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Tuesday, 24 November 1959

Mr FAIRHALL (PATERSON, NEW SOUTH WALES) - In accordance with the provisions of the Public Works Committee Act 1913-1953, 1 bring up the report relating to the following work: -

Proposed construction of the Edison Telephone Exchange at Brisbane, Queensland.

The proposal to build a new telephone exchange under the style of the " Edison Telephone Exchange " in Brisbane follows naturally from the growth of Brisbane and the consequent increase in the commercial population of the city, because much of Brisbane's growth, these days, is vertical rather than horizontal. The project, which is a fairly straight forward one, calls for the erection of a seven-floor building fronting Elizabeth-street between Edward and Creek streets. It will have approximately 14,000 square feet of floor area per floor. If the building is not provided in the reasonably near future it seems clear that, in the course of the next four or five years, the ability of the Post Office to provide new telephone services will be severely curtailed. For that reason, there is some urgency. Following the general practice of telephone exchanges in northern regions, the building will be air-conditioned on the technical floors. The rest of the building will be mechanically ventilated. This proposal leads to a windowless facade to Elizabeth -street and, in order to produce a pleasing architectural appearance, the building has a patterned front which I am sure will be very satisfactory.

The building has all needed amenities including a cafeteria which will provide light meals and this will work in conjunction with the cafeteria in the post office building itself, which provides a more extensive meal service, including hot meals. In considering the adequacy of the provisions made here, the committee was informed that the general public has access to the cafeteria service, although its use by the general public is not encouraged. Although this may be to some extent a policy matter, the committee feels that it should draw attention to it. The committee urges that the practice of allowing the public access to what is, in fact, a staff dining room should be reviewed.

The estimated cost of the building is £776,000. The estimated time for the completion of drawings, preparation of specifications, and calling of tenders and the construction itself is four years. The project is very closely tied in with one on which I hope to present a report later in the week, dealing with establishment of a mail exchange building at Roma-street. At the present time, the old building on the site planned for the Edison telephone exchange is very heavily occupied by mail handling equipment. It will, therefore, be necessary, if the proposal is not acceptable to the House, to proceed with the Romastreet mail-handling centre or some suitable alternative before the Edison exchange site can be cleared and the building proceeded with. As I have pointed out, I hope to present the committee's report on the Romastreet mail exchange before the end of the current week. I commend the proposal to the House as a thoroughly workable proposition.

Ordered to be printed.

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