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Friday, 25 June 1926

Senator H HAYS (Tasmania) . - If there .is one portion of the Postal Department that more than another is rendering good service to the people, it is the country post office in isolated districts. Action should be taken by the department to increase the allowances of those who are in charge of those offices. I do not know whether a minimum salary is paid, but I believe that the remuneration is decided according to the amount of business that is done. That is most unfair. If people are to be induced to go outback, they must be provided with reasonable postal and telephonic facilities. A great deal has already been done in that direction; but the conditions can be greatly improved. In isolated districts, the residents have to travel long distances to receive their mail, and invariably they have to make the journey after their Say's work is done. They pay a great tribute to the officers' - mostly women - who perform this duty. It may be all right to remunerate according to the business that is transacted in some of the towns, large or small; but it is not equitable in the case of allowance postmasters or postmistresses in isolated districts. The invariable practice is for one of the residents to undertake the duties for the district, and for that purpose to place his home at the service of the department. They do not realize the amount of work that is entailed. Frequently, in addition to postal and telephonic services, they also discharge duties connected with the payment of pensions, and conduct branches of the savings bank. The amount which they receive is not at all commensurate with the work that they perform.

Senator Crawford - When they make pensions payments, or conduct a branch of the savings bank, they receive a commission.

Senator H HAYS - I am aware of that. It is sometimes considered advisable for the residents to make a substantial contribution to augment the salary that is received by these officers. I was on King Island some little while ago.It has an isolated and scattered population, and the residents contribute an additional £1 per annum each towards the salary of the postmistress.

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