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Thursday, 2 June 1960

Mr HAROLD HOLT - I congratulate the honorable member for Lalor on one of his more effective speeches, but I regret that in order to answer adequately all the points he has raised I would have to intrude, to an unwarranted degree, into the time set aside on Grievance Day for private members. As to the amount spent on migration in this country, I am sure the honorable member would agree with my view that it is the most profitable investment that Australia can make of its funds at this time. Some of the consequences may be inconvenient and even uncomfortable for us. The honorable member has painted a picture of land operators exploiting the demand for land, but at the same time he has not shown the other side of the coin which, I think, would demonstrate that the risk-taking enterprises of people in this country have led to an increase in the provision of housing and of land for housing, and so have assisted in the process of migrant assimilation. I believe, personally, that in these large sub-divisions it should be a requirement, as it is in certain other parts of the world, that the person sub-dividing the land should provide the necessary street and engineering facilities before the land is sold. I gather that legislation to that end has already been adopted in some parts of Australia.

As to the general question of whether the Government should interfere in these activities, quite apart from constitutional limitations, my general view is that in the freedom of the market and the incentive given to individual Australians to hazard their enterprise and their capital lie the opportunities for rapid progress in this country.

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