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Thursday, 11 April 1946

Mr HOLT (FAWKNER, VICTORIA) - I have received letters to the effect that since the visit of the Minister for the Army to the islands mail deliveries have become very irregular. Sometimes a week elapses between deliveries. Will the Minister for the Army do something to improve deliveries? Can the services of the Beaufort squadron at Torokina be used in this connexion? Aircraft of that squadron were employed some time ago in order to improve mail deliveries. Will the Minister investigate the position?

Mr.- FORDE.- I shall do so, and I shall confer with, the Minister for Air to see whether greater use can be made of aircraft for this purpose. The honorable member will realize that when we had large Army and Air Force establishments and also a substantial number of Dutch servicemen in the islands, it was possible to maintain' fairly regular mail services, but the demobilization of both Army and Air Force personnel has progressed very rapidly. Because of a shortage of transport planes, and the fact that those that were operating could not pick up a full load of mail to make several trips a week to the comparatively few personnel in some of the outposts, the mail service "was reduced. I realize the great importance of a regular mail service, and will do everything possible to ensure its continuance for as long as is necessary.

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