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Wednesday, 20 May 1970

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The Minister has been asked a question and he cannot reply to it in the midst of a number of interjections. I ask honourable members to be silent.

Mr BURY - 1 was not aware that the land area of Australia was increasing, although an honourable member opposite seems to take a different view. The real problem is the very limited area of land available, particularly around the big cities. On the other hand, the more money that is available to potential purchasers of land the more competition there will be, and this in turn will raise prices. I would certainly reassure the honourable member on this question, because the Commonwealth Government has no constitutional power to acquire land for this purpose, nor, to be practical, would we have the necessary funds. It is true that in the Australian Capital Territory the Government does already own all the land which is subject to leasehold, but I cannot imagine any such move by a federal government, not even a Labor government. If the Opposition came to office it would rapidly be acquainted with the facts of life which now it so constantly ignores.

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