Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Speech by the Minister for Communications, Neil Brown



Download PDFDownload PDF

SPEECH BY THE MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS

THE HON N .A , BROWN QC, MP .

AT THE .

OFFICIAL OPENING

. OF THE

WESTERN AUSTRALIA TELECOM CENTRE,

PERTH>

12 AUGUST 1982

INTRODUCTION

I THANK TELECOM FOR GIVING ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO

OPEN THE WESTERN AUSTRALIA TELECOM CENTRE TONIGHT.

DURING THE PAST TWO DECADES, INCREASED DEMAND FOR

TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES HAS FOLLOWED WESTERN AUSTRALIA'S

STRONG GROWTH. A CONSEQUENT NEED FOR OFFICE SPACE LED TO

TELECOM STAFF BEING DISPERSED BETWEEN EIGHT SEPARATE

LOCATIONS. FOR SOME YEARS TELECOM HAS RECOGNISED THE NEED

TO CENTRALISE ITS HEAD OFFICE ADMINISTRATION FOR BOTH

FUNCTIONAL AND ECONOMIC REASONS. THIS BUILDING IS THE RESULT.

THE STATE GOVERNMENT, THE PERTH CITY COUNCIL AND THE

COMMONWEALTH HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN EXTENSIVE INVESTIGATIONS

AND DISCUSSIONS ON TELECOM'S NEEDS. I WOULD LIKE IN

PARTICULAR TO RECORD OUR APPRECIATION OF, THE CITY FATHERS

FOR THEIR CO-OPERATION AND ASSISTANCE. IT WOULD BE

DIFFICULT TO NAME EVERYONE WHO HAS CONTRIBUTED BUT I WOULD

LIKE TO MAKE SPECIAL MENTION OF THE EFFORTS OF MR OSSIE

EDWARDS, THE FORMER TOWN CLERK OF THE CITY OF PERTH, AND

DOCTOR DAVID CARR, THE COMMISSIONER FOR TOWN PLANNING. I AM

SURE BOTH GENTLEMEN WILL DERIVE SATISFACTION FROM THIS CEREMONY TONIGHT.

, / 2

r

2 .

ONE OF MY PREDECESSORS, SIR WILLIAM WEBSTER, AS

POSTMASTER-GENERAL IN 1 9 1 8 , SPOKE IN FEDERAL PARLIAMENT ON

THE PROPOSAL TO BUILD THE GPO IN FORREST PLACE. HE SAID AT

THE TIME: "WITH THE REDESIGNED INTERNAL PLAN WE'LL HAVE A

MODERN OFFICE THOUGH AS I SAY ON THE COSTLY SIDE, NEVER­

THELESS, IT WILL BE A RELIEF TO ESCAPE FROM THE OBSOLETE,

IL L LIGHTED AND BADLY VENTILATED RABBIT WARREN WHICH

CONSTITUTES THE PRESENT HOME OF THE PMG'S DEPARTMENT IN

PERTH."

WHILE THE SITUATION PRECEDING THE MOVE INTO THIS

BUILDING WAS NOT AS BAD, IT LIMITED THE EFFICIENCY OF TELECOM AND I REPEAT SIR WILLIAM'S SENTIMENTS, PARTICULARLY AS THE

RELOCATION HAS BEEN ACHIEVED AT A REASONABLE COST.

THE CHALLENGE OF TECHNOLOGY

I WOULD LIKE TO SAY A FEW WORDS TONIGHT ON THE

CHALLENGE PRESENTED TO TELECOM BY MODERN TECHNOLOGY.

WHEN SIR WILLIAM SPOKE IN 1 9 1 8 , TELECOMMUNICATIONS

WAS IN ITS INFANCY IN AUSTRALIA. LIFE SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN

MUCH SIMPLER THEN AND CERTAINLY PROCEEDED MORE SEDATELY.

NOW TELECOMMUNICATIONS LIES AT THE HEART OF MODERN SOCIETY

AND PROVIDES ALL OF US WITH MORE OR LESS INSTANT ACCESS TO

OUR FAM ILIES, FRIENDS AND BUSINESS ASSOCIATES, NO MATTER WHERE THEY LIV E .

. . . / 3

IN 1 9 7 5 , WHEN TELECOM WAS SET UP TO TAKE OVER THE

TELECOMMUNICATIONS RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE POSTMASTER-

GENERAL'S DEPARTMENT, 62% OF AUSTRALIAN HOUSEHOLDS HAD A

TELEPHONE CONNECTED, NOW ALMOST 80% HAVE THIS AMENITY. IN

ABSOLUTE TERMS, THE INCREASE IN TELEPHONE SERVICES SINCE

1975 REPRESENTS MORE THAN A MILLION NEW SUBSCRIBERS.

IN PARALLEL WITH THIS INCREASED PENETRATION OF

TELEPHONE SERVICES, AUTOMATION OF THE AUSTRALIA-WIDE NETWORK

HAS PROCEEDED AND THE QUALITY OF SERVICE HAS BEEN IMPROVED.

MANY NEW TYPES OF SERVICES HAVE BEEN INTRODUCED TO SERVE THE

EMERGENCY NEEDS OF BUSINESS AND DOMESTIC SUBSCRIBERS.

ALL OF THIS HAS OCCURRED AGAINST THE BACKGROUND OF

SUBSTANTIAL CHANGE IN THE TECHNOLOGY OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS

AND INCREASING PRESSURE FROM. USERS FOR FURTHER IMPROVEMENTS

TO THE SERVICE. THE IMPACT OF MODERN TECHNOLOGY ON

TELECOMMUNICATIONS IS WIDESPREAD. IT IS PRODUCING NEW

MATERIALS, EQUIPMENT AND TECHNIQUES WHICH ARE INFLUENCING THE

WHOLE RANGE OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES, EVEN SUCH BASIC

MATTERS AS. UNDERGROUND CABLES. CAREFUL EXPLOITATION OF·

TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS WILL HELP TELECOM IN DISCHARGING

ITS RESPONSIBILITIES TO OUR COMMUNITY.

4 .

SATELLITE PLANS

FOR SOME YEARS, AUSTRALIA HAS USED SATELLITES AS

ONE MEANS OF COMMUNICATING WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD. THE

GOVERNMENT HAS RECENTLY ANNOUNCED FIRM PLANS FOR AN

AUSTRALIAN SATELLITE FOR COMMUNICATIONS PURPOSES. THE

F A C IL IT IE S PROVIDED BY THE SATELLITE WILL BE A VALUABLE

ADJUNCT TO THE TERRESTRIAL SERVICES PROVIDED BY TELECOM.

THEY WILL PROVIDE TELECOM WITH ANOTHER TOOL TO BRING ITS

SERVICES TO PEOPLE IN REMOTE AREAS, AS WELL AS PROVIDING

ANOTHER OPTION IN UPGRADING ITS TRUNK ROUTES.

CONTROL OF SWITCHING SYSTEMS BY COMPUTERS IS NOW

ADVANCED. DEVELOPMENTS IN THIS AREA HAVE BEEN DRAMATIC AND PROGRESSIVELY ARE BECOMING MORE R A P ID .. THE

IMPETUS OF D IG ITA L TECHNOLOGY TO ALL AREAS OF TELECOMMUNICA­

TIONS AND THE CONVERGENCE OF COMPUTERS AND COMMUNICATIONS

PROVIDE THE PROSPECT OF AN EXCITING FUTURE FOR

TELECOMMUNICATIONS OF ALL KINDS. CONVERSELY, COMPUTER

SYSTEMS ARE PLACING INCREASING DEMANDS ON OUR TELECOMMUNICA­

TIONS NETWORK FOR TRANSMISSION OF DATA THROUGHOUT THE

COUNTRY. THE MARRIAGE OF COMPUTERS AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS

WILL LEAD TO MORE AND MORE SOPHISTICATED EQUIPMENT, PROVID­

ING MORE ECONOMICAL SERVICES AND NEW F A C IL IT IE S .

. . . 7 5

5 ,

TELECOM HAS PLAYED ITS PART IN FOSTERING THE

TRANSFER OF TECHNOLOGY TO AUSTRALIA, EACH YEAR TELECOM

SPENDS OVER $800 MILLION WITH PRIVATE INDUSTRY - ON

BUILDINGS, EQUIPMENT AND ALL OF THE OTHER THINGS NECESSARY

TO RUN A LARGE MODERN ORGANISATION, TELECOM CAN TAKE PRIDE

IN ITS PROCUREMENT POLICY WHICH HAS MEANT THAT ABOUT 90% OF

ITS PURCHASES EACH YEAR IS FROM AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY.

TELECOM'S POLICY HAS PROVIDED VALUABLE ENCOURAGEMENT AND

SUPPORT TO THE INDIGENOUS TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY, IN AN

AREA OF ENDEAVOUR WHERE AUSTRALIA SUFFERS DISADVANTAGES OF

SCALE RELATIVE TO MOST OTHER INDUSTRIALISED NATIONS.

CHALLENGE FOR TELECOM

TECHNOLOGY PRESENTS AN INTRIGUING CHALLENGE TO ALL

OF US, BUT PARTICULARLY TO TELECOM. TELECOM MUST MAKE

INTELLIGENT USE OF TECHNOLOGY TO REDUCE THE COSTS OF

PROVIDING ITS SERVICES TO THE COMMUNITYj YET IT MUST DO SO

WITHOUT INFLICTING SOCIAL WOUNDS IN THE FORM OF UNDUE

DISRUPTION TO EMPLOYMENT, PARTICULARLY IN RURAL AREAS WHERE

JOBS ARE SCARCE.

. . . / 6

6 ,

I DO NOT ENVY TELECOM THIS TASK, BUT I AM CONFIDENT

THAT THE COMMISSION, MANAGEMENT AND THE STAFF WILL APPROACH

IT WITH THE CONSCIENTIOUSNESS AND DEDICATION WHICH THEY

HAVE DEMONSTRATED OVER THE YEARS, .

I NOW HAVE GREAT PLEASURE IN DECLARING OPEN THE

WESTERN AUSTRALIA TELECOM CENTRE.