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Tuesday, 1 October 1974
Page: 1563

Senator STEELE HALL (South AustraliaLeader of the Liberal Movement) - Senator McLarenobviously has become infected by his South Australian State colleagues. He has parrotted his praise for a city which is neither fish nor fowl as far as any organised entity is concerned. Monarto is a profitable farming area for those who farm it according to the dry land system of South Australian farming but it is not a pleasant place in which to put a city and would be reminiscent of Whyalla when one considers all the problems which would be created in trying to beautify it and make it habitable. I am sure that Senator McLaren bases his confidence for its future on the tactics which have been adopted by the South Australian Government and which have been referred to by Senator Jessop. I refer to the fact that South Australian public servants are to be conscripted from their lifetime work of establishing their homes in Adelaide. They are to be uprooted and sent to Monarto by government direction.

Senator Webster - How do you emphasise that point?

Senator STEELE HALL - I emphasise it by directing any honourable senator who wishes to inquire to the South Australian Hansard in which he will find that the South Australian Premier has said quite clearly that they cannot have their jobs and remain in Adelaide. They are to be sent to Monarto.

Senator McLaren - Did you vote against the legislation?

Senator STEELE HALL - I have spoken quite clearly on the Monarto situation in South Australia. What Senator McLaren did not tell the House was that if you draw a 40 mile radius from Adelaide you will find that Monarto is the worst conceivable position you could find on any part of that rim, except for the more mountainous or obviously unsuitable areas geographically, on which to build a town. Of any area where a city can be put, Monarto is the worst on that radius. There is no dispute about that fact.

One of the people who worked on the report that went to the State Government told me that his view was that the Adelaide extension should have gone to the southern area in the Willunga district where there are some of the best living conditions that South Australia can produce. In that district there is a very large area of developmental land where there could be another successful satellite city. Monarto will develop into that most horrible of all types of cities- a dormitory area for which the Government will have to provide efficient transport across a mountain range so that people can work in Adelaide. The only alternative is to make Monarto attractive. We have heard already the proposition that it is to be laced with enormous ornamental lakes and that there is to be, from memory, a forest of 1 6 million trees. In other words the South Australian Government at this moment envisages doing at Monarto what has been done at Canberra without the more desirable climatic surroundings of Canberra and that is to create its own type of Lake Burley Griffin, its own $16m forest and its own attractions to get people to go to one of the most arid areas in the existing farming districts of South Australia.

Senator McLaren - Who said anything about $ 1 6m? You cannot verify that statement.

Senator STEELE HALL - I would like to ask Senator McLaren what he thinks it will ultimately cost for every dwelling to be placed in that situation, together with its support facilities. Think about the cost to the Housing Trust in South Australia. The report prepared by the consultants, not by Senator McLaren's Government, engaged to look at Monarto said that in effect it was the wrong place. Even the experts who have looked at the area have said that the situation is wrong.

Senator Baume - It is a compelling document.

Senator STEELE HALL -They also said in that compelling document that the South Australian Housing Trust was an amazingly efficient organisation. It has been long recognised as the most efficient housing organisation in Australia. The economics of South Australian community housing will be reversed by loading that organisation with possibly three times the cost of housing by the time the cost of immense support facilities, beautification and the like at Monarto are added. This will completely upset the economics of providing housing for the growth which it is now desired to take outside Adelaide. No one quarrels with the contention that there must be alternative growth centres for Australia's capitals. But in choosing a new growth centre for South Australia's population at this stage of Adelaide's development the South Australian Government has selected the worst conceivable site available to it. No parrotting of the South Australian Government's defence of a quite unsupportable situation by Senator McLaren can make it any better.

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