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Wednesday, 13 July 1921

Senator SENIOR (South Australia) . - The aspect of this matter which I desire to bring before the Senate was referred to by Senator Bolton, namely, the position of returned-soldier settlements in different parts of the Commonwealth. The difficulty owing to the shortage of telephone instruments is just as great in the country as it is in the cities.

Senator Keating - And telephones are more essential in the country.

Senator SENIOR - We are always stressing the wisdom of land settlement, but, unfortunately, these necessary facilities are not readily provided to encourage people to go upon the land. The position at Frances, in South Australia, 25 or 30 miles distant from Naracoorte, is typical of that of many other places similarly situated. There is telephonic communication, but no provision is made to enable people to call ' up a Naracoorte doctor if one is required. In Victoria, distant about 14 miles from Frances, is another town, Minimay, which has no telephonic communication with Frances, and so it is impossible to get into communication with a doctor who may happen to be there. This matter has been brought under the notice of the Government from time to time. It emphasizes the difficulties experienced by people living in some country districts, so far as telephonic communication is concerned. In this connexion, we are not keeping abreast of requirements, and to that extent we are not encouraging land settlement.

Senator Keating - But is that not a matter which the Deputy PostmastersGeneral could -attend to themselves?

Senator SENIOR - Yes, but if the case I have mentioned, is' brought before the Deputy Postmaster-General in Adelaide, he refers to the Deputy PostmasterGeneral in Victoria, and the latter's comment is that there is already telephonic communication between Melbourne and Minimay, although, as I have shown, there is no telephone across to Frances. Thus the broken link in the chain renders the chain- quite useless. Telephone communication, I submit, should not be provided for our cities alone, but should be extended to country residents, who for years have been crying out for better facilities in this connexion. _ n

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