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Wednesday, 4 December 1935

Senator ARKINS - I consider that statistics should be kept. Honorable senators have referred to the inadequate railway facilities. If the tourist traffic be increased, naturally the railway service will be improved.

Senator Badman - Tourist traffic will not increase until the railway service is improved.

Senator ARKINS - I disagree with the honorable senator. I consider that first we must attract larger numbers of tourists to Canberra before we can hope for a substantial improvement of the railway services. If better facilities were provided for tourists they would have a higher appreciation of the many beauty spots of Canberra and leave it with an added sense of the responsibility of the National Parliament. I hope that more publicity will in future be given to the many attractive features of the Federal Capital Territory area, and thus encourage a greater volume of tourists.

Senator Brown - The expenditure proposed on the Canberra cemetery is in excess of the amount for publicity.

Senator Sir George Pearce - The public cemetery has been opened recently, and provision is made for its maintenance. The sum of £3,400 provided includes £100 for the maintenance of the cemetery in the churchyard of St. John the Baptist.

SenatorJ. V. MacDONALD (Queensland) | 2.49]. - I agree that more attention should be given to the proper advertising of the Federal Capital area. Having lived here for a large portion of the last three years, I have, perhaps, a more intimate knowledge of its many attractive features than have other honorable senators. The publication -nf an attractive booklet describing the leading scenic features of the capital city, and containing a number of good photographs, would be a splended advertisement for the national capital, but unless the publication were well produced, there would be the possibility that it would be picked up by a tourist and. perhaps, thrown away, as happens in the ease of so many cheaply produced publicity pamphlets. The production would require to be of such a kind as to encourage tourists to keep it and show if to friends upon their return to their homes. Thus it would be a lasting advertisement for the national capital. The cost of such a publication would be money well spent. The people of Canberra, and the business community in particular, arcdisappointed at the comparatively slow transfer of administrative staffs from Melbourne. The provision this year is £6,500 in excess of the sum provided in 1934-35; but the Defence and PostmasterGeneral's Departments, the largest employing sections of the Administration, have still to come here. It is well known that many people entered into business in Canberra in the expectation that the transfer of public departments would bo carried out without interruption, so the interference with those arrangements during the depression years caused considerable disappointment. Improved facilities for tourists would encourage more people to include Canberra in their itinerary, and the business people here would receive a certain amount of compensation for the delay in transferring* the public departments. Under existing conditions, many visitors arrive in Canberra in the morning, and after driving from the railway station through the city area, taking in Parliament House and the Civic Centre, leave by the evening train. Some, I fear, go away with unfavorable impressions and a little bit dissatisfied. This may be because they have not had a reasonable opportunity to appreciate the many beautiful features of the capital city. Very few of them, for instance, have the time a't their disposal to climb Mr Ainslie to enjoy from thatelevation of 700 feet a. panoramic view of the many attractive features of the city layout, nor are they encouraged to visit the Cotter dam, to see the junction of tho waters of the Mumimbidgee and Cotter Rivers or admire the beauty of the many picnic areas that have been established there. There is, I understand, a voluntary tourist, organization in Canberra. I feel sure that its activities could be widely extended if it received further assistance from the Government. People come here from all parts of Australia, with a patriotic desire to see a national capital in the making, but, unfortunately, owing to lack of facilities, many of them are allowed to wander about in a more or less aimless fashion, and, as I have said, some probably go away a little disappointed. This should be the show place of Australia. If the proper measures were taken it would be possible to attract a much larger number of tourists. When the remainder of the departments are transferred the population of the city will be almost doubled, and future tourists will then be able to get a better idea of the intentions of the designers of the national capital.

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