r e v e r y d a y l i v e s .

No w h e r e e l s e do we f i n d s u c h i n t i m a t e l in k s b e t w e e n g o v e r n m e n t

AND THE GOVERNED. IN NO OTHER AREA OF GOVERNMENT ARE THERE

SUCH DIVERSE AND GROWING DEMANDS ON THE SERVICES PROVIDED AND

- 6-

THE RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO PAY FOR THOSE SERVICES, THE

RESULTING DEMANDS ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATORS -

ON TH E IR S K IL L S , TH EIR EXPERIENCE, TH E IR ING ENUITY - W ILL

INCREASE AS RAPIDLY AS THE DEMANDS ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT IT S E L F .

T h a t i s w hy I w e l c o m e t h e i n i t i a t i v e f o r t h i s c o u r s e

a t t h e Ca n b e r r a Co l l e g e o f Ad v a n c e d Ed u c a t io n , J s h o u l d

e m p h a s is e t h a t i t i s n o t an " a c c r e d it a t io n c o u r s e " fo r l o c a l

g o v e r n m e n t o f f i c e r s - s u c h a s t h e Mi t c h e l l Co l l e g e o f Ad v a n c e d

Ed u c a t io n p r o v id e s i n New So u t h Wa l e s ok t h e Ru y a l Me l b o u r n e

I n s t i t u t e o f T e c h n o l o g y i n V i c t o r i a , I t i s i n no s e n s e a n

ATTEMPT TO MUSCLE IN ON COURSES THAT STATE IN S T IT U T IO N S ARE

ALREADY PR O VID IN G . I n FACT I T IS A MODEL OF THE WAY THAT

RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN GOVERNMENTS CAN AND SHOULD BE ORGANISED.

Na t i o n a l , St a t e a n d l o c a l g o v e r n m e n t o r g a n is a t io n s h a v e a l l

HAD A PART TO PLAY IN ARRANGING T H IS COURSE, ΪΗ Ε F IR S T

IN IT IA T IV E CAME FROM THE IN S T IT U T E OF M U N IC IPA L ADM INISTRATIO N

IN 19/0. I t b e g a n l o o k in g f o r a t e r t ia r y i n s t i t u t i o n t o m o u n t

COURSES IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT, ΪΗ Ε RESPONSE CAME FROM T H IS

COLLEGE - A BODY FUNDED BY THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT. NOW,

IN ORDER TO PLAN AND ADMINISTER THE PROGRAM, AN ADVISORY

COUNCIL HAS BEEN FORMED REPRESENTING NATIO NAL, STATE AND LOCAL

GOVERNMENTS AND ALL OTHER ORGANISATIONS CONCERNED, ΪΗ Ε IN S T IT U T E

o f Mu n i c i p a l Ad m i n i s t r a t i o n , t h e A u s t r a l ia n Co u n c il o f Lo c a l

Go v e r n m e n t A s s o c i a t i o n s , l o c a l g o v e r n m e n t e n g in e e r s , h e a l t h

s u r v e y o r s , p r i v a t e b u s in e s s m e n , St a t e l o c a l g o v e r n m e n t

DEPARTMENTS, THE DEPARTMENT OF URBAN AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT,

t h e D e p a r t m e n t s o f t h e Ca p i t a l T e r r it o r y a n d t h e No r t h e r n

T e r r i t o r y , t h e Au s t r a l ia n I n s t i t u t e o f Ur b a n St u d i e s - a l l a r e

r e p r e s e n t e d on t h e a d v is o r y c o u n c i l . -

I DOUBT IF A MORE COMPREHENSIVE ASSEMBLY OF STATE, LOCAL

AND NATIONAL AGENCIES HAS BEEN BROUGHT TOGETHER FOR A SINGLE

PURPOSE IN SUCH A READY S P IR IT OF CO-OPERATION,

I CONGRATULATE ALL THOSE WHO HAVE ORGANISED T H IS

COURSE, BUT THERE ARE TWO MEN IN PARTICULAR WHO DESERVE ’

OUR GRATITUDE, THE -PROGRAM OWES MUCH TO THE IN IT IA T IV E

of Mr , Andrew W a l l s , a former Town Clerk of Box Hi l l and

NOW A MEMBER OF THE GRANTS COMMISSION; AND Mr . ΪΟ Μ WORSLEY,

CONVENOR OF THE COMMITTEE ESTABLISHED BY THE IN S T IT U T E OF

Mu n ic ip a l Ad m in is t r a t io n . in 1 9 / 0 to explore the p o s s ib il it y

of an I n s t it u t e of Local Government St u d ie s . You are

fortunate also in having the support and collaboration of

the I n s t it u t e of Local Government Stu d ie s in the Un iv e r s it y

of Birm ingham, Your i n i t i a l plans are for two courses a

YEAR WITH 2 5 PLACES IN EACH, THERE ARE, IN FA CT, 2 7 PEOPLE

P A R TIC IP A TIN G IN THE F IR S T COURSE, ΪΗ Α Τ IS A MOST G RATIFYING

RESPONSE,

- 8 -

I AM GLAD TO ANNOUNCE THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF URBAN a n d Re g io n a l D e v e l o p m e n t , fr o m n e x t y e a r , w i l l b e c o n t r ib u t in g

$ 1 2 ,0 0 0 a y e a r i n c o n j u n c t io n w it h t h e c o u r s e . T h e Co l l e g e

HAS ACCEPTED THE DEPARTMENT'S SUGGESTION TH A T, DEPENDING

ON THE NEEDS OF THE COLLEGE, P R IO R ITY W ILL BE GIVEN TO

USING THE MONEY TO ENSURE AN ADEQUATE REPRESENTATION AT

COURSES BY OFFICERS FROM SMALLER AREAS; A GENERAL REDUCTION

IN THE COST OF THE COURSE WHERE PRACTICAL; AND PROVISION

OF FUNDS FOR V IS IT IN G LECTURERS OR RESEARCH. A C T IV IT IE S .

An y f u n d s a l l o c a t e d b y t h e Co l l e g e f o r s c h o l a r s h ip a t t e n d a n c e

or f o r p r o v i d i n g v i s i t i n g l e c t u r e r s w i l l b e known a s

De p a r t m e n t o f Ur b a n a n d Re g io n a l D e v e l o p m e n t Sc h o l a r s h ip s .

Ce r t a in l y y o u c a n r e l y on m y Go v e r n m e n t ' s a c t i v e

e n c o u r a g e m e n t a n d p r a c t ic a l s u p p o r t . Bu t w h a t I f i n d t r u l y

h e a r t e n in g i s t h a t t h e i n i t i a t i v e f o r t h i s c o u r s e c a m e f r o m

LOCAL GOVERNMENT.ITSELF. It IS SYMBOLIC, PERHAPS, OF

THE NATIONAL IMPORTANCE WE ATTACH TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT THAT

THE COURSE SHOULD BE PROVIDED HERE, IN THE NATIONAL C A P ITA L .

I t SEEMS TO ME THAT COLLEGES OF ADVANCED EDUCATION ARE

UNIQUELY EQUIPPED, WITH TH EIR MORE FLE XIB LE PROGRAMMING

ARRANGEMENTS, TO PROVIDE COURSES IN PUBLIC A D M IN IS TR A TIO N .

T he Au s t r a l ia n Go v e r n m e n t h a s now a s s u m e d t o t a l f u n d in g

R E S P O N S IB IL IT IE S FOR TERTIARY EDUCATION, INCLUDING

POLYTECHNICS. ΪΗ Ε GOVERNMENT'S F IN A N C IA L CONTRIBUTION

IN THE 1 9 7 3 /7 5 TR IENNIUM IS MORE THAN $ 6 0 0 M IL L IO N .

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- 8A -

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We B E LI EVEVTHE: COLLEGES'’ CAN." WIDEN- t h e r a n g e OF - ‘ '

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TERTIARY E D U C A T IO N :O P P O R T U N IT IE S ,'W IT H *A ’ STRONG ' · ; ,

BIA S TOWARDS,,THEJPRACTICAL.APPLICATION-OF THE ' ' . Λ '

STUDIES UNDERTAKEN. - . I n -THE INTRODUCTION ‘OF NEW

COURSES - - OFLWHICH 1THIS COURSE' I S ' A ’GOOD'EXAMPLE - . ....../ '

t h e c o l l e g e s - a n d -St a t e a n d n a t io n a l Go v e r n m e n t ■ ^

A U THO RITIES HAVE PLACED PROPER-EMPHASIS ON KNOWN \

INDU STR IA L AND SOCIAL NEEDS. I HOPE THAT THERE ‘

W ILL SOON BE COURSES A V A ILA B LE , NOT ONLY IN

LOCAL GOVERNMENT, BUT IN GOVERNMENT AND AD M INISTRATIO N

AT ALL LEVELS.

- 9-

YoUR OWN EXPERIENCE IN PUBLIC L IF E / NO LESS THAN

M IN E / HAS SHOWN HOW INCREASINGLY COMPLEX/ SOPHISTICATED

AND D IF F IC U L T THE PRACTICE OF GOVERNMENT HAS BECOME IN MODERN

T IM E S . IN THE KNOWLEDGE THAT T H IS COURSE W IL L DO MUCH TO

REDUCE THOSE COM PLEXITIES AND REMOVE THOSE D IF F IC U L T IE S , IN

THE KNOWLEDGE THAT YOUR STUDIES W ILL MAKE FOR MORE EXPERT

AND E F F IC IE N T LOCAL GOVERNMENT FOR OUR PEOPLE, I HAVE GREAT

PLEASURE IN DECLARING OPEN T H IS FIR S T SENIOR MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

IN LOCAL GOVERNMENT AT THE CANBERRA COLLEGE OF ADVANCED

Ed uc a tio n.

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