Now Is The Time (To Build Road)
9 March 1962 The Canberra Times
The building of a highway between Canberra and Tumut is a project which no longer requires argument to decide whether it should be done.
Canberra development has gone far to strip from the capital some of the artificiality inseparable from setting up a planned city in an area where there were no economic impulses towards the growth of a large centre of population.
Now, from the very dimensions of Canberra as a centre of government, it has acquired the attributes of a regional centre of substantial importance to surrounding areas.
For the fulfilment of the maximum advantages which Canberra offers as a regional centre, communications have become essential.
Over the years, this has been recognised in stages by the provision of good roads to Goulburn, to Yass, to the coast and to the Monaro, but the link most essential for future development is to the Tumut valley which offers the nearest and most attractive source of foods.
Canberra needs cheap and plentiful food supplies from areas in which food production is economically capable, and Tumut as the most attractive of these areas needs road communication to reach its most obvious market.
All this is beyond argument, but the question remains of when the road should be commenced.
The immediate Government programme has in its forefront the stimulation of employment through public works.
In Canberra itself, the works programme needs little stimulation, but in the southern districts, there are pools of unemployment which could be removed speedily by the undertaking of a works project which should be undertaken at some time, and preferably as early as is feasible.
Delay in proceeding with the Tumut road might not follow the pattern of the past in which every major aspect of Canberra development has cost at least four times, when developed late, what it would have cost if proceeded with expeditiously, but the adoption of this project as an unemployment relief measure would avoid less necessary works being undertaken and a certainly higher capital cost at some later stage.
The time to start the Tumut road is now, for not only would it absorb regional unemployed but stimulate long term employment in food production and processing in the rich Tumut areas.