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Tuesday, 20 November 1973
Page: 3552

Mr COHEN (Robertson) - On behalf of all honourable members on this side of the House I should like to compliment the honourable member for Parramatta (Mr Ruddock) on the manner in which he delivered his maiden speech. As one who has gone through an agonising quarter of an hour or 20 minutes it takes to make a maiden speech, I know the sort of emotional feelings the honourable member must have experienced. He delivered his speech with great aplomb and a feeling of confidence. I think that we all wish him well in the speeches that he will make in this House in the future.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - He set an example which many of his older colleagues could well follow.

Mr COHEN - I think the Minister has made a very fine point. We had hoped that the contributions made in this chamber by some of the older members of the Liberal Party of Australia were even half as good. However, I should like to take up one or two points which the honourable member made. I do so without in any way wishing to downgrade his speech, which I thought was a first class performance. The honourable member dealt with the siting of an airport at Galston. Shortly after this matter blew up the former Minister for Civil Aviation, Senator Cotton, appeared on the television program 'Federal File' in a discussion on the siting of an airport at Galston. He made it very clear that if the Liberal Party were returned to office - this was the feeling at the time the Liberals were in office - it would favour the Somersby area as the site for a second airport for Sydney. Sir Robert Askin has said that he had a site in mind but he would not name it - that is, not prior to the last election. Somersby was one of 2 sites which had been selected for consideration by the previous Government. While I sympathise greatly with the honourable member for Berowra (Mr Edwards) and the honourable member for Parramatta over the Galston site, I state quite categorically that the Somersby area is equally as lovely and equally as attractive as the Galston area and has as much to offer the people of New South Wales and the people on the Central Coast.

The phoney environmentalists, the middle class environmentalists who came to Canberra in their thousands recently, were noticeably absent when people were trying to impose a second airport on the people in my electorate. It was different when real estate values or their properties were affected; they got angry and heaped abuse on the Labor Party. I would like someone on the other side of this chamber to get up and say that Somersby and the Central Coast is less attractive to the community and to our society than is Galston and that it should be thrown to the wolves. I never received any support for my opposition to locating an airport at Somersby, apart from people within the immediate area of Somersby.

Not one conservation society, not one group of irate Sydney citizens came to Canberra in buses to help us fight the previous Government on that issue. Frankly it made me sick to see the sort of phoney attitudes that have been expressed by large sections of the Sydney Press and the Sydney environmentalists, and to hell with the people who live in the Gosford and the Central Coast districts.

Mr Bourchier - The Sydney Press too?

Mr COHEN - The Sydney Press too. The honourable member for Parramatta made one or two comments which I think ought to be taken up. I like the proposal to have patrolmen along the Parramatta River. They could probably be known as 'Ruddock's Raiders'. I should like to point out to the people of Sydney the effects of the honourable member's suggestion for the use of a helicopter to take people from Parramatta to Sydney (KingsfordSmith) Airport. How many electorates would the helicopter have to fly over? There is nothing noisier than a helicopter. The sight of North Shore businessmen commuting to Kingsford-Smith Airport in myriads of noisy helicopter is enough to make one's mind boggle. I suggest to the Liberal Party and to the honourable member for Parramatta that they give that idea some very serious thought otherwise we will have another 100,000 people on the lawns outside this Parliament protesting at such a monstrous proposition.

I come back to the estimates for the Department of Urban and Regional Development. Unfortunately I have only 5 minutes left in which to speak. I was very interested in the speech made earlier by the Minister for Urban and Regional Development when he introduced the Albury-Wodonga Development Bill. No doubt we will have time to debate that Bill. Two Central Coast councils covering the Gosford Wyong districts are at the moment wondering what sort of role they will have to play in the future development of the Gosford-Wyong centre. I am hopeful that the Minister will be able to visit the area early in the new year. He was to have made a visit just recently but unfortunately the arrangement clashed with a visit by Sir Charles Cutler and we decided to postpone it to a future date. I am most conscious of the need to keep the community informed of the future role that local people will play, for instance, in the work of this Development Authority. I reject completely the proposition put up by some councillors that all that needs to happen is that the national Government should hand over millions and millions of dollars to local government or to a regional development authority, which will then develop an area. The district in which I live is one of great beauty destroyed by the inadequacies and inefficiencies of local councils which simply do not have and never have had the expertise required to develop growth centres which will each incorporate a population of half a million people.

Mr Nixon - This is the first electorate-style speech that you have made for years.

Mr COHEN - I reject that proposition out of hand. But I do believe that local councils have a great deal to contribute by way of local expertise. Let me deal with one most serious problem that arose in my electorate in the course of the last State election in New South Wales. The recently elected member for Gosford, Councillor Brooks, the Shire President, used his position as Shire President-

Mr Hewson - Is he not the new member?

Mr COHEN - He was elected member for the Gosford electorate last Saturday and I congratulated him on his election. He used his position as Shire President to reject all Federal aid on the ground that acceptance of this aid would involve control of the Central Coast area from Canberra. He said that-

Mr Martin - Shame!

Mr COHEN - He rejected all Federal aid. He said: 'We do not want anything to do with it'. He said that if he accepted Federal aid this would mean that he would be told what to do by Canberra bureaucrats. He used all sorts of phrases such as nationalisation and socialisation which, if I may say so, were a load of codswallop. The fact of the matter is that, as we see from what is proposed with the AlburyWodonga Development Authority, development authorities have a 3 -tiered involvement at the levels of Federal, State and local governments. A range of experts will be provided from the State and national governments. These experts will carry out the planning. We are talking about building 2 major townships of, I should imagine, the size of a large suburb in Canberra, of between 30,000 and 40,000 people. Planning of that type requires the work of ecologists, demographers, engineers, all ranges of scientific experts and planners including town planners.

It is simply absurd to suggest that this type of expertise can be gathered from the local community.

I urge the Minister for Urban and Regional Development - I know that he is willing to do so - to keep the lines of communication open. Councillor Brooks is now the State member for Gosford. I wish him well in the 3-year term for which he has been elected. Now that the election has been held, I hope that he will adopt a different attitude, that he will agree with the attitudes expressed by other local councillors and that he will join with us in a spirit of co-operation, such as has been shown to this Parliament today with respect to the Albury-Wodonga development. The Minister for Urban and Regional Development has managed to work with the Liberal Governments of Victoria and New South Wales with respect to Albury-Wodonga. I hope that Councillor Brooks will say: T am prepared to put aside petty party politics so that what we will do with the State and Federal governments will be for the benefit of the people of the Central Coast area'. The concept is most exciting. In the past, the development of this area has been allowed to sprawl with the most objectionable type of poor development, ad hoc planning, roads going in all directions and shore fronts being taken over by developers. High rise flats have been constructed everywhere without any consideration of the total concept of the needs of the community. This is a great opportunity which we must not lose.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr Scholes - Order! The honourable member's time has expired.

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