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Tuesday, 29 November 1938


Mr FADDEN (Darling Downs) . - I urge upon the PostmasterGeneral (Mr. Archie Cameron) the need for overhauling the financial policy of his department and its general attitude to the public which results from that policy. Because of the charging of capital expenditure against revenue, the department has been forced to adopt a somewhat cold-blooded attitude towards requests for telephone extensions and improved facilities generally. Every request is considered in the light of the immediate revenue likely to be earned, and the result of putting everything on a pounds, shillings and pence basis is that the public are being deprived of the facilities to which they are in justice entitled. That policy should be changed without delay. These matters should be regarded from the point of view of rendering a service to the community so that people, particularly in the out-back areas, may be kept happy and contented by being provided with those facilities which, in this twentieth century, they may reasonably expect. Every farmhouse should have a telephone, and the policy of the department should be directed towards that end. An illustration of the department's attitude is provided by what has happened in the important country town of Esk. There, the Postmaster-General's Department erected a line of telephone poles 8 feet out from the footpath. Afterwards, the Chamber of Commerce, the local municipal authority and myself, made representations to the department to remove the posts, which were a danger to traffic, but all our efforts have failed. The department insists that the local authority shall pay half the cost, estimated at £165, of removing the posts. That is not right, and I ask the Minister to see that the request of the people of Esk is given favorable and early consideration.

I join with the honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Nock) and the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Collins) in asking for the removal of the iniquitous surcharge on border telegrams. It costs Is. 4d. to send a telegram from Brisbane to Tweed Heads, and only ls. to send a telegram from Brisbane to Cape York. It isa ridiculous and artificial charge, which is helping to perpetuate State divisions at a time when we are hearing so much about the need for unity, uniformity, and national spirit. Parliament should give a lead by insisting that this surcharge be abolished.







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