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Wednesday, 22 August 1906

Mr STORRER (Bass) .- I trust that the money which it' is now proposed to vote will be spent during the current financial year. I notice that, although we voted £8,000 last year for Tasmania in this connexion, only £2,000 was spent.

Mr Austin Chapman - The greater part of the vote would have been spent if the tenders could have been closed in time.

Mr STORRER - I can bear out the remarks of the honorable member for Franklin as to the obstacles which are placed in the way of telephonic extensions. Some time ago the departmental officer estimated that the cost of constructing a certain telephone line would be £250, but it was afterwards ascertained that the work could" be carried out for £100. If all the departmental estimates are prepared in the same way, it is not to be wondered at that difficulties should be presented. In one case a gentleman who resided about a mile out of a certain town, applied to have the telephone line extended to his house, and was informed that the annual cost would amount to £15 per annum. These are the sort of difficulties which prevent our people from enjoying the full benefits which would otherwise be conferred by our telephone system. I do not know whether it is the fault of the central authority in Victoria or in Tasmania, but I do know that if a business man controlled the Department he would, send an experienced officer round to advise intending subscribers upon the spot, and the result would unquestionably be a material increase in the amount of revenue derived. I trust that some such officer will be appointed to visit each State in the Commonwealth.

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