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Tuesday, 29 August 1972
Page: 772

Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - One of the very satisfying features of this proposal is that a great regional centre in New South Wales is to have a complex of Commonwealth offices. I think this is a very unusual feature. On other occasions I have had the opportunity of seeing this kind of development in parts of Australia other than New South Wales. I have often thought that there has been a lack of planning, coordination and site utilisation in the construction of buildings for Commonwealth instrumentalities. In the vast bulk of regions in New South Wales, Commonwealth services are to be found scattered all over the place. That is the case in my electorate of Hughes, where the Commonwealth has put the Department of Labour and National Service at Caringbah, the Department of Social Services at Sutherland and so on.

I have seen in Shepparton a very aesthetic, contemporary and sensibly designed complex that accommodates all the services, and in some places it has been possible to make provision for the Federal member's office to be in proximity to other Commonwealth services. I am very delighted to see this happening in Bathurst. I take the opportunity to congratulate the honourable member for Macquarie (Mr Luchetti), whose agitation of such long standing is bearing fruit. I believe that it is as the result of his efforts to some considerable degree that this innovation is coming to Bathurst. I know that one member of the Public Works Committee was wondering why such a complex and such a modern post office had not been built in his own area. I suppose the answer is in the personable and consistent representative capacity of the honourable member for Macquarie.

Another very satisfying feature of this proposal is that the new building is to replace another building which is of very considerable vintage. The Supreme Court complex, which at present accommodates the post office facility at Bathurst, was built in 1880. I am gratified to know that the Australian National Trust has taken an interest in this building and placed it in category A. That is the category of buildings whose preservation is regarded as essential to the heritage of the State. I am gratified to learn that in fact the building is to be preserved. If anyone ever gets into the part of New South Wales west of the Blue Mountains he should take the opportunity to see the magnificent architecture that is to be preserved.

As the Minister for Customs and Excise (Mr Chipp), as Minister representing the Minister for Works, has said, a very effective Australian Post Office complex is to be located in the proposed building. It is designed to improve the very substandard facilities which operate at the present time. The Committee was concerned to note that the Commonwealth instrumentalities at present located in Bathurst were in most unsatisfactory quarters, and we are very pleased to see that provision is now being made for accommodation of the Taxation Office, the Electoral Office and the Departments of Social Services, Health, Housing and Labour and National Service and that the honourable member for Macquarie is to receive - deservedly, I would say - accommodation in this very fine complex. I am pleased to be associated with the work and I hope that the Parliament approves it.

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