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Wednesday, 28 October 1970

Mr BARNARD (Bass) - I want to join those honourable members who have spoken in support of the construction of a Commonwealth office block in Hobart and which has been recommended by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works. The recommendation of that Committee has been presented to this House by the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp). I want to say quite frankly that the decision of the Committee to embark upon the first stage of the Commonwealth office block in Hobart is long overdue. In Hobart far too many Commonwealth departments are located in various buildings for which abnormally high rental charges are made.

I want to make some reference to the situation as it exists in other parts of Tasmania. It must be acknowledged that the great bulk of the population in Tasmania is, of course, north of Hobart. One recognises that not only in Tasmania but also in other States the Commonwealth prefers to have Commonwealth offices situated in the capital city. But what T said in relation to rental charges for Commonwealth departments located in private buildings in Hobart applies equally to the city of Launceston. Representations have been made over many years by myself and other honourable members in this House for the erection of a Commonwealth office block in the city of Launceston. On one occasion I sought information from the Minister for the Interior (Mr Nixon) as to the amount of the annual rental paid for accommodation of Commonwealth departments in the city of Launceston. I have not the figures with me now but I can assure the House that the amount is quite staggering. There is obviously a very good reason why the Government should seriously consider, when all the stages of the

Commonwealth office block in Hobart have been completed, whether an immediate investigation should be undertaken into the need to establish a similar block of offices in the city of Launceston.

Having made those very brief remarks I want to say once again that I support the construction of this block in Hobart. I congratulate the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for having made a very wise decision to embark upon this project which should have been commenced many years ago.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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