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Country people overcharged by telecom



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NEWS RELEASE FROM BRUCE LLOYD, SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS

Immediate use

12 August 31, 1983

COUNTRY PEOPLE OVERCHARGED BY TELECOM

The Opposition while generally welcoming the introduction

of "Countrywide Calling", Telecom's new telephone charging

system for the sparsely settled areas of Australia, opposes

the increased telephone charges this scheme will cause for

many of these people.

"Countrywide Calling" will commence on October 1st

and will be an extension of Community Access 80 introduced

by the Coalition Government and which basically gave all

Australians local call access to their nearest business

community.

Bruce Lloyd, Opposition spokesman on Communications,

said that country subscribers more than 32 kilometres from

their automatic telephone exchange will be forced to pay five

cents for every minute of a local call when previously they had

an untimed local call the same as 99% of Australians.

They are actually being hit twice as there is an

additional charge of up to $600 when a manual exchange is

converted to automatic.

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Others will lose untimed local call access to their

adjacent exchange.

Mr Lloyd said that the intent of "Countrywide Calling"

was to simplify and generally reduce telephone charges in remote

areas and for 80% of those involved this would be so.

But as it was indicated that the new digital radio

telephone system and service would save Telecom $30M annually

then the other 20% should not be required to bear additional

charges.

Mr Lloyd called on the Government to allow those

disadvantaged by the new arrangement to retain their local call

status.

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