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Thursday, 24 October 1974
Page: 2014

Senator Missen asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice:

(   1 ) Did the Postmaster-General receive a telegram from Sir Albert Chadwick, C.M.G., forwarded on behalf of the major users of overseas telecommunications services, urging the Australian Government to follow the recommendation of Sir James Vernon that action to merge the Overseas Telecommunications Commission with the proposed Australian Telecommunications Corporation be deferred, at least until the Corporation has settled down and become a fully effective operating entity.

(2)   Did the request originate from a meeting held in Melbourne on 13 September 1974 of twenty organisations, which are major users or the services of the Overseas Telecommunications Commission.

(3)   Will the Postmaster-General take any action to meet this request.

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

(1)   Yes.

(2)   Yes.

(3)   I have informed Sir Albert Chadwick that his and similar requests have been discussed by Cabinet and that the decision to merge the Overseas Telecommunications Commission with the proposed Telecommunications Commission has been confirmed and will proceed as planned.

Superphosphate Bounty

Senator Wriedt - On 2 October Senator Young asked me a question relating to the possible extension of the superphosphate bounty to 30 June 1975, in view of delivery delays, but utilising only the amount appropriated for bounty payments to 3 1 December 1 974. I have some further information for the honourable senator. It is as follows:

If this suggestion was adopted, then in the light of normal seasonal usage of superphosphate it would be necessary to cither lower the rate of bounty per tonne or impose a maximum bounty payment limit if the appropriated amount of $33 m is not to be exceeded. At present about $ 1 4m of the appropriated figure remains to be expended.

On the basis of previous years sales, usage of superphosphate in the period November-June will be 4.5 million tons. If the $!4m were spread over this amount of fertiliser, the rate of bounty would fall to $3 per tonne.

If a scheme of paying bounty to a maximum limit was introduced, then it is anticipated some 200,000 applications for bounty could be expected. Although many applications would be for small amounts, we have no way of estimating the size distribution. To ensure staying within the $14m payout limit would mean an upper limit to payments of $70 per farmer (based on total numbers) or about 6 tons of superphosphate. Additionally, administrative difficulties would make implementation of such a scheme impractical.

In these circumstances, the Government does not propose to implement a scheme along the lines suggested by Senator Young.

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