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Tuesday, 24 February 1987
Page: 491

Senator TOWNLEY —I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Communications. I remind the Minister that at one stage the Auditor-General listed some 24 causes of a telephone account being incorrect. Does the Minister admit that, until all telephone accounts list details of subscriber trunk dialling and international subscriber dialling calls-including the number called, the charge for each call and the duration of calls-as well as local calls, subscribers will not be able to ensure that the accounts they are forced to pay if they want to keep their telephones are in fact correct? Finally, does the Minister also admit that the technology is available to give the details that subscribers are entitled to, as is the case in most countries? When will the people of Australia be given a telephone account that they can satisfactorily question in any dispute with Telecom Australia?

Senator WALSH —I frankly do not know whether the equipment necessary to record all the details that Senator Townley would like recorded is available, let alone how much it would cost and what addition to telephone charges would be required in order to get full cost recovery if such equipment were installed. He did, however, make a reference to guaranteeing that accounts are correct. I doubt very much whether, even if such equipment were available and installed, we could guarantee absolutely that the details on an account were correct. I will refer the question to Mr Duffy to see what additional information he can provide.