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Wednesday, 13 September 1972
Page: 1272

Mr SPEAKER -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

Mr DALY - The report of the Joint Committee on the Australian Capital Territory on employment opportunities in the Australian Capital Territory which I have just tabled is, in keeping with a number of other reports of this Committee, a most significant, important and far reaching one. Its major recommendations will have far reaching consequences for the national capital if implemented. The recommendations to which I refer are:

That population growth in the Australian Capital Territory should be limited to 500,000 persons.

That no positive policy aimed at attracting new forms of commercial and industrial activity to the Australian Capital Territory be implemented.

That an immediate serious attempt be made to restrict the transfer and growth of Commonwealth Public Service positions in the Australian Capital Territory to those essential to the seat of government function and to ensure that the recommended population limit of 500,000 persons for the Australian Capita] Territory is not exceeded.

That the Public Service Board extends the principle of open entry into the Commonwealth Pubtic Service so that positions vacant in the Third Division of the Public Service from and including the Class 8 level in the Australian Capital Territory are widely advertised and made open to application from any, person.

That section 25 of the National Capital Development Commission Act 1957-1960 be amended so as to add a sub-clause (f) providing for the appointment to the National Capital Planning Committee of 2 persons qualified and experienced in the field of urban economics.

That vocational training be related to the needs of employers. In this respect the Committee commends to those responsible for the design of vocational training courses the assessment of present and projected needs of employers by the Australian Capital Territory Apprenticeship Board.

That the Bureau of Transport Economics investigate the incidence of transport costs in the price of goods and services supplied in CanberraQueanbeyan.

That a joint Commonwealth-New South Wales regional planning authority be established immediately on a statutory basis with responsibility for the development of mutually acceptable extent and nature of land use planning now and for the future for the Canberra city region and its New South Wales environs.

That the necessary steps be taken immediately to ensure that the neglect of the ways and means of training and employing handicapped persons seeking employment, particularly by the Public Service Board, is not further prolonged.

There are a number of recommendations designed to assist married women to pursue employment of their choosing in this community.

That the urgent investigation of the provision of an adequate public transport system in the Australian Capital Territory be undertaken. The resultant system should obviate the obligation on members of the work force in the Australian Capital Territory, to provide private transport and should contribute to the active use of land in business centres currently rendered inoperative because of its reservation for vehicle parking.

A number of recommendations from the Committee if implemented will revitalise the planning of visitor attractions and other features affecting the tourist industry in the Australian Capital Territory.

This report appears to have canvassed a number of matters and made recommendations about them which, at first sight, the terms of reference would not have warranted. The Committee has made recommendations about the ultimate population size of Canberra and the need for a joint approach from the Commonwealth and New South Wales governments regarding planning in the Australian Capital Territory environs. Population growth in Canberra is dependent on the number of jobs created here along with a proportionately smaller reliance on natural population increase. Consequently, when looking at employment opportunities the Committee was forced to the conclusion that it should take account of the effect on the size of the city of any recommendations it may make about generating more jobs in Canberra.

The inquiry demonstrated that there is no lack of job opportunities in this city, nor is there a case for an incentive scheme to provide for diversity of employment opportunities. There was abundant evidence before us of a quite wide range of employment available to young persons in Canberra-Queanbeyan - wider by far than in the case in other Australian cities of anything like comparable size and the prospect for the future is that this diversity will be enhanced. On the other hand, a policy which set out to create employment diversity would generate the following difficulties: It would in the first place be quite expensive in a city where already large sums of Commonwealth money are being invested annually and we could not guarantee success from the very large outlay which would be required to have any effect on diversity of employment here. Secondly, such a policy if successful, could generate embarrassing problems for the planners who would have to cope with the consequent growth impetus which would be generated. Thirdly, there is in prospect the exhaustion of land for urban purposes within the A.C.T. and an accelerated growth policy is not necessarily in the best interests of this city and the surrounding lands close by in New South Wales.

Finally, we were not satisfied of the desirability of giving support to the possible growth of another large city in Australia. In the world at large and in Australia in particular, there appears to be merit in avoiding big cities if possible. It will be appreciated that this particular city is the seat of Federal Government and we may, as a result of encouraging unfettered growth here, have in some way jeopardised the national capital concept and function. We have accordingly recommended restraint. It will be seen that there is a clear chain of course and consequence between the creation of job opportunities and the ultimate size of Canberra. For this reason I believe the Committee was entirely justified in looking beyond the mere facts of the Canberra situation in respect of the quantity and quality of jobs available here. Such an approach to this inquiry would have been rather a waste of time, whereas we were presented with the opportunity of considering related issues of far greater consequence and making what we believe to be recommendations for the longer term benefit of Canberra as the national capital. I commend the report to the House.

Ordered that the report be printed.

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