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Wednesday, 22 June 1904

Mr CHANTER (Riverina) - The practice to which the honorable member for Grey refers is, and has been for many years, the subject of common complaint throughout Riverina. What underlies the whole trouble is the system of grouping, which has the effect of preventing the men who really carry the mails from receiving a fair and legitimate price for the work done. The grouping system absolutely shuts out bona fide men from lodging tenders. When such men tender at a price which will pay them, a large company, which operates all over the Commonweath, puts in a group tender, and although the tender of the firm for a particular place may be low, the whole sum received from the Government is greater than it would be if it were possible for bond fide men to' tender singly. In many cases, as the honorable member for Grey has pointed out, the subcontractors are induced to carry the mails in order to make a bare living. In the Hay and Deniliquin districts particularly, the Postal Department has for many years been asked to revert to the old system of single tenders, which would have settled all the troubles which have been described. The contracts would then be given to the men who really carry the mails, and the price paid would be sufficient to enable them to pay for the necessary plant and horse feed. I feel certain that the Postmaster-General will look into the matter, and he will then find that the practices described are not confined to South Australia, but extend to many other parts of the Commonwealth.

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