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Wednesday, 23 March 1927

Senator CHAPMAN (South Australia) . - I should like to congratulate the Government on its progressive policy, as reflected in the Postmaster-General's Department, and also in the Department of Works and Railways in respect of which £300,000 has been allotted for the Oodnadatta to Alice Springs railway. It is gratifying to see that the Commonwealth Government is honoring its promise to South Australia. Great progress has been made in the Postmaster-General's Department, and settlers, particularly in country districts, have been provided with much better means of communication than were available a few years ago. I understand the Government is spending about £5,000,000 a year on new works and in providing facilities urgently needed. Although these muchdesired results are being obtained, the Department has been able, in some instances under reduced charges, to pay its way. Good progress has also been made in providing improved telephonic facilities for settlers in the out-back portions. When in Adelaide recently, the PostmasterGeneral spoke of the progress which the Department had made, and stressed the fact that direct telephonic communication has now been established between Adelaide and Brisbane. An opportunity was taken at the time to direct the attention of the Minister to the fact that on Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, which is known as the West Coast, where one-fifth of the wheat grown in the State is produced, many of the settlers cannot get in direct telephonic communication with the capital of the State. As direct communication has been established between Adelaide and Brisbane, it is the duty of the Department to provide settlers in the more remote parts of the State with a better service to the capital of the State. The Postmaster-General went into the matter, and I understand that what is termed the " booster " has been strengthened, so that residents of Cowell, on the eastern side of Eyre Peninsula, can now communicate with Adelaide. Those on the far west coast, which extends for a distance of 300 miles, however, cannot do so. I understand the lines have to be strengthened before this will he possible, but I trust the matter will be treated as urgent. As the settlers in that part of the State do most of their business with

Adelaide, with which there is no direct railway communication, they are seriously inconvenienced by being denied a direct telephonic service. When the proposed aerial mail service between Western Australia and South Australia is in operation, landing grounds will have to be provided on the west coast, and I urge that provision be made for the conveyance of passengers and mails to and from the depots to be established. This matter should also receive the early attention of the Government.

Senator Crawford - I shall bring the matters mentioned by the honorable senator under the notice of the Post-. master-General (Mr. Gibson).

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