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Tuesday, 18 September 1973
Page: 1130

Dr GUN (KINGSTON, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My question to the Prime Minister is supplementary to the question asked by the honourable member for Gwydir. Is the Prime Minister aware that the South Australian Government has foreshadowed legislation to control land prices to an increase of 7 per cent per annum? Is he aware that since this policy was announced earlier this year the rapid rise in land prices in parts of Adelaide has ceased and that in certain areas, such as Salisbury and Tea Tree Gully, the price increase has gone down from a 30 per cent increase in 3 months to a 4 per cent increase in the 6 months since? What action has been taken on these lines by State Liberal governments? What action, for instance, has the New South Wales Government taken in suburbs west of Sydney? Will the carriage of a prices referendum or reference of powers from the States to the Commonwealth on this matter give the Commonwealth power to restrain increases in land prices along the lines of the action of the South Australian Government?

Mr WHITLAM - The Government of Victoria has introduced land stabilisation legislation which will apply to Wodonga. The New South Wales Government has undertaken to introduce such legislation which will apply to Albury. So far no legislation has been introduced in New South Wales which would apply to the growing suburbs of Sydney, Newcastle or Wollongong. I do not know off hand whether the legislation in Victoria would apply to the outer suburbs of Melbourne or to Geelong. This is a very clear field in which the States have always been able to stabilise prices. Land is a clear instance of a commodity which cannot be covered by section 92 of the Constitution since a block of land cannot be taken across a State border. The New South Wales and Victorian governments have a majority in both their Houses so there is no constitutional, legislative or political barrier to the introduction of land stabilisation legislation in the 2 major States of Australia and, in particular, with respect to the 2 major cities of Australia. I regret to say that many State governments take the cynical attitude that inflation swells their coffers because they profit from the commission on land sales as land prices increase. Here again the South Australian Government has given a lead in respect of good economic and urban management.

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