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Thursday, 13 May 1915

Senator GUY (Tasmania) .- I desire to direct attention to the item of " Contingencies, £32,000," which appears in the Estimates for the PostmasterGeneral's Department under the heading of New South Wales. At first, I was under the impression that possibly some very good reasons could be assigned for it. I noticed that in several of the States a substantial increase is proposed in the sums payable on account of non-official post-offices. In New South Wales, an increase of £4,000 is sought, as compared with the appropriation of last year. ° In Victoria, the increase amounts to £15,000 ; in Queensland, to £500; and in South Australia, to £800. But in Western Australia and Tasmania the amount proposed to be voted is less than that appropriated last year. I should like an explanation of this circumstance. I thought that possibly some of our nonofficial postmasters and postmistresses, who have been in receipt of such small pay, were to be granted an increase. I know of one lady who is in charge of a contract office, and who has to be in daily attendance from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for a remuneration of £10 per year. She has to handle a considerable amount of correspondence, in addition to money orders.

Senator Findley - All the contract post-offices are conducted on the same lines.

Senator GUY - Then, I notice that it is proposed to appropriate the sum of £29,927 for the purchase and upkeep of motor cars in this Department. Yet, in Launceston I have recently observed that, iu the collection of postal matter from the street pillars, the Department has abandoned the use of motors, and has reverted to that of horses. I shall be glad if the Minister will explain the reasons underlying the two items to which I have directed attention.

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