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Thursday, 15 August 1974
Page: 1036

Senator WOOD (Queensland) - I have listened to this debate with very great interest having served for over 30 years on Tocal government- 15 years as mayor of my city, 6 years as State president of local government, 1 year as Australian president of local government, and as the person who was responsible for the initiation of town planning legislation in Australia because of the Mackay Town Planning Act. Therefore I have a very deep interest in local government. It has been rather interesting to hear some of the aspects put forward. Senator Durack pointed out what control the Federal government or Minister will have over local government. He instanced that the expenditure of their own collections on roads will have to be under the jurisdiction of a Minister of this Government. In addition, the expenditure of State moneys in council areas will have to be with the permission and under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth Government which will also watch over the expenditure of the money it gives to the various local authorities throughout Australia.

Can honourable senators imagine what the position will be? As they know, in my State of Queensland- my Queensland colleagues on this side of the chamber and on the other side will agree with me- there is a very large area of country. As a consequence Queensland has a number of problems which other areas do not have. Honourable senators know that in the northern regions in particular we get very heavy mon.soonal rains. Good roads can be wiped out almost overnight because of the terrific fall of water, the rate at which it falls and the flooding of the area. Of course very often this brings an immediate problem. But basically there is always the great problem of the large areas of land which we have to cover with good roads. Tonight I heard my friend Senator Milliner discussing the bad roads under the Country Party-Liberal Party Government in Queensland. My mind goes back further. I say this: The roads in Queensland today are a paradise compared to what they were under the Labor Government.

Senator Mulvihill - Ambassador Gair will come back and give the honourable senator curry.

Senator WOOD - If Vince Gair were here I would still say the same. I am speaking factually.

Let me recall the situation to those people who are not Queenslanders. They may remember it by this illustration. Honourable senators will remember the Redex motor trials. The area between Rockhampton and Mackay was called the horror stretch.

Senator Cavanagh - That is where you were mayor. That was your district.

Senator WOOD - Senator, irrespectiveof your fine analytical mind and judgment, that was beyond the city boundaries of Mackay. That area did not come under my jurisdiction in any shape or form. It was the Mains Roads Department under a Labor government which was supposed to be looking after that main north coast road which led from the north to the top of the State. In fact, in some sections of the State that north coast road did not really exist. It was just a bush track. That road was so bad that during the Redex trials it was known throughout Australia as the horror stretch. The Queensland roads were bad, and the period of time from which the roads in Queensland stepped forward and became of a much better standard was when Mr

Ernest Evans in the Country-Liberal Party Government took over as Minister for Main Roads. It was only then that the country areas really began to get proper attention.

Consideration interrupted.

The CHAIRMAN - Order! It being 1 1 p.m., in conformity with the sessional order relating to the adjournment of the Senate, I formally put the question:

That the Chairman do now leave the Chair and report to the Senate.

Question resolved in the affirmative. (The Chairman having reported accordingly.)

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