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Wednesday, 8 May 1957

Mr DAVIDSON (DAWSON, QUEENSLAND) (Postmaster-General) - This is a problem which the honorable member for Angas asked me to look at several weeks ago. The question falls into two phases. I shall deal with the last part of the honorable member's question first; that is, the question of the establishment of a rural automatic exchange at Cherryville. Investigations show that while the dangerous position that exists at Cherryville during time of fire is fully appreciated, there is in the department a long waiting list of areas which have very strong claims to the installation of rural automatic exchanges. Therefore, I regret that just at the moment I cannot promise to give the undertaking for which the honorable member has asked regarding the early installation of a rural automatic exchange at Cherryville. Naturally, the matter will be kept in mind, and I have asked the department to pay particular attention, in the determination of priorities in this matter, to the fire hazard which exists al Cherryville.

The honorable member also asked whether an improvement in the part-time services in such areas could be effected as a temporary measure. I inform him that it is the general practice of the department, at any time of severe fire hazard, or other hazard, such as floods, to adopt the practice of providing, at departmental expense, a continuous service. I understand that this was done at Cherryville at the relevant time, and I assure the honorable member that a continuous service at departmental expense will always be provided at such times.

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