"War on Slums"
Describing the beginning of the Hous- ing Commission's activities as a "declara- tion of war on slums," the Premier (Mr. Dunstan) assured members of the com- mission at their first meeting yesterday
that far-reaching and comprehensive housing legislation would be introduced as soon as Parliament reassembled.
Until the new legislation was passed,
Mr. Dunstan said, the powers of the com- mission would be limited principally to in- . vestigation and recommendation. The members of the commission are
Messrs. J. N. O'Connor (chairman). W. O.
Burt, and F. O. Barnett, and Miss Frances Penington. The secretary Is Mr. J. H. I Davey.
Members of the commission recognised the magnitude of the task before them, Mr. O'Connor told Mr. Dunstan. The
commission no doubt would be submitted ' to criticism, but they hoped that it would
be constructive criticism.
Congratulating the members on their
appointment and wishing them success, Mr. Dunstan said their task would not
"Parliament, by the passing of the Hous- ing Bill, has approved the general prin- ciple of housing, ' Mr. Dunstan continued, "In this regard you are to-day making
history, for I think that this is the first body in the history of the State that has been appointed to give effect to a long range policy of housing. It is also, I be- lieve, the first commission or other body of importance that has Included a woman among its members."
The commission's work would be limited by the amount of money available, Mr. Dunstan added. That was an "unknown quantity." He was anxious to proceed rapidly with housing, but he had to go to the Loan Council. The Ministry would help .the commission, however, as generously as possible.
"Some people say that the provision of homes is a matter for the people them- selves." he continued. "That would be all right if the poorer sections of the community were in a position to provide money for building homes. As they are not in that position it devolves upon the community as a whole to see that better conditions prevail in the future.
"Every progressive country in the world has taken steps to improve housing con- ditions, and Victoria, as a young country, cannot afford to lag behind."
A shortage of dwellings has prevented the medical officer of Collingwood (Dr. J. E. Cockerill) from condemning many houses which he considered unfit for habi- tation.
This was stated in Dr. Cockerills annual report, in which he made recommendations which will come before the public works committee of the council next week
The report said that the housing of the people was not satisfactory. It recom- mended that, when a dwelling became vacant, the agent should be required to obtain a certificate from the health In- spector before the premises were re occupied. Dr. Cockerill regretted that no action had been taken about the con- demnation of the Chinese quarters in Flockhardt street. They were badly ven- tilated. unsewered, insanitary, and a menace to the health of the community, especially as the occupants were vendors of fruit and vegetables.
Dr. Cockerill says that vital statistics show that the general health of the people of Collingwood compares more than favourably with that in other municipali- ties. He expresses the hope that the figures will dispel the false impression that the city is unhealthy.