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Tuesday, 12 June 1984
Page: 2876

(Question No. 804)

Senator Reynolds asked the Minister representing the Minister for Communications, upon notice, on 4 April 1984:

(1) Is there an on-going dissatisfaction with regard to countrywide calling as it affects rural subscribers, in particular, from the Rural Telephone Subscribers Association which regards the 32-kilometre limit for local calls as unrealistic in country areas.

(2) Can the Minister for Communications indicate what steps are being undertaken by Telecom to overcome the anomalies, which apparently still exist for subscribers in extended zones.

Senator Button —The Minister for Communications has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question, based on advice from the Australian Telecommunications Commission:

(1) Generally, the countrywide calling scheme is well accepted by customers in extended charging zones. However, Telecom is aware that the Rural Telephone Subscribers Association is expressing a continuing concern with regard to the 32 -kilometre limit on local call access from an automatic exchange.

(2) All representations concerning countrywide calling are being considered by Telecom on their merits relative to the overall thrust of the scheme. A number of modifications have been made to the scheme since its introduction in response to concerns expressed by some of the customers affected by countrywide calling. However, Telecom indicated that no further major amendments to the scheme, which it considers brings many real benefits to its rural customers, are anticipated.