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Friday, 23 April 1915

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (INDI, VICTORIA) - Is it not a fact that contracts for the carriage of mails are let on the understanding that they apply to normal seasons 1 If that be so, is there not sufficient justification for some relief in the present abnormal circumstances ?

Mr SPENCE - There is no such condition.

Mr PARKER MOLONEY (INDI, VICTORIA) - I am told by the Department that there is.

Mr SPENCE - Tenders are called for, practically, every year, and are accepted under certain conditions; and that is the end of the matter. The contractors have to provide sureties, and, if they fail to carry on the work, application is made to the sureties to complete the contract.

Mr SHARPE - Does not the PostmasterGeneral think it advisable to vest in the Deputy Postmasters-General greater powers than they have at the present time? By doing so we should get better results than we get now.

Mr SPENCE - The powers of the Deputy Postmasters-General have been increased, and are now very large; as large as I think it is safe to make them. It has not been pointed out how the giving of increased powers would improve matters. We have as much decentralization as possible, and I am not prepared to say that it would be advisable to go further in that direction.

Mr SHARPE - As the Government spent only £1,513,000 of an appropriation of £4,300,000 last year, I ask the Postmaster-General if he will proceed with the erection of the new post offices so long promised for South Brisbane and Wynnum ?

Mr SPENCE - I am not sure that the site has been determined in both cases; but I shall ascertain.

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