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Tuesday, 23 August 1983
Page: 86

Question No. 105


Mr Bilney asked the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, upon notice, on 10 May 1983:

(1) How many Australia-based officers of his Department were stationed overseas in Australian posts served by the Australian Government telecommunications network in (a) 1980, (b) 1981 and (c) 1982.

(2) What was the total expenditure of the Department on international telephone calls to and from Australia in each of those years.


Mr West —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Australia-based officers of DIEA stationed overseas at 30 June each year were: (a) 153; (b) 152; (c) 155.

(2) The department does not keep separate records of trunk calls to and from Australia.

In relation to telephone expenses incurred overseas the department is only responsible for meeting the cost of official phones in residences. The expenditure on such phones has been:

$

1979-80 16,751

1980-81 16,351

1981-82 16,153

However these amounts include local as well as international calls and it is not possible to separate the international calls component.

The cost of phone calls made from the workplace at overseas posts are met under common services arrangements by the Department of Foreign Affairs and hence I am unable to provide details of the cost of international calls made from there to Australia by officers of my department.

In relation to calls from Australia, the department's Central Office is the registered subscriber for the switchboard servicing all departments and authorities in the Benjamin complex. The existing account structure does not provide details of calls made overseas. In addition, some of the regional offices (which also make international calls), have their costs met by other departments which are the main subscribers in those regions. It is therefore not practicable to provide any costing information in respect of international calls from Australia made by officers of my department.