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Thursday, 5 March 1970

Mr HULME (PETRIE, QUEENSLAND) (Postmaster-General) - Consideration has been given by the Government from time to time to changing the Post Office to a statutory corporation. I think that the honourable member is making an assumption when he says that it would take operations in relation to the staff from the control of the Public Service Board. There are many statutory corporations for which the Public Service Board has just as much responsibility as it has for departmental public servants.

I think that it has not been proven that to create a statutory corporation would make the Post Office any more effective than it is at the present time. I know that there has been a move in this direction oversea. America is moving in that way. But honourable members should be reminded that the American Post Office looks after postal services only. When I was in the United States 3 years ago, the loss on the postal service there was S J, 800m in that year. That sort of loss is not to be compared with the situation in the Australian Post Office. While generally a small loss has been incurred in relation to postal services, this loss has been more than offset by the profit made in the telecommunications section. I think that, until it can be shown positively that a statutory corporation is a more effective operation than the Post Office as part of the Public Service, the Government will not be prepared and is not prepared at this time to move in the direction indicated by the honourable member.

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