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Monday, 20 May 1957

Mr DAVIDSON (DAWSON, QUEENSLAND) (Postmaster-General) - The problem of preparing telephone directories in a manner that will give the best and most reliable information to telephone subscribers is constantly engaging the attention of the department. Various methods of presenting the names and numbers of telephone subscribers have been tried. The honorable member has suggested that it might be an advantage if, instead of using the present system, telephone subscribers were listed in alphabetical order, particularly in country areas. That proposal has been investigated on several occasions but its adoption would mean an estimated addition of about £100,000 to the cost of preparing directories. I. suggest that, although this method might be effective in some areas, there are other areas in which it would give rise to greater difficulties than now exist. In an attempt to deal with the situation outlined by the honorable member, a fairly extensive system of cross references has been developed. In districts in which there are two exchanges, or an exchange with a different name from that of the district that the exchange is serving, cross references are put into the directory. So far, this has been found to be the best method of dealing with the situation. I think the honorable member will agree that cost is a factor which has to be given considerable thought in the publication of directories. The method suggested by him would considerably add to costs.

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