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Wednesday, 7 November 1973
Page: 1572

Senator LAUCKE - I address my question to the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral. In view of widespread concern emanating from rural communities following announcements by the Postmaster-General 's Department that a large number of country post offices probably will either be closed or downgraded, and in the interests of decentralisation and of reasonable services being provided to country residents, will the Minister seek from the PostmasterGeneral an assurance that before final decisions are made respecting post offices involved, local government authorities be invited to make submissions to the Minister in support of the retention of these post offices with their current status?

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) -The honourable senator will recall that at a meeting of a Senate Estimates Committee at which I represented the Postmaster-General and at which the honourable senator was in attendance, the closure or downgrading of post offices generally was raised. I think from recollection that the officers of the Postmaster-General 's Department produced a list of about 1,100 post offices throughout Australia that were considered to be not economically viable propositions or the closure of which, because of a lack of patronage, should be considered. At the same time officers of the Postmaster-General's Department pointed out that where manually operated telephone exchanges are involved such post offices would be kept open. I was under the impression that the Postmaster-General had given an undertaking that he would confer with local government organisations in areas that were involved. In case my impression is incorrect I will refer to my colleague the Postmaster-General the suggestion contained in the honourable senator's question and see whether he will give it sympathetic consideration.

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