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Tuesday, 9 May 1961


Mr SPEAKER (Hon John McLeay - Order! The honorable member's time has expired.

Mr. NELSON(Northern Territory)

X 1 2.3 1 a.m.]. - I want to devote my time in this debate to discussing a very important and urgent question of national development. I feel that there is no more important question in the field of national development than that of the development of the north of Australia. An idea that is winning support from members on this side of the House and from many other responsible people in the community is that the development of the whole of north Australia - that is. the Northern Territory, northern Queens land and the north-west of Western Australia - should be handled on a national basis by a commission similar in structure to the Snowy Mountains Authority, which, as we know, has done excellent work in the past and is doing excellent work at the present time. The establishment of such an authority, of course, has been advocated by honorable members on both sides of the House, and the proposal is now receiving the support of a very distinguished Australian, Sir Douglas Copland. I think that some of his comments in an article in the "Daily Mirror" of 5th May bear quoting, because the points he made are very important. The article reads, in part -

AUSTRALIA'S NEW WORLDS TO CONQUER LIE, NOT IN SPACE, BUT RIGHT HERE.

Build the North a Snowy, says Sir Douglas Copland.

There was a vision behind the Curtin-Chifley move to develop the Snowy Mountains project There are however, new worlds to conquer if Australia is to develop its estate, and to demonstrate to its populous neighbours its capacity to populate its great outback .... This could be done by the creation of a new statutory authority .... In short, a body designed to develop the framework of the economy of the north - a Northern Development Corporation .... The new corporation would indeed provide the framework in which a new attack on the settlement of the north could be contemplated.

These were the comments of a distinguished Australian who has no political bias in this regard. He has devoted much thought and study to the problems of the economy of the nation and to the means by which those problems can be solved.


Mr Cope - How many Government members supported the Snowy Mountains scheme?







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