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Wednesday, 25 July 1906

Senator STEWART (Queensland) . - I agree with very much that has fallen from Senator Drake on this subject, because I ; found in every one of the States a disposition to encroach upon public' recreation reserves. I hold the opinion that a recreation reserve in a large, or even a small, city should be held to toe absolutely sacred, and should not be invaded except under the most severe stress of circumstances.

Senator Trenwith - It would not.

Senator STEWART - I am supporting the amendment, because my experience justifies me in saving that it would. My experience in Queensland has been that whenever a piece of land has been required for any purpose, public or private, it has almost invariably been sought for in a public reserve. I believe that the same course is likely to be followed by the Commonwealth Government unless this Parliament speaks out clearly on the subject. I believe that these reserves should foe held sacred because they have been established for the purpose of conserving the health of the people. As our population increases out cities) will grow, and the necessity for these reserves will every year become greater. If the Commonwealth requires a piece of land for any specific purpose, in nine cases out of ten it will be easier for us to find suitable land that is not a reserve than it will be for the local community to find another reserve, or to part with a portion of any of their existing! reserves. The only Commonwealth Department which I think might be compel led to encroach seriously on these reserves is the Defence Department. I do not think there will be the slightest difficulty in finding suitable areas of land for the Customs and Post and Telegraph Departments without touching any of these reserves. If the Commonwealth Government can make out a clear case for the resumption of any reserve, or portion of a reserve, for defence purposes, I am sure that no State will stand in the way. I look upon the amendment .as a sort of hurdle, over which the Commonwealth Executive must jump before it can take any of these reserves. I trust that the Committee will approve of the principle embodied in the amendment.

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