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Wednesday, 21 November 1973
Page: 3603

Mr UREN (Reid) (Minister for Urban and Regional Development) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The purpose of this Bill is to appropriate S24m in 1973-74 for the growth centres program announced in the Budget. The $24m is the balance of the appropriation for that program after subtracting the $9m approved for expenditure in Albury-Wodonga. This Bill is basically concerned with financial conditions. Funds will generally be made available to the States upon agreement to the terms of finance, and to conditions relating to development corporations, where appropriate, and the introduction of legislation permitting a system of land acquisition at fair prices. The Bill only sets out conditions relating to the terms of finance. Clause 9 (1) provides that other conditions may be agreed between the Australian and State governments. These other conditions will be set out in the financial agreementsClause 15 of the Bill requires these agreements to be tabled.

Many of the detailed provisions in this Bill are the same as provisions for the Land Commissions (Financial Assistance) Bill which is on the notice paper, and I shall speak on it later today in some detail. However, for the purposes of this Bill, I will outline some of the more important provisions. Clause 4 of the Bill provides for approved programs of urban and regional development which include land acquisition, development, other works, and studies. Sub-clause (3) requires that where land is to be acquired it should be identified as intended for urban use, or otherwise. This is because the terms of finance for these 2 categories are different. Clause 5 is the operative section. When a State has incurred expenditure this financial year in accordance with an approved program it is then entitled to financial assistance. Clause 9 qualifies clause 5 by providing that a State's entitlement to financial assistance is subject to conditions set out in the Bill and also to such other conditions as may be agreed upon between the Australian and State governments. Clause 10 provides that, in respect of land for urban use, financial assistance will be through loans. Under clause 11, financial assistance for the acquisition of land for buffer zones, conservation areas and major recreation space can be made by way of non-repayable grants. This is subject to a matching grant by the States.

Mr Speaker,I shall deal with the more detailed arrangements for this assistance in introducing the next Bill which is concerned with financial assistance for land commissions. In the schedule attached to this Bill is a list of the areas covered by the Bill. There are 3 areas in New South Wales: BathurstOrange, Holsworthy-Campbelltown and Gosford-Wyong. The Cities Commission has been working closely with the New South Wales authorities in their efforts in Bathurst-Orange. In Holsworthy-Campbelltown the Cities Commission has been conducting detailed investigations into the problems of unexploded munitions and now believes that these problems can be solved at reasonable cost with the aid of sophisticated techniques already in use in many European countries. Land to be publicly acquired with funds allocated for 1973-74 has already been defined. We are now considering proposals for the management of the first pilot stage of development in the Holsworthy area. In Gosford-Wyong, the Commission is conducting studies into land to be acquired in 1973-74.

In Victoria 2 areas come into this Bill. In Geelong, we are commissioning studies for the development of a planning strategy. In Melbourne's south-east sector a task force has begun work, in co-operation with the appropriate State authorities, to define the land to be acquired with Federal finance in 1973-74. The land to be acquired in Melbourne's south-east sector is not for development, but to protect areas from development. The need for recreation land near Melbourne is particularly important. Moreover, the preservation of the Mornington Peninsula and the Dandenongs is a matter of some urgency. We are providing at least $3m in grant money this financial year for this task. We want to protect this area in co-operation with the Victorian State authorities. Together we can prevent this valuable area from being spoiled by over-development.

Following discussions with Queensland officials, the Cities Commission has been able to draw up study programs in the Moreton, Townsville and Fitzroy regions. The South Australian Government has pushed ahead with legislation and planning for Monarto. We have reached agreement with the South Australian Government on major policy issues. Final negotiations are under way between the Australian and Western Australian governments on policies to be adopted in the Salvado growth centre. The land for which Federal assistance has been allocated has been defined. In addition, a major study of port location and water supply in the Salvado region has been prepared.

Finally, good progress has been made in discussions between the Tasmanian authorities and the Cities Commission into future proposals for studies and land acquisition in Tasmania. We are examining particularly the Tamar region. Naturally, all these studies and negotiations on future land acquisition are being carried out in close co-operation with the appropriate State authorities. Apart from Canberra, this is the first time in the history of our nation that the Australian Government has made direct budgetary appropriations for a new city development. After studies by the Cities Commission, we have selected and are promoting a certain number of growth centres. We have committed $24m in this first year to our growth centres program. I stress again that that amount does not include our commitment to the development of Albury-Wodonga. Our growth centres program is only one part of our overall urban and regional development strategy but it is an essential part. The growth centres referred to in the Bill, and future growth centres, will help stabilise population pressure on existing cities, particularly Sydney and Melbourne. At the same time, growth centres will provide alternative living areas for future generations of Australians. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Ian Robinson) adjourned.

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