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Thursday, 5 March 1970

Mr SWARTZ (Darling Downs) (Minister for National Development) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this Bill is to empower the Minister for National Development to authorise survey parties to enter upon land to carry out mapping surveys, to place or remove survey marks and where necessary to do limited clearing by trimming, lopping or cutting down trees or bushes so as to establish clear lines of sight. The Bill provides for due notice to be given to the land owner in advance of entry upon land and of any intention to trim, lop or cut down trees or bushes. It requires the surveyors to avoid as far as practicable causing damage to property and, where it is unavoidable, as far as practicable to repair the damage. The Bill provides for compensation for loss or damage to property as a result of survey operations. The amount of compensation may be determined by agreement or, in the absence of agreement, by action against the Commonwealth in a court of competent jurisdiction. The Bill also prohibits, under penalty, the unlawful damage, destruction or removal of Commonwealth survey marks, and provides for the Commonwealth to recover the cost of repair or re-establishment.

Ali countries have a need for maps and the more a country is developed so does the need increase for many different types of maps for a multitude of purposes. The Division of National Mapping of my Department already produces a wide variety of maps. With the increased activity in exploration for minerals there has been a strong demand by industry for various types of maps produced by the Commonwealth. In 1968, for the first time in Australia's history, this vast continent of almost 3 million square miles was covered by a uniform series of mapping at 1 : 250,000 scale, 1 inch on the map representing approximately 4 miles on the ground. For the past decade and longer these maps, as they have become available, have been used in assessing Australia's resources in minerals, water and forests, for many administrative purposes and for the broad planning of beef roads, better alignment of highways and railways and for general development planning. Although extremely valuable for these purposes this series of 1 : 250,000 maps is as yet uncontoured and has been inadequate for detailed investigations. Only limited coverage at larger scales has existed, chiefly around the eastern seaboard and some in Western Australia, most of it being of World War IT vintage. For the forthcoming census next year the Division is producing a very wide range of maps for the collection of statistics, ranging from maps of small areas for use by individual collectors to smaller scale maps of each State and to statistical maps covering the whole of Australia. For the first time the Bureau of Census and Statistics will be provided with an adequate variety of maps for its many purposes.

The Bureau of Mineral Resources procures and records geostatistical data in respect of geology, mineral resources, the earth's gravity and magnetic fields all of which is recorded on base maps produced by the Division of National Mapping. The Department's Water, Power and Geographic Branch arranges primarily through State authorities for the recording of statistics on surface and underground water and pro duces maps showing the geographical location of this data. It also produces an atlas of Australian resources and is active in the production of geographic maps showing the resources of particular regions. The Forestry and Timber Bureau of my Department collects and collates information on forest statistics for timber inventory surveys and advises on forest management including fire fighting. In all of these activities map positions are required in varying degrees of significance. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation has a varied requirement for maps through the activities of its Divisions of Land Research, Soils and Wild Life Research. The Division prepares and produces aeronautical charts and special visual terminal charts for the Department of Civil Aviation.

Good topographic maps are of course essential1 for defence planning and defence operations. Close liaison exists between the Division of National Mapping and the Royal Australian Survey Corps. Maps are produced by both agencies to mutually agreed basic specifications and when each map is printed enough copies are provided for both civil and defence purposes. These topographic maps are of particular importance as they show the shape of the terrain, the location of all natural features, mountains, streams, lakes, coastlines and all1 man made features such as towns, homesteads, roads, railways, airfields, reservoirs and the like, all in their correct positions. These maps are the basic source from which all other maps for special purposes are produced. In 1965 the Government, realising the basic importance of larger scale mapping, authorised a 10-year accelerated programme of topographic mapping of Australia at a scale of 1 : 100,000 (approximately 1.6 miles to 1 inch) with 20-metre contours. This programme is now well launched and already over 200,000 square miles of mapping in manuscript form has been accomplished. This work is the responsibility of the Division of National Mapping which undertakes part itself, arranges part to be carried out under contract and receives substantial contributions from the Royal Australian Army Survey Corps. Alt the 6 State Lands Departments have now converted to metric scale mapping to help achieve the 10-year programme.

Nevertheless this enormous task will require every modern aid and a very concentrated effort if it is to be completed within the allotted period. My Department accordingly has acquired and will continue to acquire much modern equipment. Special air survey cameras have been introduced which, from a height of 25,000 feet, can photograph an area of 140 square miles on a single photograph. Distances of up to 200 miles are measured with electronic equipment. The whole country is being covered by a dense network of levelling surveys and additional heights are being obtained by contractor operated airborne radar equipment in the large areas of very flat country in Australia.

In order to provide the accuracy necessary in country of greater relief the Weapons Research Establishment of the Department of Supply has developed special laser equipment that will provide the necessary elevation data from an aircraft flying at a constant height above sea level. Laser equipment is also used to measure horizontal distances between ground stations to a very high order of accuracy. Electronic computing equipment is now used to process all field data into co-ordinate form. Electronically operated stereo plotting machines have been obtained. When fitted with a stereoscopic pair of air photographs and set up to fit the ground survey data these will automatically extract contour data and produce an orthometric photograph showing all the ground detail in its correct map position with all the distortions of the original air photographs removed. This product is called an orthophotograph and successive orthophotographs can be joined together to form an orthophotomap, which is bound to appeal to many map users, especially in the lesser developed parts of Australia.

For many years now the officers of my Department have been engaged on various types of field surveys, including topographic, geological and geophysical surveys, undertaken in the course of preparing maps for Commonwealth purposes. To make maps it is essential, in the first instance, for surveyors to go out in the field. They must methodically cover the country with a pattern of geodetic control stations which is the basic framework for the production of a topographic map. Ground measure ments must be made, geographical positions must be determined by astronomical observations, networks of levels must be run to determine the relative heights of features and then the multitude of detail is plotted from the air photographs. Because of higher resolution cameras and improving geometric qualifies of the photographs coupled with the ability to measure greater horizontal distances by electronic methods the density of the pattern of ground control is gradually diminishing but there will always be a requirement for surveyors to move over the ground, establish marks and make measurements.

In the course of these surveys they need to enter on private land as well as on Crown land for the purpose of placing geodetic station marks, beacons and reference marks, making measurements and observations to other stations and carrying out various other operations. The geographic positions of the stations are determined and their precise locations are identified on air photographs. Usually these stations are located on vantage points with a commanding view over the surrounding country. So that intervisibility between adjacent stations may be established it is frequently necessary to fell or lop trees and bushes and clear other obstacles. It is the practice for the party leader to contact the landowner or occupier in advance to explain the purpose of the survey and to obtain his agreement for the emplacing of marks and for whatever clearing operations are necessary. The officers are always very careful to cause as little damage as possible and movement over the property is kept to a minimum. They are most mindful not to cause any disturbance to stock, particularly if lambing is in progress or there is stud stock on the property.

Most owners are fully co-operative and in fact take active steps to prevent any damage or disturbance to the survey marks or destruction of the beacon by fire or vandalism. This happy situation is brought about by careful explanation to them of the importance of the marks in the mapping and general development of the district, and by the exercise of courtesy and reasonableness on the part of survey party leaders. Occasionally, however, a property owner objects to any entry on his land bv a government employee and disputes the necessity for the survey. Wherever possible an alternative acceptable site for the goedetic station is chosen. However, it sometimes happens that no other alternative is possible if the aims of the survey are to be achieved and statutory authority to enter upon the land would be desirable.

The provisions of the Bill are not intended to alter the existing practice whereby survey parties moving into a district or on to particular properties take steps to advise representative persons by advance letter or personal contact of their intention to carry out the proposed operations. Where the possibility exists of damage to trees or crops, the cutting of fences or interference with stock, the alternative possibilities of location of the operations are discussed. Where any damage requires making good, such as damage to roads, filling in of holes or repairing of fences, local arrangements satisfactory to the property owner or local authority are made. However, the use of the powers set out in the Bill will prevent any hitches in what must, of necessity, be a tightly scheduled and close knit operation if the 10 year mapping programme is to be completed on time. Tt will also serve to ensure that the- rights and property of landholders are adequately protected. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Dr Patterson) adjourned.

Sitting suspended from 5.48 to 8 p.m.

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