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Thursday, 4 May 1939

Mr JOLLY (Lilley) . - I support the appeal made by the honorable members for Brisbane (Mr. George Lawson) and Moreton (Mr. Francis) in connexion with the new post office at Bris bane. I trust that the PostmasterGeneral (Mr. Harrison) will consider this matter seriously. Here is an opportunity for the new Minister to make a name for himself, particularly in Queensland. Unfortunately, there has been too much backing and filling in regard to this matter, which has not redounded to the credit of the Commonwealth Government. As a matter of fact, neglect of this sort has made many people dissatisfied with federation. I know that some twelve years ago the then honorable member for Brisbane (Sir Donald Cameron) had a definite promise from the Government that it intended to proceed with the erection of the new building, but, unfortunately, there came to Brisbane at that time a new Director of Posts and Telegraphs who, with the object of making his name good at head-quarters, suggested that, if patched up, the old building could be made to last a few years longer. For some years past, the honorable member for Brisbane has, from time to time, urged that the erection of a new post office be proceeded with and, as a matter of fact, had a definite promise that it was intended to make an early start with the work. Have any plans actually been prepared for the new post office ? We all know from experience that after such a work has been approved some considerable time elapses before plans and specifications can be prepared. I ask the Postmaster-General to investigate the position and to ascertain whether any actual working plans have yet been prepared. It is imperative that a start should be made with them, otherwise the commencement of the work will be still further delayed. I support the remarks of the honorable members for Brisbane and Moreton in -connexion with the conditions, not only in which the public have to do their business, but also in which the staff have to work. I made a personal inspection of the whole of this building and examined at first hand the conditions under which the staff works. I am emphatically of the opinion that if the Brisbane . post office were a private' '* concern the Inspector of Factories and Shops would not tolerate the conditions that exist there to-day. To secure the maximum efficiency from the staff is impossible under the circumstances obtaining to-day. For that reason I believe that in its own interest the department should provide better facilities to enable the staff to carry out their work more effectively. I do not propose to speak at any length in regard to this matter, because the case has been adequately put by the honorable members for Brisbane and Moreton; but I point out to the Government that the post office building at Brisbane is now overshadowed by imposing buildings all round. The city of Brisbane has made wonderful progress during the last ten or twelve years, yet its people have to put up with a post office which was erected some 50 years ago. If the plans are being prepared I suggest that some consideration should be given to the architectural beauty and effect of this building, and also to the desirability of making provision for footpaths approaching it. Like the city hall, the post office in a big city like Brisbane is an important centre. I again urge the PostmasterGeneral to give very serious consideration to this important question and to end the backing and filling that, unfortunately, has gone on for so long in regard to it.

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