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Wednesday, 22 August 1906

Mr STORRER (Bass) .- When the Postmaster-General was in Tasmania some time ago a very large deputation waited upon hi mi in reference to the Launceston post-office tower. All the members of the Commonwealth Parliament who have visited that city are acquainted with the peculiar features of that tower, and with the desire of the Launceston residents that it should be removed. The latter have even gone so far as to offer to instal, at their own expense, a clock and chimes which will cost about £1,500, if the postal authorities will demolish the existing tower and erect another which will be capable of receiving them. Upon the occasion of his recent visit to Launceston the Postmaster-General pointed out to the deputation to which I have referred that it was no part of the function of the Commonwealth to provide towers for post-offices. At the same time, he gave that body a very sympathetic reply. Everybody who is familiar with Launceston knows how proud its residents are of its uptodateness and of its many beauties, and I need scarcely point out that the present post-office tower is a complete eyesore to the place. It was designed bv the Tasmanian authorities, and was in an' unfinished state when the building was taken over by the Commonwealth. I am strongly of opinion that the Government should either complete the tower or remove it altogether. Of course, I am aware that many country districts are urgently in need of postal conveniences, and I know that some time ago the Postmaster-General 'requested the various States Governments to reserve suitable sites for postal purposes in newlyestablished settlements. In my own constituency three such areas have been thus reserved. In the town of St. Leonards a splendid site is available for a post-office, and a great saving might be effected by the Commonwealth if it erected its own buildings upon it, instead of continuing to pay rent for offices. Adverting to the Launceston post-office tower, I feel disposed to move the reduction of the proposed vote by £5, in order to test the feeling of the Committee upon this question.

Mr Austin Chapman - Do not do that.

Mr STORRER - I wish to know whether Launceston is to receive justice in this matter ?

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The question does not affect Launceston only. It affects all the States.

Sir John Forrest - The honorable member for Bass really desires an increased vote.

Mr STORRER - But I cannot move in that direction. It is all very well for the Treasurer to make suggestions of that character, seeing that Western Australia is receiving four times as much in the wav of expenditure upon public works as is Tasmania.

Mr Henry Willis - What does the honorable member want?

Mr STORRER - I wish the post-office tower at Launceston removed. If it were demolished, the residents of that city would be quite prepared to rebuild it, and to make a complete iob of it. When the PostmasterGeneral was in Tasmania he promised to favorably consider their request, but no doubt when the matter came before the Cabinet the Treasurer was present, and prevented him from doing as he would have liked. In order to test the feeling of the Committee, I move -

That the proposed vote be reduced by£5.

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