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Thursday, 25 May 1972
Page: 2162

Senator DEVITT asked the Minister representing the Postmaster-General, upon notice:

(1)   Is it reasonable that the State of Tasmania, which can almost be encompassed within a. circle of 150 miles radius, has three telephone directories to serve a population of under 400,000.

(2)   Will the Postmaster-General take steps to revert to the use of a single telephone directory at the next reprint, in the interest of the convenience of Tasmanian telephone subscribers.

Senator GREENWOOD-The PostmasterGeneral has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1)   The decision to restructure the former State-wide Tasmanian telephone directory was taken following a study of telephone usage which showed that the areas covered by many directories were much larger than required to meet the needs of the majority of the users of the directories.It was clearly indicated that directories of a more local character would generally meet subscribers' requirements adequately.

Against this background, the cost of continuing to supply every telephone subscriber with a directory containing entries for areas with which there was little or no community of interest could not be justified, particularly when the majority of calls made by telephone users generally are to subscribers within their own particular district.

Importantly, too, the changes made are a step towards orienting directory presentation to subscribers' needs under Subscriber Trunk Dialling (S.T.D.) conditions. In this regard, the extension of the automatic trunk network is based on each Slate being divided into a number of areas called closed number areas', with each area being identified by its own S.T.D. code. Subscribers making S.T.D. calls into such an area prefix the subscriber's number with the appropriate code, whereas calls between subscribers within the area involve dialling the subscriber's number only.

In Tasmania, there are three such 'closed number areas' and each of the three current telephone directories covers its own 'closed number' area.

(2)   Although it is not proposed to revert to the former practice of issuing one telephone directory for the State of Tasmania as a whole, arrangements have been made for subscribers having a need for a directory covering an area other than their local one to obtain such books free of charge. The local Postmaster can assist in this regard.

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