Letter: Federal control of resource developmentby J. BarichNews Weekly
, March 25, 2000
As a great admirer of Professor Lance Endersbee and his contribution to national thinking on resource development, I am most reluctant to contradict one aspect of his article, "Borrowed money, borrowed time" (NW,
March 11, 2000)
While I agree that Australia could benefit from better policy co-ordination between the Federal Government and the States, it would be suicidal to go down the road of unitary government and make Canberra the sole controller of our destiny.
Having worked for 26 years in a number of Federal Departments in Canberra, including 11 in the Prime Minister's Department, which has the prime responsibility for policy co-ordination, I can well understand the need to have a more co-ordinated approach to development issues.
However, total control by Canberra would be an unmitigated disaster. The Whitlam Government tried as much, and failed.
Our Federation, for all its faults, has served us well, unlike the Clayton's Yugoslav Federation, or the Federation that Indonesia would dearly love to have to avoid the civil unrest which is occurring at present.
The Commonwealth's power of the purse should be a sufficient carrot to get sound national policies, without the need for more centralisation in Canberra.J. Barich