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Wednesday, 22 August 1906

Mr DAVID THOMSON (CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND) . - I hope that after these Estimates have been passed a considerable sum will be available for the extension 'of the condenser system in country districts. Some time ago, I asked the Department to connect Westwood. Whycarbah, and Stanwell, well settled farming districts in my electorate, with Rockhampton ; but, so far I have not vet heard that anything is to be done in the matter. I believe that the Progress Association, of Whycarbah has written to the Minister, making a request similar to that which I have already pressed upon him. No doubt the honorable gentleman is always pleasant and affable to meet, and declares himself sympathetic ; but what I want is practical relief. It seems to me that he depends too much upon the reports of his officials, who live for the most part in the cities, and. not knowing the conditions of country life, are unsympathetic in regard to requests for improved facilities of communication. I hope that the honorable gentleman will urge upon his officials the desirability of treating applications more generously than they have done in the past. It would not cost a great deal to connect the railway stations in the district to which I have referred with Rockhampton by means of the condenser system, whereas the connexion would be of great advantage to the farmers who do business with that town. It is more necessary to them to have telephone communication than to obtain a reduction of the postage rate to a penny. The Progress Association has asked me what I have done in this matter.

Mr Austin Chapman - The honorable gentleman has done a great deal in, the way of worrying me to grant what the association wants.

Mr DAVID THOMSON (CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND) - Yes ; but I have not yet been able to get the honorable gentleman to do anything. I trust that he will now see that something is done.

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