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Wednesday, 14 December 1983
Page: 3802

Senator BUTTON (Minister for Industry and Commerce and Minister Assisting the Minister for Communications)(9.24) —The Government is not disposed to accept the amendments moved by Senator Collard. He raised one or two arguments about the operations of the Australian Postal Commission in support of the amendments which, in a sense, could have been canvassed in a much wider way. Senator Collard did not do that. Australia Post has certain advantages in terms of its competitive position with other organisations. It has certain other massive disadvantages too in terms of cross-subsidisation of its activities and things of that kind. As to the courier service specifically, Australia Post will be required to maintain accounting records of all revenue and expenditure items attributable to the courier service in order that its financial viability, standing on its own, as it were, may be monitored. This was done to some degree on a previous occasion when the courier service operated. However, it is being restored on the basis that it will be expected to pay its way and to make a positive return on its operations. It will not be cross-subsidised. If it does make a profitable return on its operations it ought to be highly welcomed by all concerned because it extends the capacity of the organisation generally in its financial arrangements to cross-subsidise where necessary. Those reasons have been advanced in greater detail in the House of Representatives, but I think that they represent a summation of why the Government will not accept these amendments.

Amendments negatived.

Clauses agreed to.

Clause 6 (Commission may act as agent, et cetera).