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Thursday, 3 May 1973
Page: 1723

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -I have already ruled that the Bill deletes a section of the existing Act and substitutes a definition of prescribed rivers. This necessarily widens the content of the Bill from the 3 creeks that the Leader of the House has mentioned. However I would suggest to the Leader of the Country Party that to go too far into the field of flood mitigation is straying a little from the Bill.

Mr ANTHONY - Thank you very much, Mr Deputy Speaker. I do not believe I have strayed from the Bill in any way and I do not want unnecessarily to take up the time of the House. I believe that my remarks are confined to flood mitigation, which words are contained in the name of the Act. It is the New South Wales (Flood Mitigation) Act, and my remarks have been confined to that. They have not been political remarks. I find it intolerable to be interrupted or to be confronted with an attempt to gag me. I am talking on a Bill which is so important to the people of my own electorate and the people of nothern New South Wales, who for many years considered this a major political issue in their areas.

Mr Daly - I rise on a point of order. In the second reading speech of the Minister for the Environment and Conservation he said:

The amendment simply varies the description of prescribed rivers' as contained in the original Act to rectify the omission previously mentioned. There is no intention to vary the Act or its method of operation except to cover the addition of these words.

That being the case, for the Leader of the Country Party to embark on an excursion into all aspects of flood mitigation is to go completely beyond the subject of the restricted Bill, which is a Bill to amend section 3 of the New South Wales Grant (Flood Mitigation) Act 1971.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -I appreciate (he point taken by the Leader of the House. The Minister's second reading speech was brief. He mentioned in it that the flood mitigation scheme was concerned with constructing works to mitigate flooding on all of the major coastal rivers of New South Wales, and those rivers are named in the Bill.

Mr ANTHONY - I assure the honourable member for Grayndler that if he wants me to talk about the 3 creeks - Cudgen, Cudgera and Mooball - I can do so because I was brought up in those areas and I could run him up every tributary of them if he wished. I would have finished speaking by now if I had not been interrupted by the Leader of the House. The point I was about to make is that $9m has been provided for the second phase of flood mitigation works on rivers in New South Wales and from that amount $422,000 has been made available for the development of flood mitigation in the Tweed River area. I believe that because of rising costs this amount of money will be quite inadequate to do this work by the time the period for this program expires. With rising costs it becomes very difficult to complete programs which have been developed.

I will emphasise how important it is for this sort of work to take place as quickly as possible. In the Tweed River area, which is my home and in which I have lived beside the Tweed River, in the last 13 months there have been 5 floods. This is the pattern of rainfall in that part of New South Wales. Something like 114 inches of rain fell in that area last year. If the land in this area is to be utilised effectively - and it is extremely fertile country - we will have to use up-to-date methods to achieve the greatest productivity in this area. To do this there is a need to construct levee banks and to have barrages to prevent salt water coming up the Cudgen Creek, the Cudgera Creek and the Mooball Creek. If the honourable member for Grayndler wants me to keep on mentioning them I will do so. This area has the capacity for increased crop production, particularly sugar cane growing. There is also a capacity for increasing grazing in these areas.

My point is that flood mitigation is essential and important but if this scheme is to fulfil the programs at present outlined I would hope that the Government will during the period of this 7-year program give consideration to reviewing the overall amount of money to be made available because with rising costs the present program can not be fully accomplished. There will need to be an adjustment. More money will need to be made available. I conclude my remarks by saying to the Minister that I appreciate very much the Government's acceptance and inclusion in the Bill of the 3 creeks to which I referred and which I consider to be an important part of the overall flood mitigation program in that district.

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