PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 5416


Photo of Fraser, Malcolm

Fraser, Malcolm

Period of Service: 11/11/1975 to 11/03/1983

More information about Fraser, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 13/08/1980

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 5416

Thank you for the invitation to be with you on this
important occasion. And thank you also, for your warm and
generous welcome.
I am told it is more than a generation since you were
visite-d by a Prime Minister, and I an certainly pleased to
renew the association. You need no telling that this is a
favourite refuge for Canberra visitors during weekends and
holidays. Since many of your visitors are public servants,
escaping the hard grind of government, perhaps I'should
claim some credit for your tourist boom. But I suspect the
popularity of the area has much more to do with its great
natural beauty and the amenities which serve the community
so well. Now, to these amenities is added this new Shire
Headquarters, climaxing a long and sustained period of
development in Eurobodalla Shire.
Economic growth and development are important elements to our
future ' well-being as a nation; and it is a delight to be here
in one of the fastest growing shires in New South Wales.
I know that this growth has placed great demands on local,
government administration. It has called for additional
services water, sewerage, roads and bridges. And these
have been provided. But the Commonwealth's commitment to local
government is not based solely on the ability of local
authorities to provide efficient services.
In a country of Australia's size, local government is essential
for the development of community identity. They are very often
the driving force behind community spirit. And it is this
identification with the community that enables local government
to be responsive to community needs. These needs can * not be
adequately met by remote and bureaucratic structures. They
almost always depend for their solution on local understanding
and local action. That is why my Government is dedicated to
the decentralisation of decision-making, especially in decisions
involving local government.
We are committed to the creation of a genuine partnership
between Federal, State and local government; and we have
translated that commitment into action. In 1976, we introduced
legislation to give both the States and local government a
guaranteed share of personal income tax, without strings attached.
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Last year, we increased the local government share from the
original 1.52%/ to 1.75%. Now we have raised it to fulfilling
an undertaking that I gave before the last election.
Last week, the Secretary of the Local Government Association
of New South Wales, described the measure as, " the most
signfi cant financial' development i. n local government this
century." In money terms, this has meant an increase in general
purpose assistance to local government from about $ 80 million
in 1975-76, to over $ 300 million this year.
And it means a very great deal more in terms of local
government being master of its own affairs, not simply an arm
of State or Federal Government. It enables local authorities
to plan ahead with assurance, and to choose their own priorities.
I know that road development is an issue of real concern to
local authorities, and I know also that your concern is even
greater, dependent as you are almost wholly on road transport.
The Co= monwealth views Australia's road development as a matter
of high priority. At the recent Premiers' Conference, we
announced that $ 3.65 billion would be provided in grants to the
States and the Northern Territory for roadworks during the
next-five years. And we have effected a significant shift in
emphasis towards local road funding.
In 1975-76 this occupied about 18% of the total allocation
for roads. In the coming year, local road funding stands
at 24% of the total Cornonwealth provision. Of course, your
ultimate fate is in the hands of the New South Wales Government,
and I hope your representations thare receive a sympathetic
hearing. The Commonwealth has always been pleased to play its role in
the provision of very important services arising out of local
growth and development. As a result, out of a total cost of
$ 1.45 million for the Eurobodalla Shire Nursing Home at
Dalmeny, we will contribute $ 900,000. 1 understand the site
for the home has been chosen and that planning is well advanced.
I wish that venture every success.
All this activity reflects the strength of community commitment
within this area.* It reflects favourably indeed, on the strength
of your local administration. I commend the President and
his Councillors on their continuing capacity to keep pace
with development.
This new Shire facility is an appropriate symbol of the extent
of that capacity. It is a credit to you all that the project
has been possible through your own initiative and, more
importantly, your own finance.
The offices are certainly a far cry from the original Council
Chambers built nearly 70 years ago when Noruya was just a
small coastal township serving a pastoral and fishing region.
Of course, as Eurobodalla developed, additions were built and
adjoining houses were purchased.

But almost three years ago you felt that you had simply
outgrown the original facilities. I am more than familiar
with the problem of working in a building that was designed
for a different era. I am also looking forward to new
he. adquarters, but they are a few years off yet.
I congratulate you on the sense of purpose that has
enabled these offices to be functional within three years
of setting up a sub-committee to investigate the project.
This fine new building is a confident investment in the
continued growth and prosperity of this area. I am sure
your confidence is well founded.
Thank you again for inviting me to be present for this
important occasion. I have great pleasure in declaring your
new Eurobodalla Shire Headquarters officially open.

Transcript 5416