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Thursday, 17 May 1973
Page: 2259

Mr Keith Johnson (BURKE, VICTORIA) - Is the Minister for Urban and Regional Development aware of a report that the Minister for State Development and Decentralisation in Victoria has accused the Postmaster-General of telling lies in relation to his statement that the Victorian Government had not approached the Commonwealth seeking that Ballarat be designated as a development centre? Is he also aware that Mr Byrne has publicly stated that the reply he received from the Minister for Urban and Regional Development contained no information other than acknowledgement of receipt of a letter? Is Mr Byrne correct in saying that the Minister gave no information in his reply?

Mr UREN (REID, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Urban and Regional Development) - I am aware of the statement made by the Victorian Minister for State Development and Decentralisation. There has been correspondence between Mr Byrne and me. Mr Byrne did suggest certain areas that could be considered for study - I stress the word 'study' - for possible development as growth centres. I notice that Mr Byrne's letter to me was published in full. Mr Byrne did not seek my permission to make it public. It is not my intention to disclose my reply to Mr Byrne without consultation with him because I feel if we are to get any real co-operation between Commonwealth and State Ministers, State Ministers have certain responsibilities as do Commonwealth Ministers. I regret that the statement was made. At no time has there been agreement between the Commonwealth and the State on any regional area in Victoria to be nominated as a growth area with the exception of Wodonga. It was agreed that no announcement would be made on any other area during the Victorian election campaign because the Australian Government should not be used in the politics of that State's elections. The Australian Government wants to work out scientifically what is in the best interests of Victoria and the nation as a whole in determining new growth centres.

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