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Wednesday, 10 April 1957

Mr TURNER (Bradfield) .- I desire to raise a matter of some importance to my constituents and of considerable importance in principle to all citizens in a democratic community. I refer to the proposal of the Postmaster-General's Department to establish a dump and motor vehicle repair shop at Bradfield.

I may say that this depot is to serve a very extensive area that is generally known as the North Shore of Sydney, an area covering roughly the electorates of Bradfield, North Sydney, Warringah, Mackellar, Bennelong, and parts of Parramatta and Mitchell. Honorable members will see that this covers a fairly large area. It will be easily seen that the depot proposed to be established will be cluttered up with trucks, lead cable, telephone poles, and all sorts of equipment that would be necessary for a large area like that in carrying out the works of the Postmaster-General's Department. Indeed, anybody who has passed a similar dump established at Gore Hill will know what an untidy and unsightly place such a dump is. 1 have said in another place that this would be a fraud on the people, and I use those words quite precisely, as honorable members will see if 1 refer to the history and the circumstances of this situation. This was a residential area, a very highclass residential urea, and it was being developed as such before the war. lt is elevated and overlooks the Lane Cove valley, where a national park is established. From every point of view it is one of the most desirable residential districts in Sydney, or, for that matter, in most of the cities of the world that I have visited. This naturally was a place much sought after by home-seekers, who made their gardens there and hoped to rear their families there. Indeed, it had all the amenities of a firstclass residential district. Since the war a number of ex-servicemen have settled there and built homes of the same standard as those built before the war.

When war broke out an emergency arose and the Royal Australian Air Force needed a recruit reception and embarkation depot. It was established in this area. There was no complaint from the local people. This was a national emergency and the local people were loyal and made no protest about it. When peace came there was another crisis, the housing crisis, and it was suggested that the huts which had been erected there and the Royal Australian Air Force camp should be used as temporary accommodation for people without homes. There were some protests, but it was realized by the people living in the district that for the time being this area could not revert to the type of residential district that had begun to grow up before the war and had continued after the war.

Now this new move has begun. The Postmaster-General's Department entered into negotiations to establish this dump and motor vehicle repair depot in an industrial area, as of course it should be, at St. Leonards, an area far more satisfactory from the point of view of its location and because it is a zoned industrial area than Bradfield Park. Then the Department of the Interior came into the picture and it said. " No, we have some land at Bradfield Park that is free. It would cost us a lot of money to buy industrial land at St. Leonards". The land at Bradfield was acquired for a special purpose in a residential district, a purpose to which the people did not object at that time, but I repeat that it would be a fraud upon the people, having acquired land under those circumstances and for that purpose, to say now, " Well, this is Commonwealth land and available, though it is a residential district, for an industrial purpose, because land in an industrial area so zoned, and a suitable area, is more expensive ".

I may say that at Bradfield Park, where the huts are and where the Housing Commission has at present an emergency housing centre, there is a tremendous number of children, as there is a large number of children in the homes surrounding the camp. In fact, it may be said that children proliferate in that area. At a recent protest meeting a question was raised and a representative from Bradfield Park pointed out that in one street alone there were 59 children. Therefore, 1 say that if a motor vehicle repair shop is established there, Postmaster-General vehicles from the whole of the north shore, from all these electorates I have mentioned, will be coming to the depot, leaving the depot, being repaired at the depot, being tested and taken out through the camp where all these children are, and being tested in the surrounding residential streets where there are all the children who have come from homes in a first-class residential district. With the same mathematical certainty that you can calculate the number of people who will be killed on the roads in the next twelve months in the State of New South Wales or elsewhere in Australia, you can say children will be killed in this area if this depot is established there. But there is alternative industrial land.

I have in my hand - and I will give it to the Postmaster-General - proof that land is available in the industrial area of St. Leonards, a situation which is equally suitable. The question, therefore, is very simple. It is whether the rights and privileges of ordinary people are to be ridden over roughshod by a government department. Legally, the position is that the King can do no wrong. That is to say, a government department can do exactly as it pleases. If a private citizen wanted to establish a road hauliers' depot in a residential district, he could not do it. A private bus proprietor who wanted to have a bus depot adjoining his home in a residential district could not do it. But the Government is above the ordinary law. Legally, it can do these things. The question is whether, morally, it has any right to do them. So I appeal to the PostmasterGeneral to exercise his function as a representative of the people to tell the bureaucrats that, although the land they have selected may be cheaper, its use is contrary to the moral rights and privileges of ordinary people which ought to be respected.

I say. in conclusion, that I have had every courtesy from the Minister for the Interior and the Postmaster-General and I hope that they will exercise their functions as representatives of the people and tell the bureaucrats that this kind of thing cannot and ought not be done.

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