PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 2599


Photo of McMahon, William

McMahon, William

Period of Service: 10/03/1971 to 05/12/1972

More information about McMahon, William on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 19/05/1972

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 2599

CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY EMBA. RGO: Not for release before
6.30 p. m. 19 May 1972
Speech by the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon.
William McMahon, CF., MP.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you Councillor Marriott ( Mayor), Mrs Marriott
and all Councillors. There are two fac-ts about your municipality that
have attracted my attention. Yours is a growth area which can
match any other part of Victoria and probably any other part
of Australia. You are truly a part of the suburban explosion
that is going on around the edges cf Australia's great cities.
The second is that Springvale is a young area, Where there
were farms a few years ago, you now have over 60,000 people in
Springvale municipality alone. Many of them are young couples
with their young families. M4any of them are new settlers
taking advantage of the very large migrant hostel in this area.
These two features growth and youth pose special
poroblems to be solved and special needis to be met by
government at all levels whether it be here with you at the
local government level and I believe it is fundamental to
preserve and co-operate with local government, or whether it
be at the State Government lev,: AL, or w*,. ether it be a problem
that may be placed in my " In T. ray" in the Federal Government
in Canberra. When I mention the importance -e attach to local
government in the Australian system, I am not just being
complimentary. only last month, the Cabinet decided as a
matter of principle that local government ought to be
involved in " the convention" which has been proposed to
review the Australian constitution. That demonstrates our
serious intent when we speak about the role of local government.
./ 2

These special needs and problems I have mentioned
involve all three levels of government. And inevitably there
will be areas where they overlap. But it should be remembered
that these are problems of growth which occur against the
background of a developing, diversifying and expanding national
economy. These are problems which will not be swept away by
words and promises. They will be overcome only by patient and
intelligent co-operation between the three-tiers of our
Australian system of government. There are some people in
public life who find it fashionable these days to say that we
have a " crisis" in our cities, and that our problems are
similar to those of comparable cities overseas. Such claims
are, of course, wildly inaccurate. Nevertheless, we in the
Federal Government think there is a good reason for concern
that action should be taken now to improve current living
conditions, and to avoid greater problems in the future.
No one would try to pretend that the cities do not
have their problems: such matters as high land costs,
atmospheric pollution, traffic congasion, long distance
commuting, recreational congestion, lack of community centres
in outer suburbs and the increased crime rate, violence and
other similar problems. These matters are basically the
direct responsibility of the two tiers of our government
structure closest to the people, that is, the state and local
governments. The Commonwealth Government sees as one of its
first duties the management of the national economy. On that
score I think I can claim here and now that our very flexible
and responsive stance, and our willingness to act boldly and
decide positively in stimulating the economy, is now paying
off in the return of business confidence and the continuing
improvement in employment.
Secondly, we have, within this area of national
economic policy, continually increased and improved our
allocations to state and local governments. Before people
become carried away with labels like " urbanisation" or
" urban affairs" or the " challenge of the cities", they should
stop for a moment to consider the billions for schools, for
housing, for roads, for sewerage, for hospitals that has coyr. e
out of the many years of practical co-operation between
Commonwealth and State Governments under a Liberal Country
Party Government. Thirdly, there are the ways in which we are giving
direct assistance. Health and education are two areas where
we have just made further improvements.
But, Mr Mayor, I don't want to speak for too long
as I want to meet personally as many of those who are here
today. But I did want to tell you that we in Canberra and we
in the Liberal Party see these matters in a sympathetic way,
and how we are prepared to help co-operatively and constructively
and without imposing long distance bureaucracy from local

Transcript 2599