Growth of Country Industries
16 May 1950 The Tumut and Adelong Times
Minister's statement during visit to Tumut. Bright future for Tumut and Batlow predicted
"The State Secondary Industries Division which is part of my ministerial responsibility, has been a source of inspiration and encouragement to more than 300 new manufacturing concerns, both local and overseas, during the difficult post-war years.'
Mr. W. E. Dickson, M.L.C., Minister for Building Materials, said this during his visit to Tumut and Batlow at the week-end.
"These concerns," he said, "agreed to establish their manufacturing units in country towns. They had been placed, to their entire satisfaction, in 100 different centres scattered over the State.
The Division has been their guiding light. It has been my privilege to visit a number of these factories in country areas and in every case the principals have been glad they accepted the Division's advice. Employers and employees alike are enthusiastic about the prospects of further developments in country areas.
"Altogether 1,485 factories have been established in country centres in the four post-war years. This is proof indeed, that the State Labour Government's decentralisation policy has caught the imagination of many manufacturers.
"It has been found that country labour is available in many places and firms which have made the decision to establish units in the country have been well repaid. They have happy, healthy employees who can still live at home instead of drifting to the cities.
"Only uninformed critics still harp on the drift to the cities. This drift has not been finally arrested but it has been most definitely checked.”
Mr. Dickson said that in the initial stages of its decentralisation proposals the Government, which was the only Government in the State's history to tackle this urgent problem, decided that planning must, of necessity, be on a long-range basis, and co-ordinated effectively with all works and developmental programmes.
No scheme to place factories with workers and their families in country towns could succeed unless the normal amenities of city life were made available.
The Government, therefore, included in its works programmes improved water conservation schemes, rural electricity, sewerage, better country schools and hospitals, improved road and rail services, country killing centres, farm mechanisation and housing.
"These services are being developed in rural centres with all possible speed," said the Minister
"Only shortages of labour and building materials is preventing colossal progress.
"However, the shortages are being overcome at a very creditable rate.
"Production of hardwood timbers, bricks, roofing tiles, fibrous plaster, portland cement, glass and wall boards had all shown encouraging increases.
The Government was also encouraging the importation of terracotta tiles, galvanised iron, asbestos sheeting and timber to help meet the increasing demands of new industries and home-builders.
Negotiations were now being conducted, the Minister said, for the importation of pre-fabricated homes and school and hospital buildings.
Discussing supply of building materials, Mr. Dickson said that, approximately 1,610,000 imported terracotta roofing tiles would reach Sydney this month from India and Italy.
These shipments, he said, had been sponsored and encouraged by the Building Materials Department.
Mr. Dickson said his Department had also encouraged local production of cement tiles, in order to solve the roofing problem, and production of cement tiles was expected to increase by a rate of 5,000,000 this year - 12,000,000 compared with 7,000,000 in 1949.
Tumut And Batlow
Mr. Dickson predicted bright futures for Tumut and Batlow.
He said their amazing progress of recent years would continue as the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme would be of special benefit to the whole area.
The food canning and processing industries, and also the quick freeze food products had made splendid progress in the district.
He was interested to learn that 1,000 acres of peas were grown for the canning industry. This was typical of manufacturing industries the Government wished to see extended in the country districts.
The Government considered it was desirable to process and manufacture as many products as possible where the raw materials were grown.
At Tumut the Minister was interested in the millet-broom factory, which was another typical example of manufacture at the point of primary production, the clothing manufacturing unit and other local industries.