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Thursday, 28 August 1902

Mr O'MALLEY (Tasmania) - I am of opinion that the distance should be increased to 25 miles. This is a matter of importance to the electors on the West Coast, because it is 21 miles from Strahan to Zeehan, and 25 miles from Zeehan to Queenstown. Why should a discrimination be made between the citizens of the Commonwealth in violation of the provisions of the Constitution ?

Mr. SALMON(Laanecoorie). - It seems to me that the Government are offering a concession which is practically worth nothing. The 15-mile radius which they are willing to concede is practically no more than the suburban limitation. Towns like Bendigo, Ballarat, Castlemaine, and Maryborough, get no additional advantage from the adoption of the 15-mile radius. I am in favour of a uniform rate. The benefit intended to be conferred upon residents in the country by fixing the radius at 15 miles is quite illusory.

Mr Deakin - It will represent a very real concession to residents in the country districts.

Mr SALMON - I do not think so. I feel bound to do what I can to prevent the country residents from being subjected to an unfair charge.

Mr Deakin - No new charges are being made, but the Government proposals represent a very great reduction.

Mr SALMON - If a 25-mile radius were decided upon it might confer some benefit upon residents in the country, but the. limit now suggested would be of no use. I would urge the Acting Prime Minister to consent to make the further concession suggested.

Mr Deakin - I cannot possibly do so.

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