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Thursday, 15 October 1964

Mr HULME (PETRIE, QUEENSLAND) (Postmaster-General) - Dealing with the last part of the question first, it is not likely that there will be any alteration in principle so far as the service rendered by the PostmasterGeneral's Department in country areas is concerned, particularly as regards lines erected by private individuals. Dealing with the other matters raised by the honorable member, he will remember that an additional £8½ million has been made available in the Budget for capital works. It will be appreciated that some part of that money will go to meet increased costs, but it is anticipated that an increased number of installations will be effected in a number of fields in the current year. Last year approximately 297,000 telephones were installed. Depending on the rate of applications, it is expected that this year we will install about 310,000 telephones. It must be realised that the installation of telephones is not just a matter of availability of money. We also must have available the necessary technical people to carry out the installations. They must be trained within the Post Office itself. As regards rural automatic exchanges, if my memory serves me correctly, 65 were installed last year and it is anticipated that about 150 will be installed in the current year.

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