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Thursday, 28 August 1902

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - It would not be so prohibitive as the honorable and learned member seems to think. These radii are dotted all over New South Wales, and nearly the whole of the State is embraced by them. No difficulty is experienced in the application of the sixpenny telegram system. It would be unfair to take any particular centre without considering its immediate surroundings. The township forming the centre might return a revenue of only £1,000 per annum, and the business transacted in the area embraced within the 13 miles radius outside of the township might not yield an income of more than £500 per annum. On the other hand, the centre might have only £500 of revenue, while the rest of the area made up the £2,500. Therefore, the Attorney-General must see that he had better proceed upon the basis of revenue, rather than upon that of area, unless every post-office bo made the centre of a zone.

Mr DEAKIN - Nothing that I have said excludes such a case as that to which the honorable member has referred. The officials tell me that the difficulty is that they wish, from the practical basis which has been established in New South Wales,' together with a study of the natural conditions of the other States, to fix upon the areas within which there exists a natural community of interest sufficient to justify the Postmaster-General in considering them as centres to which this system should be applied. But there need not be the same anxiety in this respect, because a list of these centres will be published, and it will be open to this House from time to time to review and criticise it. Parliament will have the power of seeing that all places which ought properly to enjoy this privilege do so. There is no doubt that centres of the size of Bendigo will be included. I am told that in New South "Wales the system is applied to very much smaller townships. The system is by no means limited to the metropolis. The intention is that it shall apply to numerous areas throughout the country.

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