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Thursday, 2 November 1967

Mr HAROLD HOLT - I have given some more attention to this matter since the honourable gentleman spoke to me. It will be evident from some of the announcements made yesterday that in a practical way we are achieving a degree of decentralisation by encouraging important projects, both those of a governmental character and those that are so spectacularly proceeding from private enterprise around Australia at this time. I have looked at the work of the Committee mentioned by the honourable member to see whether in some way the work could be speeded up. This work involves six State governments, not just the Commonwealth Government, and most of the information is in the possession of the State governments. I have even considered the possibility of bringing in a consultant body from outside the ranks of government and assigning a task to it. I have some reservations about this course, because such a body would necessarily deal with the Commonwealth and State governments and this may not be an appropriate way to handle the matter. I merely mention that to show the honourable gentleman that I am well aware of his anxiety and indeed that of other honourable members, including the honourable member for Macquarie. We have nothing to lose and we have much to gain by bringing the deliberations of this Committee to a point where we can bite on whatever recommendations flow from its considerations.

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