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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 70

(Question No. 4754)

Mr Connolly asked the Minister for Communications, upon notice, on 10 October 1986:

(1) Which communities in northern Queenland have been provided with a public telephone service.

(2) Is priority dependent upon the size of communities.

(3) Do Doomadgee, Mornington Island or Aurukun have public telephone services; if not, when will services be installed.

(4) What is the programme for extending public telephone services to remote districts.

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

(1) Bamaga, Hopevale, Horn Island, Kennedy, Laura, Murray Upper, Thursday Island, Weipa South and Yarrabah all have public telephone services. All islands in the Torres Strait currently have leased coin telephones.

(2) No. In more remote areas, the provision of public telephones is determined by an assessment of the service needs of each community. This assessment takes into account factors such as remoteness, community needs and permanence of the community.

(3) Doomadgee has no public telephone. It is planned to provide public telephone services when the Doomadgee exchange is installed early in 1988. Mornington Island has a public telephone service. Additional upgraded services will be extended to Mornington Island in 1989/90. Aurukun has a leased coin telephone service. A public telephone is in the process of being installed.

(4) Telecom is currently undertaking a massive capital works programme in outback Australia. The Rural and Remote Areas Programme (RRAP) aims to extend access to modern telecommunications to people throughout rural and remote areas by 1990, at reason- able cost to the customer. This involves the conversion of manual exchange services to automatic, the replacement of privately provided and maintained lines by Telecom plant and the provision of new services in areas it has not previously been practicable to serve. As part of the RRAP, public telephone services will be extended to the more remote areas on the basis of the service needs outlined in answer to question 2.