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Tuesday, 28 September 1971
Page: 1535

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hallett (CANNING, WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - Order! Interjections are out of order.

Mr Kevin Cairns (LILLEY, QUEENSLAND) - I can imagine why the honourable member for Reid is upset. When one looks at some of the land transactions which have occurred in a number of local authority areas in Sydney, in which his own Party and his friends have power, one can see that there is quite a deal that he might well wish to avoid; quite a number of questions which he hopes will never be answered. However, the report of the Australian Institute of Urban Studies asked, first of all, that there be a real demand determined at least 10 years in advance - not determined in Canberra. It asked for co-ordinated planning by the suppliers of utilities and amenities. It asked for significant variations in rezonings. It also asked that the distorting and disruptive influence ot artificial demand, the withholding of land and similar practices, be excluded. In this regard the report instanced a number of measures which might be considered and adopted. It referred to holding taxes, betterment levies and so on. It suggested that a continual campaign should be undertaken to reassure land seekers that plenty of serviced lots will be available. We have the experience of variations which have occurred in other capital cities. It asked that the private sector development should be facilitated.

How different that is from the proposition made by the honourable member for Reid. It also asked that the integrity of the pattern of metropolitan growth be preserved by ensuring that the non-urban regions remain inviolate. I ask: Are all these matters to be determined in Canberra, or are they to be determined by those authorities which are elected locally and which know the conditions appropriate to each market? The philosophy of this study has been to influence and develop a completely free local market in respect of land. In some cases .in Australia it has sought to do that.

Other matters ought to be discussed also. The honourable member for Reid has said that the Commonwealth Government is not interested in the problem of the high interest charges to borrowers. I do not think that the honourable member understands that the Commonwealth is at this moment in. the process of bringing into legislation a new Commonwealth-State housing agreement which will give far greater, assistance to State authorities, cooperative terminating societies and other organisations. A substantial proportion of these funds will be used by public authorities to buy land. The honourable member is upset, and he ought to be upset, because the benefits to be given by the Commonwealth Government to these societies in respect of these new arrangements are many times greater than any of the parsimonious assistance in respect of public authority housing through land acquisition which was ever contemplated by a Labor government. So, I repeat, the honourable member ought to be upset. After all, the performance of his own party in respect of these matters has been significantly below par.

The proposition put by the honourable member for Reid amounts effectively to nationalisation of land. To buy the land at the fringes of the capital cities would require an amount of money and resources which he dare not contemplate. Even if that money were acquired for such purposes, even if it were to be subvented for such purposes, there is no indication that that would strike at the very heart of what would arise in regard to land prices. I refer to the very nature of the market itself. Let mc quote some rather selective passages from the Housing Industry Association report to which the honourable member referred. Page 10 of the report reads as follows:

Public acquisition could not achieve significant economies as holding charges would be heavy and any suitable land would already have a potential value built in which would have to be taken into account in any fair acquisition.

Honourable members opposite seem to be blind to the substance and the soul of the document to which they refer.

Mr Uren - Which report is that?

Mr Kevin Cairns (LILLEY, QUEENSLAND) - I am referring to the Housing Industry Association report to which the honourable member referred. So I go to the very substance of the matter to which the honourable member referred, which is the philosophy behind those advisers which he would take unto himself. Let me refer to one final thing. In all of the matters concerning land prices there is a local market characteristic and an interest rate characteristic. The Commonwealth Government has directed itself to the latter factor. A third factor relates to the costs of supplying services in a continual and efficient manner for such an allotment. If the honourable member for Reid has a new environmental proposal by which he would like to control the whole of the environment - he said this - I ask him: Can his own Labor local authorities demonstrate that their servicing requirements are more equitable than those of other local authorities? I refer him to some of the local authorities in the west of Sydney and to a Labor local authority in Queensland which is the largest in Australia - the Brisbane City Council.

At the present time protests in respect of land are being made against ordinances of that Labor local authority by both the Queensland Housing Commission and the

Queensland branch of the Commonwealth Department of Housing. They are protesting because the servicing requirements will add very significantly to the costs people will have to pay for land in those areas. So where the honourable member's own party has significant authority and power to determine local markets, all is not well. I can well understand his moving this proposal for discussion. I suggest that it is an expression of no confidence in his own party which has significant power with respect to all of these areas. The honourable member for Reid referred to a number of other points which time will not allow me to reiterate. The nature of land which is supplied locally has to be understood. If the nature of the market is to be interfered with it ought to be interfered with to the advantage of purchasers of land. If the honourable member is going to criticise even indirectly, by means of this motion, his party's local authorities, which have power in the relevant fields, let him do that explicitly, but let him not do it by proposing a matter in this House which would amount to - I say this very sadly - an effective nationalisation of land in Australian cities.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Hallett - Order! The honourable member's time has expired.

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