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Tuesday, 16 October 1973
Page: 2138

Mr MULDER (EVANS, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is directed to the Minister for Services and Property. Will he inform me of the purpose for which the Department transferred Commonwealth land adjacent to the Ashfield Boys High School recently to the New South Wales State Government? Was it done to provide additional recreational facilities for the Ashfield Boys High School or to enable the New South Wales Department of Main Roads to widen Liverpool Road? Is it not a fact that negotiations for the transfer were initiated as a result of repeated representation from the pupils, teachers and others interested in the welfare of the school children in this district?

Mr DALY (GRAYNDLER, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Services and Property) - The matter raised by the honourable member for Evans 'is important. I anticipated that it might be raised and I have some information on it which I will give to the honourable member. For some years past parents and teachers campaigned vigorously for the Army drill hall site at Ashfield to be made available to provide extra much-needed space for the Ashfield Boys High School. The honourable member for Evans will recall that following his urgent representations to me earlier this year I made arrangements for the earliest possible occupation of the property by the school. It was because of the urgent need for expansion of the school facilities and because of the persistent requests made by parents and teachers that the Australian Government vacated the property and arranged to transfer it to the New South Wales Department of Education. The Government's decision to transfer the land was taken to provide additional educational facilities for the Ashfield Boys High School. It was not for the purpose of widening Liverpool Road.

I have had referred to me a letter expressing the deep concern of the 1500 pupils of the Ashfield Boys High School who have been told that the State Liberal Government proposes to use most of the site for road widening. The New South Wales Teachers Federation has written to me about the dismay caused by news of a Department of Main Roads proposal to take a substantial strip of land from this small site in order to widen Liverpool Road. The decision to transfer it to the State education authorities was made by the Australian Government in good faith on the understanding that it would be used for purposes of the school. The decision was taken in the light of strong representations made by the parents and teachers, and by the honourable member for Evans in his excellent representation of that electorate as well as in the belief that the State educaion authorities really wished to provide much; needed relief to the cramped school conditions. I find it most difficult to believe now that the State Government would use this land in any way which would frustrate these good intentions unless, of course, the Askin LiberalCountry Party Government is more concerned about expressways and the widening of roads than about improving school facilities in New South Wales.

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