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Wednesday, 27 March 1968


Mr Robinson - Who is making the speech?

Mr Charles Jones (NEWCASTLE, VICTORIA) - The honourable member for St George is trying to, but you are not giving him a go.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Newcastle will cease interjecting.

Mr BOSMAN - Another extract from the synopsis worth noting reads:

The new channel across the 16 ft high sand deposits on the inside of the bend was constructed with a bottom width of 30 ft compared with the planned width between banks of 300 ft and involved the excavation of 90,000 cubic yards of material. The major problem is that of ensuring that the river will stay on its new course and to do this a wide and dense growth of trees (usually willows) is established across the former bed of the stream on the revised alignment for the river bank. Planting of trees alone provides no guarantee of success and obstructions are installed to retard the flow and protect the willows until they are well developed and consolidated in position.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! There is too much conversation audible from the Country Party benches.

Mr BOSMAN - The extract continues:

The spoil obtained by the construction of the pilot channel was placed in the stream bed on the selected alignment of the bank to provide a base just above water level for the installation thereon of these obstructions which extend upstream to an existing stable section of bank.

From this report one can gain an appreciation of the detail of the work that has been undertaken. I could refer at length to work that has been done in the Hunter River Valley area in recent years, particularly in the first 2 or 3 years following the implementation of this legislation. I had intended to quote extensively from a report by the New South Wales Public Works Department, but my colleagues opposite apparently are fully aware of the details contained in that report so I will not cite it. However-

Mr Charles Jones (NEWCASTLE, VICTORIA) - Mr Speaker, may I move that the report be incorporated in Hansard?


Mr BOSMAN - I refer honourable members to the New South Wales Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission's 1966 report in relation to rivers and foreshores improvements, portion of which reads:

Since ' the commencement of operations under the Rivers and Foreshores Improvement Act, 1948, the Commission has received 1,003 requests for assistance or advice in respect of river improvement problems.

Inspections have been made of 836 of these requests but some cases will require further detailed investigations before proposals for protection works can be prepared.

Collaboration has been maintained between the Commission and the Committee of Advice on Flood Control and Mitigation, the Hunter Valley Conservation Trust, the Macleay River County Council and other local government bodies in carrying out protection works on streams throughout the State.

In a section of the report related to river improvement and river control works it is stated:

On those sections of streams where work was completed some years ago and is now fully developed, minor routine maintenance, as required, was carried out.

Work of this nature was undertaken on eight rivers including Pages River, Hunter River, Goulburn River*- Martindale Creek, Williams River and Black Creek, while follow up work was carried out on nine rivers, including the Hunter River and the Paterson River. Work in other parts of the Hunter Valley included work at Westbrook at Michell's Flat and the Williams River at Bendolba where willows were planted as a necessary part of previously installed work; and at Glennies Creek, where there was major stream control work consisting of relocating the main flow channel within the gravel deposits of the creek bed as well as the installation of associated protection. Other work is detailed at length. It indicates to honourable members how the money they allocate is being expended. The report mentions work that is being undertaken on the Macquarie River, Belubula River, Murray River, Castlereagh River, Gloucester River, Bell River, Macleay River, Peel River, Namoi River, Goobang Creek, Apsley River, Dumaresq Creek, Guidgera Creek and in various other areas. I point out to the honourable member for Lilley (Mr Kevin Cairns) that the New South Wales Government is not relying solely on Commonwealth moneys to undertake this type of work. It is important for this point to be made, because some honourable members from States other than New South Wales are inclined to think that some States rely entirely on Commonwealth money, but the report I have quoted illustrates the comprehensive nature of the work being undertaken by New South Wales authorities. This is a classic example of the Government working in association with provincial and local bodies. This has always been the objective of the Commonwealth Government, and here it is in full bloom in this flood mitigation legislation.

Another important aspect to which other honourable members have referred is that we have about 3 million square miles of country encircled by 12,000 miles of coastline, and we would be recreant to our trust if we were to neglect the lands which have been left to us to develop. This is an important factor. We must utilise the very rich alluvial plains of the northern areas of New South Wales and the Hunter Valley as well as many similar areas in other States. It is important that those areas be utilised to the fullest extent and that we appreciate the great heritage that we have in this country.

Supporting this legislation are the extensive moneys which are being directed into water resources, lt is the combination of various Acts of the type that is so spectacularly in the forefront of the administration of this Government. But it is in the work of flood mitigation that we need to address ourselves more specifically to what 1 term - I used this expression in my speech during the Address-in-Reply debate the other day - a shake-out of these areas of misapplication of moneys. This is where we are falling down in our job. When I say our job', I refer to the job of the Australian nation in the broadest sense. We are not utilising our heritage. Our moneys are not being used in the right direction. The classic example of this point is to be found in the matter of subsidies payable to the dairy industry. Over a lengthy period, we have found it desirable to direct approximately S27m per annum into dairying. Now, we have had to rethink this form of assistance. We have had to take another look at it. We can see now that this money, by being redirected, can be put to far better use. One suggestion for its use is reafforestation. Other suggestions are forthcoming as to ways in which these colossal amounts of money can be and should be directed into the best avenues where they will gain the greatest advantage for the Australian people.

Mr Robinson - Hear, hear!

Mr BOSMAN - I am interested to hear that interjection from my colleague in the Country Party arena. I wonder whether members of the Country Party are aware of the fact - if they are not, they should be - that only 10% of all the land in some sort of rural tenure in this country is under sown grass, improved pastures, crops or lying fallow. This leaves between 300 million acres and 400 million acres of land needing improvements as far as cropping and grasses are concerned. This is so despite the wonderful advantages which bodies such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation have introduced. I refer to such developments as tropical legumes, Townsville lucerne in particular, and background research into the use of trace elements, fertilisers and so on.

A vast problem is before us. A vast challenge lies ahead. Our whole approach to the agricultural question is concerned. We need more of a shakeout. This has commenced in recent times with such things as this flood mitigation legislation and the reconstruction of the dairying subsidy. The field is a vast one. I have heard my colleagues talk about the tremendously expanding market for beef and the colossal market for grain sorghum. There is also the matter of fishing which will be debated in this session. There are tremendous possibilities in this regard. Vast arenas open up for anybody with imagination as to what can be done if we utilise our resources properly.

This proposition was proved even today. I read in a newspaper a report about a project being conducted at Tipperary, some 100 miles from Darwin. After 2 years those concerned in this project have pulled off the first crop of grain sorghum. By 1970 a crop of grain sorghum worth approximately $50m will be harvested. This return will come from an investment of approximately $20m. Here is the result of a combination of capital, imagination and science. All that was needed was application. On this occasion we had a look outside Australia for the imagination. Is this right? I believe that we have the imagination here in Australia. All that is needed is for us to apply this imagination. Here we are considering legislation concerning flood mitigation. But an even wider field of thought is required. We can do the job. I believe that the legislation which is put forward here tonight is the kind that we need.

Debate (on motion by Mr Charles Jones) adjourned.

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