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Thursday, 20 April 1972
Page: 1322

Senator Laucke asked the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral the following question:

I ask a question of the Minister representing the Postmaster-General. It concerns the regroupings of divisional offices of the Post Office in rural areas. In view of the important role played by Mt Gambier as the main regional centre of the south-east of South Australia and to promote the policy of decentralisation of industry actively being pursued by that city, will urgent consider- ation be given to retaining the present divisional offices of the Postmaster-General's Department at that centre.

Senator COTTON The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

It is not certain that any staff will be transferred from Mt Gambier because a final selection of the centre to become the Headquarters of the Management Area concerned is not expected to be made until either late this year or early in 1973. The relative merits of the initially nominated and possible alternative centres for Area Headquarters in each Management Area are to be studied personally by the new Area Managers immediately after they have taken up duty, probably by about the middle of this year. As a result of the changes in the original Area Management scheme, announced by the Postmaster- General on 26th October last it is likely that only about 8 or 9 positions will be transferred from Mt Gambier if it is not chosen as the Area Headquarters. The transfer of these positions, the duties of which are of an administrative nature, will not adversely affect thc efiiciency of the Department's operations or the quality of the service available in the Mt Gambier district in any way. All district technicians, lines staff, telephone service operating staff and customer advisory personnel will be retained at existing locations. It is emphasised that any transfers would not commence before early 1973 and that the process would be a gradual one spread over a period of about 5 years, so that the effect on Mt Gambier would be minima], both socially and commercially.

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