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Tuesday, 29 June 1937

Senator HERBERT HAYS (Tasmania) . - I wish to bring a few matters under the notice of the PostmasterGeneral (Senator A. J. McLachlan). Several requests have already been made to him for the restoration of travelling post offices in Tasmania which were discontinued during the depression. The people have done without these facilities for some time now, but it was never thought that their discontinuance would be permanent, as seems now to be the case. The communities most affected are small inland country towns adjacent to railways. In view of the improvement which has taken place in Government finance generally, and in post office revenue in particular, I suggest that the time is opportune for a restoration of these services. In some cases mails may he carried 20 or 30 miles past small towns to an official post office where the mails are sorted, and are not returned to the towns of destination until the following day. Having regard to the great benefits conferred by travelling post offices, the cost of maintaining such, services should not be an obstacle to their restoration. Residents in many small towns in Tasmania would greatly appreciate some intimation from the PostmasterGeneral in respect of this matter.

To-day I asked the Postmaster-General whether salaries in respect of allowance post offices would be raised as the result of the increase of the basic wage, and he replied to the effect that when they were fixed the salaries of employees engaged at these post offices were above the basic wage. I believe that he must have misunderstood my question.

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - If the honorable senator reads the reply which I gave to him he will see that that statement is not justified; I stated that the original base rate on which remunerations in respect of allowance post offices was fixed, was in excess of the new basic wage, allowing for the recent increase of that wage.

Senator HERBERT HAYS - But the allowance to assisted post offices is based entirely on the amount of business done.

Senator Sir George Pearce - Why does not the honorable senator defer his inquiries until the Postmaster-General's Department is before us in committee?

Senator HERBERT HAYS - I shall do that.

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