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Friday, 26 June 1914

Senator BLAKEY (Victoria) .- Perhaps the Minister representing the Postmaster-General can give the Committee some idea, in connexion with the item of £276,400 under the control of the Postmaster-General's Department, whether the Government intend to continue the undergrounding of telephone wires in Melbourne. I raised this question not long ago, because two or three gangs of men had been discharged at practically a day's notice, when it was affirmed that work was available for them in certain suburbs. On that occasion the Minister promised to see whether employment could not be found for them in the undergrounding of telephone wires at Box Hill, and in the surrounding district. I should like to know whether a certain sum is to be expended -during the next three months with a view to providing work - particularly in connexion with the undergrounding of telephone wires in the different suburbs - for the many men who are unemployed in Melbourne at the present time. I understand that it has been distinctly laid down by the officers of the Department that it is a wise policy to have the whole of our main telephone wires placed underground. Do the Ministry intend to have these wires undergrounded in any suburb during the present winter, and. if so, in what suburb ?

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