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Wednesday, 30 November 1983
Page: 3116

Question No. 413

Mr Lloyd asked the Minister for Communi- cations, upon notice, on 6 September 1983:

(1) Did Telecom Australia pay for the installation of a mobile telephone in the Sydney ministerial car of the Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism; if so, (a) what was the installation cost, (b) what will be the annual maintenance cost and (c) who authorised the installation.

(2) Will all Commonwealth Government Ministers receive similar telephones; if so, at what cost.

Mr Duffy —The answer to the honourable member's question, based on advice received from the Australian Telecommunications Commission and the Department of Administrative Services, is as follows:

(1) On 11 August 1983, a mobile radio telephone service was installed for a trial period of three months in the ministerial vehicle used by the Hon. John Brown, MP, Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism, and Minister for Administrative Services.

The Australian Telecommunications Commission approached the Department of Administrative Services which is responsible for operation of the Commonwealth car fleet and asked whether it would be interested in a trial installation for three months. Mr Brown subsequently agreed to the trial in his ministerial car in Sydney.

The trial was arranged on the basis that the Department of Administrative Services would pay for all installation and call usage charges, retaining the option to cancel, or to purchase or rent the service at the normal rates at the end of that period.

The Australian Telecommunications Commission agreed to waive the rental charges totalling $450 for the trial period: this amount comprises network rental (three months) of $200, and mobile unit rental (three months) of $250.

(a) Installation costs amounted to $425.

(b) Maintenance costs are included in the annual rental charges, which are currently $800 a year.

(c) In his capacity as Minister for Administrative Services, Mr Brown authorised the installation on a three months trial basis to evaluate the applicability and efficacy of the equipment.

(2) Any installation of similar equipment in other ministerial vehicles after the trial period would be a matter for individual Ministers to authorise if required and be subject to endorsement by the Minister for Administrative Services. Costs would be met by the individual Minister's departments and the amount would depend on whether the facility was leased or purchased and the number of calls made.