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Thursday, 5 December 1974
Page: 4777

Mr Connolly asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice.

(1)   How many technicians are involved in maintaining and repairing public telephone facilities throughout Australia.

(2)   What is the total cost in salaries and allowances involved in this service.

(3)   How many public telephones are in service throughout Australia.

(4)   With reference to the take-over of the red telephone service by the Department, how many telephones were in this service, and how many technicians were previously involved by the company in maintaining the red telephones.

Mr Lionel Bowen - The Postmaster-General has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question.

(   1 ) In most areas of Australia public telephones are maintained by staff who also maintain subscribers' telephone services. However, the man hours and labour costs involved in maintaining public telephones are recorded separately and during the 1973-74 financial year the total manhours expended on this work was the equivalent of 237 full time technicians.

(2)   The wages and allowances equivalent of the manhours referred to in (1), including an allowance for overtime, leave, and furlough, is $ 1 ,680,000.

(3   ) 3 1 ,628 at the end of June 1 974.

(4)   The Department has not yet taken over the red telephone service but expects to do so on 20 December this year. It is known that the company currently employs about 19 men on maintaining the existing red telephones. It should be explained, however, that under the current agreement between the Department and the company the rectification of minor faults on red telephones including the replacement of minor external components is carried out by departmental technicians. It should also be mentioned that red telephones are generally in locations under constant supervision by the lessees and are not subject to the high incidence of faults and damage due to vandalism experienced with departmental public telephones many of which are in isolated locations. In metropolitan areas the number of maintenance visits necessary to public telephones is about 25 times greater than to red telephones.

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