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Thursday, 11 April 1946

Mr CALWELL (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) (Minister for Immigration) - by leave- On the 3rd April, the honorable member for Cook (Mr. Sheehan)', and on the 9th April, the honorable member for Adelaide (Mr. Chambers), asked questions concerning telephone installations in each .State since the cessation of the war with Japan. The following information has been supplied by the PostmasterGeneral : -

1.   The number of applications made for new telephone services in each State since the cessation of Japanese hostilities is: -


2.   The number of new subscribers connected in each State since the cessation of Japanese hostilities is: -


3.   The inability qf the Post Office to meet the demand for new telephone services is due entirely to conditions arising out of the war. During the period of hostilities the Department was obliged to restrict the provision of telephone services. All classes of telephone material were in short supply and existing stocks were utilized for the provision of services urgently needed in connexion with the war effort. In consequence, there is a large accumulation of applications for telephone facilities and some considerable time necessarily must , elapse before the outstanding orders can be completed. Ample stocks of all typos of material are on order and supplies are now coming to hand at a reasonably satisfactory rate, but, unfortunately, through lack of building accommodation and skilled staff, it is not practicable to bring this equipment into service at a. rate sufficient to meet the existing abnormal demand. The difficulty regarding buildings is most acute and until progress in this respect can be speeded-up there in no early prospect of improvement, but every effort is being made by the Department to overcome the present situation. Despite the serious disabilities with which the Postal Department has been confronted, approximately 32.000 new services have been connected since the cessation of war with Japan. As the position in respect of man-power, materials and buildings improves it is expected that the rate of increase will be accelerated.

4.   Practically the whole of the material in short supply is being manufactured by private firms, and, as already indicated, the position respecting deliveries is improving steadily.

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