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Thursday, 20 May 1920

Mr WISE (Gippsland) (PostmasterGeneral) . - I move -

That, in accordance with the provisions of the Commonwealth Public Works Committee Act 1913-14, the following work be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for their report thereon, namely -

Additions and alterations to the General Post Office building, Adelaide, South Australia.

In submitting drawings and description of the proposed scheme for the remodelling of the General Post Office premises at Adelaide, I may explain that, beyond some internal minor alterations, which necessarily had to be made from time to time, there has been no real step taken to meet the great expansion of postal work that has occurred in Adelaide since Federation. The time has, therefore, arrived when extensive provision in the form of remodelling the premises to meet pres.ent-day postal and telegraph operations is necessary. The scheme of this work now proposed to be submitted to the Public Works Committee is intended to provide suitably for the necessities of every branch of the PostmasterGeneral's work and for the public doing business with these branches. The proposals are also on a scale expected to meet the expansion of all such requirements over a considerable period of years. The nature of the plans is such that the outward appearance of the premises will be little interfered with. They consist in a large degree of providing extensive new areas of floor space behind the street frontages of considerable height, constructed in a modern manner; they will be fireproof, perfectly lighted and ventilated, and with a minimum of structural obstruction to the operations intended to be carried on within the building. Inasmuch as it is not intended to interfere with the official use of the premises during the carrying out of the alterations, the work will necessarily have to be carried on in sections, and, in the aggregate, will occupy several years. Expenditure will thus extend over several parliamentary financial periods. It was intended to proceed with these works in 1917, since which date the necessary drawings and estimate of cost, &c, have been in existence. Owing, however, to the stringent financial situation, progress has been, suspended, until now the position is such that the inconvenience being experienced in the premises as they now" exist has become very great. The estimated cost of the work in 1917 was about £79.000. Since that date, however, building values have increased considerably. The percentage of this increase is being investigated by the Department of Works and Railways, and will be ready for submission as evidence to the Public

Works Committee when it enters uponconsideration of the project. I will lay on the table of the House the plans and specifications of the proposed works.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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