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Thursday, 15 August 1974
Page: 1034

Senator STEELE HALL (South AustraliaLeader of the Liberal Movement) - I am in something of a quandary about this amendment. I can understand Senator Durack 's attitude because he, I suppose, is satisfied with the administration of a State Liberal government. However, I come from a State where the administration of a road program under Labor has been one of the most disgraceful affairs in the history of Australian government. There has been in South Australia a plan called a MATS plan- Metropolitan Adelaide Transportation Study- which was commissioned in the last few months of the Playford Government. It was therefore inherited by the new Dunstan Government in 1965. That study proceeded through the major part of those 3 years of that Labor Government and was ordered to be printed by the Government. It was therefore executed as a study at a cost of something like $700,000, which was a lot to pay for a study of metropolitan Adealide. It was basically agreed to by the Labor Government in South Australia which then lost office and turned against that plan for political reasons, and quite shamelessly attacked the plan of its own construction during its tenure of Opposition.

The planning of roads in metropolitan Adelaide is, in fact, in a shambles. The State Labor Government claims that it has put off the construction of freeways in Adelaide for 10 years, yet secretly continues to build them. In addition, it has entered into adventures of a most reprehensible kind. To overcome the Vh years study of the MATS plan it imported a smart talking American so-called expert for 3 weeks to oversee, comment and decide on the 2Vi year study. Of course it got what it paid for, that is, a program described by a Dr Bruning with this gem of a comment: 'Where there is a developmental area there will be little traffic and therefore no need for metropolitan bus transportation'. I repeat that we have seen in South Australia a most disgraceful and reprehensible using of one of the major transport projects in Australia for straight party political purposes. I have a great deal of sympathy for Senator Durack in not wanting to have discipline placed on the expenditure of funds by the State Government in his pan of Australia. But for other reasons I find myself to be almost at the opposite end. I am wondering whether the Whitlam Labor Government could be any worse than the Dunstan Labor Government. I suspect, with full charity tonight, that it could not be as bad in respect to road planning. Therefore I am inclined not to support this amendment for the reason that South Australia does need some discipline in its road expenditures.

Senator Bessell - Think of the other States.

Senator STEELE HALL - I think of the other States and I think of the expenditure on roads. South Australia is about at the fag end of the allocations. We will deal with that in relation to the consideration of another clause. I remember the Bureau of Roads recommending in 1 969 that South Australia should get equal allocation with Western Australia. I notice that it has been recommended that South Australia should get $100m and Western Australia $ 150m. So something has altered dramatically in that regard. To return to this clause, I hope that my attitude on this matter is clear to Senator Durack. I have a great deal of sympathy for him in relation to the position of his own State Government, but I am seeing utter chaos in my State under the maladministration of the present State Government of its road program. I would like to hear the reply of the Minister on this aspect. At this moment I am inclined to support this provision in the hope that the Government of which he is a member will be able to discipline its undisciplined colleagues in South Australia.

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