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Wednesday, 5 May 1920

Mr WISE (Gippsland) (PostmasterGeneral) .- The proposal of the Department to erect an automatic telephone exchange on the site that has been referee! to was, as I have already stated, referred to the Public Works Committee, and that Committee recommended the erection of the building, provided that ample means of ingress and egress between it and an adjoining thoroughfare were given. I have been assured by an architect of the Works Department that that condition has been complied with. The main part of the work has now been completed, that is, the exchange has been erected, and a large number of telephone lines has been installed there. But it is necessary to install still more, and the work is very urgent. Money has been made available for it this year which the Treasurer could not make available to Mr. Webster last year. A search was made to see whether the necessary authority had been obtained for what it was proposed to do, and it was discovered that, although the building had been erected, and a number of telephone lines installed in it, a formal resolution of the House declaring that it was expedient to carry out the work had not been obtained.

Mr Story - That was not the only case,

Mr WISE - That is so. Two other exchanges were built and completed without the formal indorsement by Parliament of the Committee's recommendation. But the mistake having been discovered in this case, it was thought right to come to Parliament to rectify matters.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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