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Tuesday, 28 August 1973
Page: 456

Mr OLDMEADOW (Holt) - I support the statement made by the Minister for Urban and Regional Development (Mr Uren), a statement which can be described as historic. It is a statement with which I, as a member of the Government Party, am proud to be associated. This is the first time that an Australian government has stepped into the area of city development by direct budgetary allocation. By this act a significant thrust has been made into the area of city development. This thrust will reflect greatly on the quality of the lives of people now living in the cities and those who will live in the cities in time to come.

As one who represents an outer suburban area which is possibly the most rapidly developing area in Melbourne - I refer to the electorate of Holt - the statement has great significance not only to me but also to all people who live in that electorate. It is not a case of encouraging people to live in this south-eastern corridor. Rather the exercise should be seen as a constraining one of ordered development. To illustrate this, the figures for estimated future growth show that Melbourne could have a population of something like 4.5 million by the year 2000. Of that number, and taking into account present proposals for development, it is estimated that the south-east sector of Melbourne will need to accommodate close to one million people. If this is the case there will be greatly increased pressure on the Dandenong Ranges, the Mornington Peninsula, Westernport Bay and other areas of environmental, recreational or ecological interest. These already are matters of considerable concern to Victorians.

So it is very important that a government should look critically at this situation and be prepared to back what it says with money to ensure that the sort of development which follows takes place in some planned manner. As I see it there are 3 ways in which development or urban planning can take place. Zon.ning is one method that has been used on many occasions. We are all familiar with this. In this method areas are set aside as residential, commercial, industrial and rural areas. The lessons of history teach us that in time these zones are changed because of inevitable pressures which are applied, whether the zoning was for residential or industrial purposes. For one reason or another what was a rural area or a recreational area is rezoned and the result is the great urban sprawl which we have in Melbourne and Sydney at present.

The second method that can be used is for a government or government authority to acquire large tracts of land and then for planned development to take place so that land for open space as well as for residential, commercial and industrial uses can be set aside. This is planned development from the beginning. Of course, the prime example of what can be done using this method is the national capital, Canberra. Much of the new cities program that was outlined by the Minister utilises this method. The third method is for the Government to acquire land for open space, even if some of this continues to be used for farming, and in conjunction with the development of residential, industrial and commercial areas, acquire land, sustain a balance in the development and still be able to stop the city sprawl. It is in this way that I interpret the Minister's remarks in his statement regarding the south-east corridor.

I should bring before the House the actions of the Berwick Shire Council which has shown great foresight in planning. Acutely aware of the problem of very rapid development in this south-east corridor and determined to stop a city sprawl, the Council employed its own planning consultants. This enabled it to carry out extensive feasibility studies. One could well question why a shire council should be prepared to spend the amount of money which this Council has spent. Of course, the answer is that what it which is in the area at the moment is not wants to ensure is that the beautiful land ruined and that there is constrained and planned development in this corridor which extends for some 37 or 40 miles from Melbourne. There could be some buffers of green space covering a mile or so in addition to the green wedges provided for in the overall planning of the Board of Works. This proposal more closely approximates the second method which I mentioned earlier and I would personally agree with the use of this sort of method in this area, if it could be done. However, it must be stated that the State governments inactivity in stabilising land prices in the area has not allowed the possibilities of the proposal to be fully explored at this stage. It is my hope that the State government will take some action in this regard so that a good look can be taken at this proposal. I was delighted to hear the Minister say in his ministerial statement:

The Cities Commission has found that the acquisition of critical lands to the south east of Melbourne, either for recreation or for conservation and. scenic reasons, would offer the strongest available guarantee of the continued protection of the Dandenong Ranges, Westernport Bay and the Mornington Peninsula. The need for recreation land near Melbourne is particularly important, and the preservation of the Mornington Peninsula and the Dandenongs is a matter of some urgency.

I endorse entirely that statement by the Minister. It is of tremendous significance, not only to the people living in my electorate of Holt but also to those who in the future will live in the corridor and to those at present living in the city of Melbourne. It is essential that we preserve a playground for the people of this ever-growing city.

Honourable members will recall that in his statement the Minister pointed to the great shortage of national parks near Melbourne. On the eastern side of Melbourne the nearest one is at Wilson's Promontory, some distance from Melbourne. The moves that are being made by the Government in this regard are significant. For that reason I believe that this is an historic statement. We have moved into a new field and a new area. It can only reflect greatly on the quality of life of the people who live in our cities and, as we know, they represent the vast majority of the people in our country. I commend the statement to the House.

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