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Thursday, 10 May 1973
Page: 1950

Mr LAMB (LA TROBE, VICTORIA) - My question is directed to the Minister for Urban and Regional Development. Has his attention been drawn to today's news headlines and report to the effect that the Town Clerk of the City of Knox in Victoria said that a survey carried out by his council had shown that the cost of a building block in Melbourne's outer eastern suburbs is rising by an average $48 a week or up to 62.6 per cent a year? What action is intended by the Government, through the Minister's Department, to ensure that this frightening land price inflation is curbed? What cooperation and initiatives have been indicated to him by the Victorian Government to bring about a situation in which young married couples saving for land as part of their land-home unit will not need to increase their savings by an almost impossible $80 a week to obtain their objective?

Mr UREN (REID, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Urban and Regional Development) - My attention has been drawn to the statement made by the Town Clerk of the Council of the City of Knox. Land costs are spiralling in the south-eastern corridor of the Melbourne area as they are in all other capital cities. Action has been taken by the Commonwealth Government and there have been discussions between the Commonwealth Government and all State governments. In Victoria there are 3 areas under study for the development of new cities. There have been discussions also between the Commonwealth Government and all State governments in regard to Commonwealth-State land commissions as well as discussions between New South Wales authorities and the Commonwealth Government. The Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works and the Commonwealth Government have had discussions about making money available to try to catch up with the backlag in the provision of sewerage services to unserviced land. It will cost in excess of $ 1,000m to catch up with the sew erage backlag that has occurred in Melbourne during the last 23 years of maladministration by previous Commonwealth governments. The Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works is paying at present, in respect of sewerage in Melbourne, interest at 58c in every dollar it collects. Therefore, if we are to stabilise the problem of rising land prices in Melbourne or Sydney in particular, we will need the co-operation of those State governments.

The New South Wales Government has stabilised land prices in certain areas under study - the Menai-Hols worthy-Campbell town corridor, the Gosford-Wyong area, the Orange-Bathurst area and the Albury area. The Victorian Government to date has stabilised land prices in only the Wodonga area. No indication has been given publicly of any intention to stabilise land prices in the other study areas. It is important that the State governments make clear their intentions about stabilising land prices otherwise there can be no hope of stopping land prices spiralling. I make clear that it is also very important to get the co-operation of the State governments because it is only through a co-operative effort between Victoria and the Commonwealth that we will be able to stop spiralling land prices in Melbourne. Unless we can do this, we will find that in a very short time land prices in Melbourne will be similar to those in Sydney. At present the average price of land in Sydney exceeds $10,000 and what is happening in Sydney today will happen in Melbourne tomorrow.

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