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Tuesday, 10 May 1960

Mr DALY (Grayndler) .- Two things stand out very clearly from the speech made by the Attorney-General (Sir Garfield Barwick). One is that he is opposed to State housing commissions, and to their building of homes. The second is that he is opposed to rent control. The workers should particularly note the attitude of the Attorney-General. In common with other speakers on the other side of the House he has continually criticized State governments and those two aspects of their housing administration. I can well understand the Attorney-General not wanting to see housing commission homes built. When all is said and done, in the Dundas Valley, in the very centre of his electorate, many thousands of workers to-day live in comfortable houses because they are established in good homes built by the Labour Government of New South Wales. In addition to living in reasonable comfort, they are at the same time exercising their democratic right and, in the main, vote against Liberal representation of that area in this Parliament. So, no wonder the Attorney-General would like to remove from the Dundas Valley those thousands of housing commission homes put there by a Labour government. Every one of the electors there should remember that in this Parliament their member has said that he is opposed to rent control. I believe that that shows that he is in favour of exorbitant rents, to be taken from the meagre incomes that these people have as a result of the wage-pegging policy of this Government. The Attorney-General expressed quite clearly and frankly the attitude taken by honorable members opposite in general. They do not like a socialist housing scheme. They do not want to peg rents because they are on the side of those who would exploit the people as much as they could.

The Attorney-General said that rent control has held back the building of homes. What has held back the building of homes is the failure of this Government to make available to the State instrumentalities adequate funds in order that they may provide enough homes for people in the lowerincome groups and for the population generally.

I listened to-day to the Minister for Social Services (Mr. Roberton) and, much to my disgust, rarely in my time in this Parliament have I had to listen to so much humbug and hypocrisy as the Minister brought forth. He stated, first, that this Government was elected because it had a solution to the housing problem and therefore had won the confidence of the people. Speakers from this side of the House have pointed out that although the Government is supposed to have a solution to the housing problem there are countless thousands in practically every State who are urgently in need of homes and cannot get them - and the reason that they cannot get them is the policy followed by this Government. That position is the reason for the motion.

The Minister also spoke of what he called the proud record of the Government in relation to war service homes and the Territories. I intend to deal at this stage with the proud record of the Minister for Social Services and the Government in relation to war service homes. First, there is a waiting period of 22 months before an exserviceman who fought for this country can get a war service home under this Government - fifteen years after the end of the last war! In 1950-51 the number of war service homes provided was 15,579. In 1958-59 the number was 14,699. Fourteen years after the end of the war the Government built 1,000 fewer war service homes than were built in 1950-51. In 1958-59 there were 22,200 applications for war service homes outstanding. In 1950-51 the number outstanding was 23,500. So in ten years honorable gentlemen opposite have reduced the war service homes lag by not more than 1,300 - a mere fraction of what is required.

Under this Government the cost of a war service home in New South Wales has increased from £2,080 to £3,918- an increase of 56 per cent, under a government 75 per cent, of whose members in this Parliament are said to be ex-servicemen - a fact of which, the Minister for Social Services says, the Government is proud. In 1950-51 the Government spent £20,150,000 on war service homes. In 1958-59 it spent only £18,390,000. So, despite the increase of costs in that time, the Government spent less in 1958-59 on war service homes than it spent almost ten years ago. Although the cost of building a war service home has increased by 56 per cent, the Government is providing a much lower nett amount for such homes than it did in 1950-51, and it still has more than 22,000 people waiting for these homes.

At one time the loan available to an ex-serviceman for a war service home was 90 per cent, of the cost. To-day, under this Government, it is only 60 per cent. Yet the Minister for Social Services talks about the proud record of the Government in respect of war service homes. We all know how ex-servicemen wanting to buy homes are forced to seek accommodation from financial houses - as the AttorneyGeneral and the Minister for Social Services like them to have to do - and have to pay interest at the rate of 8 per cent., 10 per cent, and 12 per cent.

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