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Tuesday, 6 June 1989
Page: 3449

Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade)(5.04) —I do not have specific figures that I can give Senator Alston now. The cost of the pay phone community service obligation is being analysed in the current Bureau of Transport and Communications Economics study on costs, taking into account the cross-subsidies involved. That will be provided in due course. I cannot be more precise about it. We appreciate the significance and legitimacy of the question. I am not being impolite, but there is no point in making these figures up. It has been the subject of a lot of argument over a long time, as Senator Alston would be aware.

Senator Alston —Does that mean there will ultimately be a discrete figure for pay phones?

Senator GARETH EVANS —That is the hope.

Senator Alston —Is there any reason to think the hope will not be realised?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I do not believe that Senator Alston will be disappointed.

Question put:

That the amendments (Senator Alston's) be agreed to.