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Thursday, 24 October 1974
Page: 1931

Senator SHEIL (QUEENSLAND) - The Postmaster-General will be aware that the ordinary letter postage rate increased by 43 per cent in the 8 years from 1966 to 1974. 1 ask him: Is it a fact that the Royal Commission into the Post Office projected that a 15 per cent increase per year in ordinary letter postage charges would be necessary for the next 3 years to cover increased wage and operating costs? How then can the Government justify the recent increase from 7c to 10c, a 43 per cent increase in one hit?

Senator BISHOP - The Vernon Commission in its report estimated that an increase of 15 per cent would suffice. But honourable senators will appreciate that at that time the Commission could not have foreseen the sort of escalation which has occurred. Let me remind the Senate that the Commission recommended that generally the user should pay for the services. This is the view of the Government and of people who know the situation. That is one of the principles that will be incorporated in the legislation. In the event of a new commission deciding what the tariff should be, I am unable to say to what extent the Government might decide to apply that tariff. But that is the general trend of the recommendations contained in the report of the Vernon Commission.

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