PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 3010

SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER, MR EG WHITLAM QC MP, AT THE OPENING OF THE MASTER BUILDERS' ASSOCIATION CENTENARY PARADE OF HOMES AND PRESENTATION OF THE 'PEEARCE RESERVE' TO THE MUNICIPALITY OF BLACKTOWN, AT KINGS LANGLEY, NEAR SEVEN HILLS, FRIDAY 14 SEPTEMBER 1973

Photo of Whitlam, Gough

Whitlam, Gough

Period of Service: 05/12/1972 to 11/11/1975

More information about Whitlam, Gough on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 14/09/1973

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 3010

SPEECH BY THE PRIME MlINISTER, MR, E. G. WHITLAM,. O. C.,
AT THE OPENING OF THE MASTER BUILDERS' ASSOCIATION CENTENARY
PARADE OF HOMES AND PRESENTATION OF THE " PEARCE RESERVE" TO
THE MUNICIPALITY OF BLACKIOWN, AT KINGS LANGLEY, NEAR SEVEN
HILLS,-FRIDAY 14 SEPTEMBER 1973-
No ONE SEEING THIS EXHIBITION CAN BE OTHER THAN
IMPRESSED AND ENCOURAGED BY THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE AUSTRALIAN
BUILDING INDUSTRY, No ONE CAN DOUBT THE INDUSTRY'S ABILITY TO
PROVIDE HOUSING OF HIGH QUALITY AND IMAGINATIVE DESIGN. IT
WOULD-BE A PITY, HOWEVER, IF THIS FINE DISPLAY OF HOMES WERE
USED MERELY AS A PROMOTIONAL EXERCISE, IT SHOULD ALSO SERVE TO
REMIND US OF A RESPONSIBILITY WE ALL SHARE -GOVERNMENTS1
BUILDERS, DEVELOPERS, AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES -TO ENSURE THAT
THE HOUSING NEEDS OF OUR PEOPLE ARE FULLY AND PROMPTLY MET.
THE AUSTRALIAN PEOPLE HAVE BEEN WAITING Al" LONG TIME
FOR A FAIR DEAL IN HOUSING, I HOPE YOU WILL FORGIVE ME IF I
RECALL SOME WORDS I USED 20 YEARS AGOp IN MY FIRST SPEECH IN
THE NATIONAL PARLIAMENT. I SAID THEN:
NO~ ONE THINKS THAT 20 YEARS AGO THE PEOPLE OF
AUSTRALIA WERE ADEQUATELY HOUSED; AND NOBODY
THINKS THAT THEY ARE ADEQUATELY HOUSED NOW. / 2

-2-
TWENTY YEARS LATER, THOSE WORDS ARE STILL TRUE, IT IS SHAMEFUL
THAT IN 1973, THE PEOPLE OF AUSTRALIA ARE STILL NOT ADEQUATELY
HOUSED, IT IS SHAMEFUL THAT IN A NATION WITH ABUNDANT SPACE,
CONSIDERABLE WEALTH, A MODEST POPULATION, AND A GENERAL
COMMITMENT TO THE IDEALS OF SOCIAL WELFARE, THOUSANDS OF
AUSTRALIAN FAMILIES ARE BADLY HOUSED AND ARE UNABLE TO AFFORD
THIS FUNDAMENTAL AMENITY OF A DECENT LIFE, MY GOVERNMENT IS
DETERMINED TO PUT THIS RIGHT, WE ARE DETERMINED TO ENSURE, WITH
THE HELP OF STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, THAT EVERY AUSTRALIAN
FAMILY CAN SECURE ACCOMMODATION OF ITS OWN CHOOSING, APPROPRIATE
TO ITS OWN NEEDS,
THE BUDGET BROUGHT DOWN BY MY COLLEAGUE, THE TREASURER,
LAST MONTH WAS ONE OF THE PRIMARY INSTRUMENTS IN THE GOVERNMENT'S
DRIVE FOR BETTER HOUSING, WE TOOK ACTION ON SEVERAL FRONTS,
OUR PRIORITIES CAN BEST BE SUMMED UP BY COMPARING OUR FIRST
BUDGET WITH THAT OF LAST YEAR, BY FAR THE BIGGEST INCREASE
324 PER CENT WAS IN THE CATEGORY OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY
AMENITIES, ,/ 3

-3-
WE PROVIDED $ 136 MILLION FOR OUR INITIATIVES IN THE
CITIES, INCLUDING $ 33 MILLION FOR EXPENDITURE ON NEW CITIES
SUCH AS ALBURY-WODONGA. WE HAVE SET ASIDE $ 30 MILLION THIS
FINANCIAL YEAR TO HELP THE STATES ACQUIRE LAND FOR URBAN
DEVELOPMENT. THIS SHOULD BE SEEN AS MERELY THE BEGINNING OF
A CONTINUING INVOLVEMENT BY THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT IN LAND
ACQUISITION AND MANAGEMENT FOR THE BENEFIT AND WELFARE OF THE
WHOLE COMMUNITY. AT THE PREMIERS' CONFERENCE IN JUNE WE AGREED
TO ADVANCE $ 219 MILLION TO THE STATES FOR WELFARE HOUSING
PURPOSES. THIS IS 26 PER CENT MORE THAN IN 1972-73,. WE
PROVIDED $ 102 MILLION IN THE BUDGET FOR HOUSING LOANS UNDER THE
DEFENCE SERVICE HOMES SCHEME THIS FINANCIAL YEAR. FINALLY, AS
YOU KNOW, WE HAVE INTRODUCED A GRADUATED FORM OF TAX DEDUCTIONS
OF INTEREST RATES FOR HOME BUYERS.
THE KEY TO ALL OUR EFFORTS FOR DECENT HOUSING IS AN
ATTACK ON THE HIGH PRICE OF LAND. IT IS INTOLERABLE THAT YOUNG
HOME BUYERS IN THIS CONTINENT SHOULD OFTEN PAY MORE FOR AN EMPTY
BLOCK THAN THEY DO FOR A HOUSE. WE ARE DETERMINED TO SEE THAT MORE
LAND IS MADE AVAILABLE FOR HOUSING AT REASONABLE PRICES, THE
AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT IS NEGOTIATING WITH THE STATES TO ESTABLISH
LAND COMMISSIONS. THEIR PURPOSE WILL BE TO INCREASE THE SUPPLY
OF LAND AVAILABLE FOR HOUSING AND TO INCREASE THE MARKET
COMPETITION IN THE SUBDIVISION AND SALE OF HOUSING LAND. IN THE
SAME WAY, OUR NEW CITY PROJECTS, UNDERTAKEN WITH THE SUPPORT OF
THE STATES, WILL HELP ATTRACT POPULATION GROWTH AND HOUSING
DEMAND AWAY FROM THE METROPOLITAN AREAS AND INCREASE THE SUPPLY
OF LAND FOR HOUSING. I I/ U1

-4-
THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT IS ENCOURAGING THE STATES
TO ADOPT LEGISLATION FOR LAND PRICE STABILISATION, FROM READING
THE NEWSPAPERS ONE COULD BE FORGIVEN FOR BELIEVING THAT THE
AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT IS ABOUT TO FREEZE LAND PRICES ALL OVER
AUSTRALIA, WE OUGHT TO BE QUITE CLEAR THAT THE AUSTRALIAN
GOVERNMENT HAS NO POWER TO FREEZE LAND PRICES, OR EVEN TO
STABILISE THEM, THE STATES HAVE THE POWER TO DO BOTH,
SOUTH AUSTRALIA HAS RECENTLY INTRODUCED A PRICE CONTROL ON HOME
SITES, UNDER THE SOUTH AUSTRALIAN SCHEME, THE FUTURE SELLING
PRICE OF HOUSING SITES IS RESTRICTED TO THEIR PRESENT MARKET
VALUE PLUS AN INFLATION FACTOR OF 7 PER CENT PER ANNUM, IN THIS
WAY, THE INCENTIVE FOR SPECULATIVE DEALING IN HOUSE SITES IS
REMOVED, NEW SOUTH WALES AND VICTORIA HAVE ALSO ANNOUNCED THEIR
INTENTION OF INTRODUCING LAND PRICE STABILISATION LEGISLATION,
WE WANT ALL STATES TO CO-OPERATE IN DEALING WITH THIS PROBLEM,
WE SHOULD NOT DELUDE OURSELVES THAT LAND PRICE INFLATION
IS CAUSED ONLY BY THE SPECULATOR, LOOKING FOR SIMPLE SCAPEGOATS
LIKE SPECULATORS WILL NOT, IN THE LONG RUN, SOLVE OUR PROBLEMS,
THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT EXCESSIVE DEMAND THROUGH LAND SPECULATION
CAUSES SOME_ OF THE LAND PRICE SPIRAL, LAND PRICE INFLATION CAN
ALSO BE CAUSED BY A REAL SHORTAGE OF HOUSING LAND, AGAIN, I
SUGGEST, THE STATE GOVERNMENTS CAN ADOPT A NUMBER OF MEASURES TO
OVERCOME THIS DEFICIENCY. THEY CAN STREAMLINE THEIR PRESENT
PLANNING MACHINERY TO REDUCE DELAYS IN THE LAND DEVELOPMENT PROCESS,
THEY CAN ENCOURAGE LAND OWNERS SITTING ON LAND SUITABLE FOR
SUBDIVISION TO SUBDIVIDE IT AND SELL IT, THEY CAN ASSIST IN
REDUCING THE AMOUNT OF UNPRODUCTIVE TRADING IN BLOCKS OF LAND,

I HOPE I WILL NOT BE ACCUSED OF SELF-AGGRANDISEMENT
IF I QUOTE SOME REMARKS ONCE MADE IN THIS CONTEXT BY SIR WINSTON
CHURCHILL, HE STATED THE POSITION VERY ACCURATEL'' IN THESE
WORDS: " A LAND OWNER WHO HAPPENS TO OWN A PLOT OF LAND ON THE
OUTSKIRTS OF A BIG CITY WATCHES THE BUSY POPULATION
AROUND HIM MAKING THE CITY LARGER AND MORE FAMOUS EVERY
DAY AND ALL THE WHILE HE SITS AND DOES NOTHING, ROADS
ARE MADE, SERVICES ARE IMPROVED AND WATER IS BROUGHT
FROM RESERVOIRS A HUNDRED MILES AWAY, AND ALL THE WHILE
THE LAND OWNER SITS STILL, EVERY ONE OF THESE IMPROVEMENTS
IS EFFECTED BY THE LABOUR AND THE COST OF OTHER PEOPLE,
To NOT ONE OF THESE IMPROVEMENTS DOES THE LAND OWNER, AS A
LAND OWNER, CONTRIBUTE, AND YET EVERY ONE OF THEM ENHANCES
THE VALUE OF HIS LAND, HE RENDERS NO SERVICE TO THE
COMMUNITY, HE CONTRIBUTES NOTHING TO THE GENERAL WELFARE,
HE CONTRIBUTES NOTHING TO THE PROCESS FROM WHICH HIS OWN
ENRICHMENT IS DERIVED,"
ONE OF THE DEPRESSING FEATURES OF THE PATTERN OF OUR
URBAN GROWTH IS THAT WHILE WE HAVE BUILT PLENTY OF HOUSES IN
OUTLYING AREAS OF OUR GREAT CITIES, THERE HAS BEEN NO CORRESPONDING
DEVELOPMENT OF COMMUNITY FACILITIES AND SOCIAL OPPORTUNITIES,
UNLIKE OUR PREDECESSORS, WE DO NOT EQUATE HOUSING WITH SHELTER,
IT IS NOT' ENOUGH TO ERECT ACRES OF HOUSES IN SOCIAL AND
ENVIRONMENTAL WASTELANDS, WE-MUST PROVIDE MORE AESTHETIC AND
CONGENIAL SURROUNDINGS AND MORE SERVICES FOR THOSE WHO ARE
BUILDING THEIR HOMES,

-6-
So MUCH OF WHAT IS PLEASANT AND COMFORTABLE IN
OUR LIVING ENVIRONMENT CAN BE PROVIDED BY LOCAL GOVERNMENT,
IN THE LAST SESSION OF PARLIAMENT, WE AMENDED THE GRANTS
COMMISSION ACT TO ENABLE LOCAL'GOVERNMENT TO APPLY ON A
REGIONAL BASIS FOR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FROM THE AUSTRALIAN
GOVERNMENT, COUNCILS WILL BE ABLE TO DECIDE WHERE LAND SHOULD
BE DEVELOPED AND WHAT WILL BE BUILT UPON IT. LOCAL GOVERNMENT
MUST BE GIVEN THE RESOURCES IN FINANCE AND EXPERTISE TO
COPE WITH ITS INCREASING RESPONSIBILITIES IN ENVIRONMENT,
WELFARE AND HOUSING,
GOVERNMENTS, HOWEVER, CANNOT PROVIDE ALL THE AMENITIES
AND SERVICES THAT AUSTRALIANS NEED, PROGRESSIVE AND PUBLICSPIRITED
DEVELOPERS SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED TO DO MORE. THIS GREAT
HOUSING ESTATE, AND THE RESERVE BUILT UPON IT, SHOWS HOW THE
BEST AND MOST ATTRACTIVE HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS CAN RESPOND TO THE
COMMUNITY'S NEEDS, TOO MANY DEVELOPERS IGNORE THESE NEEDS.
BY BRINGING HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE INTO AN AREA TO SATISFY A DEMAND
FOR HOUSING, SEVERE STRAINS ARE IMPOSED UPON SERVICES AND
AMENITIES. I SUGGEST THAT IF PRIVATE DEVELOPERS WANT PLANNING
APPROVAL FOR THEIR INITIATIVES IN SUBDIVIDED ESTATES, THEY MUST
BE PREPARED TO ACCEPT GREATER RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE CONSEQUENCES
-OF THEIR ACTIONS, ,/ 7

-7-
THIS HANDSOME DISPLAY OF HOUSES IS TANGIBLE EVIDENCE
OF WHAT THE AUSTRALIAN BUILDING INDUSTRY CAN PRODUCE. THE NEW
RESERVE AND RECREATION FACILITIES WILL ADD GREATLY TO THE
ATTRACTIVENESS OF THE WHOLE AREA. I CONGRATULATE THE MANY
BUILDERS INVOLVED; I CONGRATULATE THE HOOKER CORPORATION,
NO AUSTRALIAN SHOULD FEEL THAT HOUSING OF THIS QUALITY, IN THIS
ENVIRONMENT, WITH THESE ROADS AND SERVICES, IS BEYOND HIS MEANS
OR RESOURCES, NO AUSTRALIAN SHOULD FEEL THAT A COMFORTABLE AND
WELL-BUILT HOME IN PLEASANT SURROUNDINGS IS BEYOND HIS DREAMS,
LET THIS BE THE STANDARD OF HOUSING EXEMPLIFIED IN THIS
EXHIBITION TODAY WHICH WE SEEK FOR ALL OUR PEOPLE.
L 1

Transcript 3010