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Thursday, 15 May 1969


Senator ANDERSON (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Supply) - I think the starting point in an answer to a question of this nature should be to remind the Senate, if it needs reminding, that we have a three-tier system of government. We have a national Parliament with a written Constitution; we have a series of sovereign States; and the third tier of government is local government. In the nature of our political system, under the Financial Agreement the Commonwealth makes money available to the States. They in turn have the complete and absolute responsibility, and it is within their own choice as how they spend that revenue. In turn, in the sphere of local government, local government authorities, of course, draw their revenue from rating. Even in the loan programme there is provision whereby local government authorities can borrow up to a certain statutory amount without reference to the Loan Council. Every local government authority of which I know has a town planning system, probably with a town planning officer, and they all make provision for the planning of their area, whether it be a municipality or a shire. I would hope - and 1 know it is a fact - that they make provision for open spaces and recreational areas.

City authorities, too, make provision for open spaces and recreational areas. To attempt to draw the Commonwealth into this field of operation would, I suggest, be quite inappropriate. The Commonwealth makes money available to the States under the Financial Agreement. The States in turn, if they so choose, can make allocations to the local authorities for this purpose. I think it would be a very dangerous and inappropriate thing if the Commonwealth, which has vast responsibility for the Commonwealth of Australia, found itself in the position of interceding in an affair Which is clearly the responsibility of the third sphere of government - local government authorities.







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