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Wednesday, 24 October 1956

Mr FAIRHALL - The Department of the Interior has always regarded play centres as being very important in the school life of Canberra children. The result is that a good deal of interest has developed in the subject, to the point where parents have, by their own efforts, raised sums amounting, I think, to £500 or £600 in three or four instances for the provision of furniture and fittings for play centres to be built ultimately by the department. Three centres to an aggregate value of £23,000 were included in the 1955-56 works programme, but the House will recall that that programme was cut by 10 per cent, in October of last year and what were considered to be the less essential items were excised from it. The fact is that in relation to a centre that will cost about £8,500, in some cases the people in the area concerned have got together and contributed £500 for furniture and fittings. Nowhere in the papers can 1 find any undertaking by the Commonwealth to build these play centres to a particular time-table, but the fact that provision was made for them in the Estimates would lead people - quite justifiably, I believe - to assume that they were to be built last year. They will be built as early as possible.

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