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Wednesday, 29 June 1938

Mr SPEAKER - Order !

Mr FRANCIS - There have been numerous complaints of a lack of regard for the Griffin plan by officers of the Department of the Interior. The proposal to erect a high school is not the only instance of departmental disregard for that plan. I should like to know whether the Minister for the Interior is convinced that the proposal to erect a new building in the vicinity of Hotel Kurrajong to house the patents staff, conforms to the Griffin plan. I understand that, with the exception of the Civic

Administration, all administrative offices are to be located in Parkes-place, or, as otherwise described, the administrative triangle.. I hope .that' the Minister will give this matter his -careful attention.

Clearly, the construction- of a high school on the site selected is a departure from the approved plan for Canberra. The Department of the Interior itself is housed in buildings which do not conform to that plan. Moreover, from time to time additions to these buildings, which, in my opinion, are most unwise, are made. Such extensions have taken place, not only in respect of the temporary building which houses the Department of the Interior, but also at the two Secretariats. It would be interesting to know where the organization to control national insurance is to be housed. It is high' time that administrative offices were erected on the foundations which were constructed many years ago for the purpose. That is a matter to which the Minister should also give his careful attention.

This territory is not developing as it should, largely because - of the fairly general feeling among people outside Canberra that they are not wanted here. Many who have attempted to settle in Canberra report a lack of sympathy and good-will on the part of officials of the department. So evident has been that spirit that numbers of persons have preferred to set up homes elsewhere.

Mr McEwen - I do not think the honorable member should charge the department with lack of good-will without substantiating his charge.

Mr FRANCIS - The honorable member for Parkes has told the House of persons who had decided to settle elsewhere because of the treatment they received here. Similar statements have been made in evidence before the Public Works Committee.

Mr McEwen - The remark of the honorable member for Parkes in respect of orchard blocks was inaccurate.

Mr FRANCIS - I remind the Minister that evidence submitted to the Public Works Committee is given on oath and, until other evidence in rebuttal is presented, I must accept it. I hope that the Minister will endeavo'ur to bring about a better spirit in the department.

Canberra should be entering upon a new era of expansion and development. I hope that the Minister will apply his undoubted ability to the good of this city.

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