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Tuesday, 11 December 1973
Page: 2677

Senator KANE (New South Wales) - I rise to indicate that the Australian Democratic Labor Party will vote for the Bills now before the Senate and to say that I, like Senator Jessop, today received a deputation from the AlburyWodonga Growth Centre Land Owners Association. I endorse all Senator Jessop said in relation to his urging of the Minister for Urban and Regional Development (Mr Uren) to consider the proposals put forward by the deputation. As the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (Senator Cavanagh) pointed out in his second reading speech on one of the Bills, on present growth rates there will be an additional 7 million people in Australia within the next 30 years. It is imperative that the growth of cities like Sydney and Melbourne be halted. Between 1954 and 1966 the population of Australia increased by 28.5 per cent, but the population of the metropolitan areas increased by 38.6 per cent and of other urban centres by 29.9 per cent. The 1970 census revealed that the 6 State capitals, plus Canberra and Darwin enjoyed 76 per cent of the increase of the Australian population between 1966 and 1 970 and that 53 per cent of it accrued to the 3 largest metropolitan areas.

In 1965 Dr Neutze, in his book entitled 'Economic Policy and the Size of Cities', studied the costs of traffic congestion in cities of different sizes. His conclusions were that each new resident would cause an increase in traffic congestion for existing residents costing about $65 per annum in Sydney, $4 per annum in Wollongong and something like 20c per annum in Wagga. The report of the Committee of Commonwealth and State Officials on Decentralisation in July 1972 estimated the amount of government expenditure on infrastructure that would be saved if between 1970 and 2000 half a million people were diverted from Sydney's growth and divided among five existing nonmetropolitan cities. The study covered water supply, sewerage, roads, bridges, public transport and flood control. The estimated saving was something like $120m. In Australia we are building about 140,000 houses and flats a year. More than half of these structures are required to deal with the population growth. One-tenth of the other half* located in a new centre would give at the end of 10 years a capacity to house a population of something like 250,000.

It is the view of my Party that the best and most effective way of bringing about decentralisation of population would be to change the method of taxation collection so as to create a climate that would achieve decentralisation. We would urge that it be done by reducing company and income tax substantially and by placing a tax on industrial land sites that would encourage decentralisation in country areas. Having said that, let me repeat what I said at the beginning of my remarks: My Party will support the Bills before the Senate.

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